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January 12, 1983 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-12
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Page 16--Wednesday, January 12, 1983-The Michigan Daily

Big
By LARRY MISHKIN
When one thinks of the Big Ten, one
thinks of football. Or, at least that's the
way it used to be.
In the last six years the Big Ten has
emerged as one of the top basketball
conferences in the nation, annually
sending three or four teams to the
NCAA tournament and at least two or
three more to the NIT field.
BESIDES THE national recognition
of the conference teams, the Big Ten
has also produced some of the finest in-
dividual talent in the country, as is
evidenced by four of the last six num-
ber-one draft picks in the NBA college
draft coming from the Big Ten: Pur-
due's Joe Barry Carroll (1980),
Michigan State's Earvin (Magic) John-
son (1979), Minnesota's Mychal Thom-
pson (1978) and Indiana's Kent Benson
(1976).
With the young 1983 season just un-
derway, here is a quick rundown of my
selection of the top ten players in the
conference.
Randy Breuer-.
Minnesota, center
The hope of another successful
season, and conference championship,
for the Minnesota Golden Gophers rides
on the shoulders of their 7-3 center who
has developed into one of the top big
men in the country.
An All-Big Ten first team choice last
year and a legitimate All-America can-
didate this year, Breuer boasted a
shooting percentage of .554, while
averaging 16.6 points a game. Also ef-
fective from the free throw line (.756),
Breuer's only weakness is rebounding
where he averages only 7.2 caroms,
surprisingly low for a seven footer, but
an improvement from his 5.5 average of
the year before.
IN FACT, improvement seems to be
the name of the game for the Gophers'
co-captain, who has played better each
year. In his top outing, which came in
the conference championship-clinching
finale over Ohio State, Breuer hit for 32
points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Min-

len has the talent...

Defensively, Cross averaged 6.4
rebounds a game and tormented op-
posing teams with 47 blocked shots.
For his outstanding play, Cross cop-
ped All-Big Ten honors for the second
straight year and was named to this
year's pre-season All-America
checklist by the Sporting News.

THE 6-6 Indianapolis native is also
one of the finest ball handlers in the
league, committing only 43 turnovers in
29 games for the lowest ratio in the
league.
Besides excelling on the basketball
court, Wittman is also an outstanding
student and was named to last year's
Academic All-America team after ear-
ning second-team Academic All-
America honors in 1981. He is also a
two-time All-Big Ten All-Academic
choice and one of only 10 1982 winners of
an NCAA scholarship for post-graduate
study.
Wittman's top game in 1981-82 was his
22-point performance in Indiana's 80-51
rout of Penn State in the championship
game of the Indiana Classic. For his
performance, Wittman was named to
the Classic All-Tournament team.
Ted Kitchel-
Indiana, forward
Teaming up with Wittman, Kitchel
gives Indiana the dominant front-court
combination in the conference and one'
of the strongest in the country.
Also a fifth year player (he injured
his back during the 78-79 pre-season and
played in only one game), Kitchel ex-
ploded last year as he developed into
one of the top forwards in the Big Ten,
ranking second in the conference in
scoring (20.1 ppg), second in field goal
percentage (.558) and first in free throw
percentage (.881).

e

B~reuer

I

nesota's 87-75 victory. He also turned in
a fine 22-point, 12-rebound performance
in a losing effort against Louisville in
the semi-final round of the NCAA Mid-
East regionals.
"Randy is one of the premier
shooting big men in the country," said
Minnesota coach Jim Dutcher. "He is
the key to our offense and will go into
his senior season with All-American
potential. He could be the Most
Valuable Player in the Big Ten con-
ference."
Russell Cross-
Purdue, center
Following in the footsteps of Purdue
great Carroll, Cross carries on the
Boilermaker tradition of dominating
big men in the conference.
Lauded as one of the top centers in
college hoops, the 6-10 Cross returns as
Purdue's second leading scorer from
last year's team, when he averaged 14.8
points a contest, scoring in double
figures in 26 games, while ac-
cumulating 475 points to put him over
the 1,000 point plateau (1,015) as a
sophomore.

Cross
MEMORABLE moments for Cross
last year included a 30-point perfor-
mance against DePaul's defensive
standout Terry Cummings and hitting a
basket with no time left to give the
Boilermakers a 61-60 victory over
Georgia in the semi-finals of the NIT in
Madison Square Garden.
A question mark for Cross will be his
ability to recover from knee surgery
which he underwent last April. Purdue
coach Gene Keady doesn't think it will a
problem for his star.
"After Russell had his knee operated
on he had to lay off three months," he
said. "But he amazed me by bouncing
back to a competitive level as soon as
he started playing again. I think you'll
see an improved Russell Cross this
year."
Randy Wittman-
Indiana, forward
The Indiana Hoosiers are favored to
win their seventh Big Ten title in the
last 10 years, and one of the major
reasons is the outstanding play of Wit-
tman at forward.

k Richard Rellford 40w- Named co-captain along
freshman forward ,with Eric Turner ... first
6-6, 230-Sun Coast HS, team academic All-Big Ten
Riviera Beach, FLRockymore 24 and fourth team academic All-
Spectacular dunker and of- Leshs ockymurd American ... steady and
fensive player ...sophomore guar dependable ball handler star-
powerful rebounder and all- 6-3, 185 Southwestern HS, ted in every Big Ten game last
around player ... averaged Detroit, MI season .. buzzer shot gave"
.;31.5 points and 19 rebounds per A deadeye shooter, 'Michigan win over Ohio State
outing in high Rockymore can hit from the :' last year. . . received Steve
s c h o o1 . . . n a m e d t o outside and compliments Tur- Grote H u s t l e r
P Parade's, B a s k e t b a11 ner well. . . had to make the Award... fourth in conferen-
k Weekly's and McDonald's All- transition from forward to ''ce in assists . . . coached in
American teams. . . tabbed.guard and is progessing high school by his
;top player in Florida... Also4 smoothly. . . still slow on dad .. . class valedictorian at
starred on gridiron as tight- defense, he will have to keep 1Downers Grove . . . also
end ... Named to both football at it to guard quicker Big Ten played baseball and
and basketball all-state a:guards. Last season he played . golf. . . will see time as
seams ... high school team- in all 27 games, started nine at 4\scoring position.
mate of Anthony Car- forward, and saw some action
ter ... has moved into star 'at guard. Averaged~14.0 ppg
ting line-up . in non-conference ... must
4 Aimprove on shooting percen-
tage. Scored career high of 21k
against Purdue. As a high
zschool senior Rockymore ,
. averaged 28.5 points and 14
rebounds per game.
*t:

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Kitchel

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KITCHEL GARNERED a wall full of
awards in 1982. He was named Big Ten
player of the week twice, the first time
after victories over Purdue and Illinois
in which he scored 40 points, grabbed 13
rebounds and dished out five assists,
and the second time after he burned
Illinois and Iowa for 34 and 33 points on
27 of 39 shots (69%), 13 of 16 free throws
(81%), pulled down 15 caroms and had
four assists.
Post-season honors for the 6-8 for-
ward included being named the
Hoosier's MVP, first team All-Big Ten
and third team UPI All-American.
Asked if he was happy to have Wit-
tman and Kitchel returning for the 1982-
83 season, Indiana coach Bobby Knight
replied, "If I didn't have Wittman and
Kitchel, I wouldn't be very happy at
all."
Knight is probably all smiles as the
season gets underway.

Wittman

Returning as a starter for his fifth
year (he broke an ankle after the fifth
game of the 1980 season), Wittman had
his finest season in 1982 when he
averaged a career high 11.9 points a
game and ranked second on the team in
assists with 102.

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