UNDATED: by graduation. Southwest Conference
Undated (AP) _ Texas Christian Coach Jim Killingsworth retired after his 24th season last year as the Horned Frogs went 24-7 and won the regular-season title. New Coach Moe Iba has lost four starters from that team. Texas A&M, the conference tournament champion, and Houston face the same problem. Baylor, however, has four starters back, including conference leading scorer Darryl Middleton, 18.3.
Arkansas didn’t lose a regular player from last season’s 19-14 team; Texas Tech will rely on junior guard Sean Gay, 15 points and 3.5 assists, and Southern Methodist will need a lot from guard Kato Armstrong, 17.3 points and 5.1 steals. Rice lost leading scorer Greg Hines, 18.2, from an 8-19 team, while Texas has nine sophomores and freshmen on the roster. FAR WEST Big Sky
Montana State was to have four starters returning to a 21-8 team which won the Big Sky regular-season title last season. Instead of just losing Kral Ferch, a 16.4 scorer, to graduation, the Bobcats also lost his brother, Shann, who took his 11.2 points and 5.2 assists to Pepperdine. Coach Stu Starner does have 6-9 Tom Domako, the conference’s leading scorer at 20.3, coming back and will add two redshirts - 6-10 Scott Anthony and 6-4 Michael Yard - to offset the Ferch losses.
Boise State was 22-8 and returns its top two scorers, while Montana was 18-11 but lost three starters. Idaho State was the conference’s NCAA representative last year despite a 15-16 record but leading scorer Donn Holston, 18.8, has graduated.
Idaho returns three double-figure scorers, while Nevada-Reno has two coming back. Northern Arizona and Weber State face long rebuilding years, the latter losing five starters. Eastern Washington is in the conference for the first year and the Eagles are coming off a 5-23 season as an independent, lost four starters, and Coach Joe Folda was fired amid reports of recruiting violations. Independent
U.S. International is the only independent team in the West and the Gulls will have to find a scorer to replace Joe Yezbak, who averaged 22.1 per game. Pacific Coast Athletic Association
Usually nothing more has to be said about the PCAA than Nevada-Las Vegas. The same is true again this year except you have to leave room for the name Ricky Berry, the standout forward for San Jose State who may be good enough to finally anchor a team that can make a run at the Runnin’ Rebels, who have gone 82-6 in conference play in the last five years. Berry averaged 20.2 points per game last season and has two fellow starters returning from the 16-14 team.
The Runnin’ Rebels lost three excellent players from last year’s Final Four team - Armon Gilliam, 23.2 points, Freddie Banks, 19.5 points, and Mark Wade, 10.7 assists. But Coach Jerry Tarkanian has three Prop 48ers ready to assume some of the scoring.
Five other teams in the conference, Cal-Irvine, Cal-Santa Barbara, Fullerton State, New Mexico State and Utah State all hovered around the .500 mark, while Long Beach State, 12-19, Pacific, 10-17, and Fresno State, 9-20, all have more rebuilding ahead. Pacific-10
UCLA and Arizona should lead the Pac but there are a few teams that could surprise.
UCLA lost long-range shooter Reggie Miller, who averaged 22.3 points per game, but point guard Jerome ″Pooh″ Richardson and his 6.5 assists will run the offense that has brought life back to Pauley Pavilion. Arizona has six starters back with the return of Steve Kerr who injured his knee in the World Championships and missed all of last season. Kerr’s shooting will only help forward Sean Elliott, a 19.3 scorer in a balanced offensive attack.
The teams that could make a run at the top two teams are California, led by Leonard Taylor, 19 points and 8.8 rebounds; Oregon State, which has to make up for the loss of conference Player of the Year Jose Ortiz; Stanford, which returns four starters from a balanced offense, and Washington, which lost four starters but has a solid group of newcomers.
Oregon must overcome the summer drowning of forward Jesse Nash, while Arizona State, Southern California and Washington State all have the bulk of sub-.500 teams back from last season. West Coast Athletic Conference
The WCAC has lived in the shadow of the Pac-10 for many years and this could be the year to get into the light as eight transfers from the bigger West Coast conference have transferred into the WCAC.
The biggest of the name transfers is Pepperdine’s Tommy Lewis, who played at Southern Cal before leaving in a much-publicized departure after leading the nation’s freshmen in scoring. Defending champion San Diego lost four starters from a 24-6 team, but three teams with winning records last season, San Francisco, St. Mary’s and Santa Clara, lost just one starter each, although St. Mary’s lost leading scorer Paul Robertson, 14.1.
Two of Gonzaga’s top two scorers return to an 18-10 team, while three Pac- 10 transfers, Corey Gaines, Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble, join Loyola, Marymount. Portland will be under first-year Coach Larry Steele. Western Athletic Conference
Benny Dees left a successful program at New Orleans for one at Wyoming, where all the starters are back from a team that reached the NCAA round of 16. The main player back for the Cowboys is Fennis Dembo, a 20-point, eight- rebound man who was conference player of the year last season. Joining Dembo is all-conference center Eric Leckner, 18.6 and 7.2.
Brigham Young made the NCAA tournament last season and the top two scorers - Michael Smith, 20.1, and Jeff Chatman, 16.9 - return and six freshmen join the program. Texas-El Paso Coach Don Haskins chases his 500th victory this season but it will be without the top three scorers from a 25-7 team. Mitch Smith, 16.8, and Gale Gondrezick, 15.5, are back for Utah, and New Mexico, 25-10, has the conference’s leading returning scorer, forward Hunter Greene, 21.1.
Air Force has everyone back from a 12-15 team and Colorado State, with Boyd Grant, San Diego State, with Jim Brandenburg, and Hawaii, with Riley Wallace, all enter the season under new head coaches.