One of a series
Undated (AP) _ With Villanova, Temple, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, Penn and Drexel, the city of Philadelphia is looking at a lot of Division I college basetball victories this season.
Villanova figures as a contender in the Big East Conference, Temple and St. Joe’s head the Atlantic 10, La Salle is a front-runner in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Penn ranks as an Ivy League challenger and Drexel appears the best in the East Coast Conference.
Temple, with Tim Perry, and defending champion St. Joe’s, with Rodney Blake, boast the best big men in the Atlantic 10, making them possible contenders on the national scene. Perry and Blake ranked 2-3 in nation last season in blocked shots behind Navy’s David Robinson.
Temple lost Ed Coe, a 15.6 scorer, from last season’s 25-6 team, but has four other starters back. John Chaney’s Owls have a solid backcourt in Nate Blackwell and Howard Evans and the league’s top rebounder and shot blocker in Perry, a 6-9 junior who averaged 11.6 points, 9.5 rebounds. Also up front is 6-10, 260-pound Ramon Rivas.
St. Joe’s, 26-6 last season, has only two starters back - the burly 6-8 Blake and 6-7 forward Greg Mullee. But there are plenty of experienced holders, including guard Wayne Williams who will try to fill the breach left by the departure of Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Maurice Martin, a 17.8 scorer.
West Virginia, which joined Temple and St. Joe’s in the NCAA playoffs last season, also should contend but won’t have 6-6 Chris Brooks, a prep standout who was declared academically ineligible. The Mountaineers, who lost their backcourt of Dale Blaney and Holman Harley, present a veteran frontcourt of Darrell Pinckney, Darryl Prue and Wayne Yearwood.
There are two new coaches in the Atlantic 10 - St. Bonaventure assistant Ron DeCarli replaced Jim O’Brien (now at Boston College) and Tom Penders (ex- Fordham) took over at Rhode Island in place of Brendan Malone, now working for the New York Knicks.
The MAAC lost some genuine stars in Fairfield’s Tony George and Holy Cross’ Jim McCafferty and five of its eight coaches.
Bill ″Speedy″ Morris, who moved from the women’s team to the men’s team at La Salle, expects immediate contribution from 6-6 Lionel Simmons, a Philly product, to go along with four returning starters, including Larry Koretz, 13.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. The Explorers had a big loss in Chip Greenberg, a 16.8 scorer.
Fairfield, which lost a combined a 35.5 points and 13 rebounds from George and Pat Yerina, should be a contender with a backcourt of Ed Golden and A.J. Wynder and 6-8 Jeff Gromos heading the frontline.
The Big East lost two would-be seniors to the NBA draft - Walter Berry of St. John’s and Dwayne ″Pearl″ Washington of Syracuse - making it a wide-open race.
The Big East coaches picked Georgetown to win the league crown over Pittsburgh, by one vote. Hoyas Coach John Thompson was surprised by the vote because he has only one returning starter. But it’ll be no surprise if Villanova, Syracuse or St. John’s wins.
Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino, who lost a key player in Harold Pressley, has recruits 6-10 Barry Bekkedam and 7-2 Tom Gries to work into the frontline with 6-11 Wyatt Maker, 6-7 Mark Plansky and 6-6 Doug West. The backcourt is set with senior Harold Jensen and sophomore Kenny Wilson.
Reggie Williams, 6-7 senior swingman, will be asked to do even more this season for Georgetown after averaging 17.5 points, 8.2 rebounds last season. His teammates have little experience. Johnathon Edwards, 6-8 sophomore, takes over at center for Ralph Dalton. Other key Hoyas who have graduated: David Wingate, Michael Jackson and Horace Broadnax. Guards Dwayne Bryant and Mark Tillmon, forwards Anthony Allen and Sam Jefferson and 7-1 Ben Gillery hope to carry on Georgetown’s winning tradition in the next four years.
Pitt’s nucleus consists of Charles Smith, a 6-10 junior who averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds last season and was impressive in the World Games this summer, and holdovers Demetreus Gore, Curtis Aiken and Jerome Lane.
Pitt Coach Paul Evans, a disciplinarian from Navy, admits he’s short on depth since losing four freshmen to academic problems.
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim has high hopes for freshmen Derrick Coleman, 6-9, and Steve Thompson, 6-3, who join 6-10 center Rony Seikaly and holdovers Howard Triche, Greg Monroe and Sherman Douglas.
In addition to Washington, the Orangemen lost Rafael Addison and Wendell Alexis.
Guard Mark Jackson, the nation’s top assist man last season, will be shooting more for St. John’s since both Berry and Ron Rowan are gone.
The Redmen got a big boost when the NCAA rescinded its suspension of 6-11 sophomore Marco Baldi over expenses paid by his Italian club. Veterans Willie Glass and Shelton Jones are other returnees, while recruits Marcus Broadnax and Elander Lewis will help.
Providence will be led by guards Billy Donovan, 15.1 points, and Indiana transfer Delray Brooks. Seton Hall will miss Andre McCloud but still has 6-9 Mark Bryant. Boston College and Connecticut figure to bring up the Big East rear.
In the Ivy League, Penn returns five starters, including guard Perry Bromwell and 6-8 Barry Lefkowitz, and had a good recruiting class, including guard Jerry Simon.
Yale, also with five starters returning, including 6-10 Chris Dudley, is another prime contender to unseat defending champion Brown, which lost three starters.
Guard Michael Anderson is one of five returning starters who should help Drexel repeat as East Coast Conference champion, outlasting Lehigh and Bucknell.
Northeastern has a big-time player in 6-7 by Reggie Lewis, 23.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and is the pick in the ECAC North Atlantic over Boston University and Canisius.
In the ECAC Metro, no team has a big man to match Marist’s 7-3 Rik Smits, making the Red Foxes the favorite over Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis (Pa.).
END ADV PMs Fri. Nov. 14