Rifleman Has NBA Footnote


Chuck Person, the Auburn forward who shot down St. John’s at Long Beach, was christened Chuck Connor Person. According to Dave Anderson of the New York Times, he was named after the star of his mother’s favorite television show, “The Rifleman,” with Chuck Connors.

Connors wasn’t a bad basketball player himself. He played at Seton Hall and put in a couple of seasons with the Boston Celtics. In 1946-47, as a reserve with the Celtics, he averaged 4.8 points per game.

He soon disappeared from the league, as he turned his attention to baseball, but not before making NBA history. According to the NBA Register, he was the first player in the league to break a backboard.


How good is David Robinson, the 6-11 center who led Navy to a 97-85 upset of Syracuse Sunday?

Said Dwayne (Pearl) Washington of Syracuse: “I consider him the best player in the country. He’s in a class with Patrick Ewing. He’s the franchise.”

Said Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim: “He’s a better shot blocker than all the guys we’ve played against--Patrick Ewing, Ed Pinckney, any of those guys. Without him, they can’t beat anybody in the country.”

Trivia Time: Carroll Hardy, director of scouting for the Denver Broncos, is the answer to what trivia question? (Answer below.)

For What It’s Worth: Depending where you put Navy, 9 or 10 of the 16 remaining teams in the NCAA tournament are from the South. Likewise, in the NCAA women’s tournament, 10 of the teams are from below the Mason-Dixon line. Other notes:

--All four teams from Indiana bit the dust in the first round--Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue and Ball State.


--The Southeastern Conference is 8-0. The Atlantic Coast Conference is 9-2.

--The only schools that have a chance to win both the men’s and women’s titles are LSU, North Carolina and Auburn.

--North Carolina’s Dean Smith is 4-0 lifetime against Louisville’s Denny Crum going into Thursday night’s showdown. They last met in the Winston Tire tournament at the Sports Arena in 1980, with North Carolina winning, 86-64.

The 46 defense, which former Chicago Bear assistant coach Buddy Ryan named after former defensive back Doug Plank, has been put to rest.

The Denver Post quotes Mike Ditka as saying: “The only reason it was the 46 to begin with was because the coach couldn’t think of the player’s name. Now we have coaches who know the players.”

Cincinnati Manager Pete Rose told the Christian Science Monitor: “I’m glad that Dick Williams isn’t with the Padres anymore, because I think he’s one of the best managers in baseball.”

Add Rose: Next month he turns 45 but says, “Everybody knows I’m always in shape. This winter I bought a commercial gymnasium in Cincinnati and worked out there every morning. There is also an indoor soccer stadium right across the street from my business, and almost every afternoon I played either five or six-man touch football there on AstroTurf.”


For the Record: University High School pitcher Charlie German has not been suspended for a week, as reported Monday. University Coach Frank Cruz told The Times that German will pitch Wednesday against Hamilton.

Trivia Answer: He was the only player to pinch-hit for Ted Williams. Hardy, a former University of Colorado football and baseball star, was called on during a Boston-Baltimore game in 1960 when Williams was unable to complete his at-bat for the Red Sox after fouling a pitch off his ankle. Hardy lined into a double play.


Penn State women’s basketball Coach Rene Portland, on meeting Rutgers for the fifth time this season Thursday night in the NCAA semifinals: “I think only the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals play each other that much.”