By Billy Neff
Orr's cheap shots .. .
... a bunch of airballs
WASHINGTON-Have you ever heard the expression "nice guys finish
last"? Apparently, Michigan basketball coach Johnny Orr has, and is ap-
plying it to his attitude towards life. Nobody told Orr, though, that mean
guys demonstrate their character on the court, not off of it.
You see, Orr is acknowledged as one of the truly "nice guys" in the
coaching profession. Now, as his team creeps slowly and slowly towards the
cellar in the Big Ten, he is changing that image-and not for the better.
Orr is changing his image by demonstrating time and time again a lack
of discretion. This lack occurred in an interview the other night with WXYZ
radio. In that interview, Orr took it upon himself to criticize Michigan State
basketball star Greg Kelser, Pistons coach Dick Vitale and the Pistons in
Specifically, Orr asserted that he wouldn't have made Kelser the fourth
player selected in the country. "If I was coach, I wouldn't have drafter
Gregory." Orr continued, "Kelser couldn't carry Clark Kellogg's shoes
(Kellogg was the Ohio high school phenom who obviously did not want his
shoes carried by Michigan as he opted for Ohio State)."
But Orr wasn't finished with his debasement of MSU's "Special K," who
excelled in the NCAA playoffs. Kelser, according to Orr, was not recruited
by Michigan after he was "kicked off" a Detroit All-Star squad that was to
ply a Russian team. Orr, the dean of Big Ten coaches, added that he did not
notice Kelser playing for MSU until his junior year, when he was joined by
Kelser reacted to Orr's comments with surprise. "That is why he stop-
ped recruiting me? At that time, I'd already signed with Michigan State
University. I'd been a Spartan for two months."
The Michigan coach then targeted his criticism toward the Pistons, who
signed Wolverine center Phil Hubbard to a multi-year contract Thursday.
"I think Hubbard would rather play with Seattle, New York, or Los
Angeles ... I doubt seriously if Hubbard will sign with the Pistons. I think
he'll wait until next year and go with a better team. Phil, to me, is like my
son. He's too good to play for the Pistons." Obviously, Hubbard did not agree
as two days later, he signed with the Pistons.
From there, the attacks were directed at Vitale. Orr evidently has for
years been very envious of all the publicity lavished upon Vitale, and it must
have killed him to see Vitale chosen as the Pistons' coach last year.
Orr's final indiscreet comments concerned Piston management. "I'm
not bad-mouthing them (the Pistons) . . . their records the last ten years
have been lousy." And when asked about the selection of forward Tony Price
of Pennsylvania, the Pistons' second-round pick, Orr said he "feels sorry"
for the Pistons if Price makes the team.
These last statements may or may not be true, but I will not even debate
them. I only question, however, what Orr figured to gain by criticizing the
Pistons or Price. Why possibly damage a young man's career?
Many were probably astonished at Orr's comments. I wasn't. You could
see the frustration in Orr's face and comments after the final game in
Crisler Arena last season against Purdue. After that loss, Orr singled out the
play of graduating seniors Hardy and Tom Staton as the main reasons for
There was no rationale behind these comments, or the ones he made
recently. First, how can a coach publicly embarrass his players and expect
to maintain a good rapport with them? In addition what player wants to at-
tenda school where he will be publicly lambasted by his coach. Second, what
purpose is there in criticizing graduating seniors? Finally, Staton gave all his
heart whenever he played. He was a positive example for the rest of the
team and the last player you would expect to be criticized.
What is wrong, you ask? Simply, Orr has fallen from the top of the moun-
tain where he stood three years ago as the national coach of the year, and
has not handled it well. The frustration is mounting in Orr-it was not helped
by Kellogg's choice of Ohio State and Hubbard's choice of the Pistons.
Remember, you should take the good with the bad. Anyway, nice guys do
not necessarily finish last, especially when they're nice off the court. But it
hurts most, when you're not nice and you finish last. At least before, Orr had
IN A WIMBLEDON devoid of surprises, Guillermo Vilas stands out. The Argentina
native was stunned Thursday by American Tom Wilkinson, 7-5, 2-6, 1-6, 6-7. For
the other top seeds, matches proved rather easy-even 35-year-old former
champion Billie Jean King won her match yesterday.
Borg remains healthy
as favorites cruise to
Wimbledon final 16
By APand UPIBILLIE JEAN KING, still seeded
WIMBLEDON, England - Bjorn seventh at the age of 35, reached the
Borg, playing with the ruthless fourth round as well with an easy 6-3, 6-
dedication that has won him three 2 win of Diane Desfor, while fourth seed
Wimbledon titles in a row, dissected Tracy Austin stopped Californian Betty
Californian Hank Pfister 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 Ann Stuart 6-2, 6-3.
yesterday to reach the last 16 of the Navratilova will meet South African
men's singles. Greer Stevens in the fourth round as the
Borg did not show one twinge from seeds clash for the first time.
the thigh injury that his coach said he Stevens, wearing a steel knee brace,
had. He served, volleyed and' ran as defeated American Ruta Gerulaitis,
fiercely as he has ever done on the All 6-3, 6-2.
England Club courts._ _ _ _
rrv1 mi 0T11M % t.....a .. . _
THE TOe SEED turned on such an
awesome display that Pfister was
silenced almost as quickly as Borg's
media critics who predicted the Swede
was so badly injured he would have to
pull out of the tournament.
In women's play, Martina
Navratilova and Chris Evert swept into
the last 16 in the women's singles in the
true style of top seeds.
Navratilova, the defening champion,
disposed of Rosie Casals 6-3, 6-3 while
Evert, the No. 2 seed, ousted Kathy
May Teacher 6-4. 6-3.
NEVER MIND THE
BIG, BAD, GAME
... you won't win
of the UNION
open 'til 1 A.M. tonight
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