Wolfpack's Monroe Still Pearl in His Mother's Eyes

From Associated Press

Minutes after the North Carolina State-Temple game last weekend at Atlantic City, N.J., there was a meeting of two generations of the basketball world.

Rodney Monroe of the Wolfpack was talking to his mother and another woman when two men approached the small group.

One man was Sonny Hill, considered the guru of Philadelphia basketball, and the other was Earl "The Pearl" Monroe.

Hill approached Rodney Monroe with a smile of recognition and said "I'd like to introduce you to your namesake."

"I know who this is," Rodney said shaking Earl's hand.

The two exchanged small talk and words of praise until they were interrupted by Rodney's mother, who was holding out a program she wanted the Hall of Fame nominee to autograph.

As he signed his name, Monroe, now in the record promotion business, told the woman, "You know, I have a son named Rodney." She smiled one of those special, motherly looks and said, "Isn't that something?"

You would think the player who led the nation in scoring would be adept at picking up a load of points at the free throw line.

Not so with Loyola Marymount's Hank Gathers, who topped the country last season at 32.7 points per game while making just 56 percent of his 315 free throws.

That percentage was better than his sophomore mark of 54 percent when he averaged 22.5 points per game.

This year, Gathers, a right-handed shooter, has been taking his free throws left-handed. The difference hasn't been that great.

Through nine games this season, Gathers made 33 of 63, 52 percent, while averaging 25 points per game.

Against La Salle last weekend, Gathers was 1-for-7 from the line before stepping up and making both ends of a 1-and-1 with 10 seconds left to wrap up the victory for the Lions in Gathers' hometown.

"I put a lot of work in at the foul line and I give most of the credit goes to one of our assistant coaches, Judas Prada, who always grabs me before practice and helps me to shoot foul shots," he said. "I feel very confident shooting with my left hand. It's more of a natural stroke for me. I think I rushed my first few tonight and then really took my time and concentrated on my technique on the last two."

When he made the first, Gathers turned and pointed toward the crowd at the Civic Center.

"I was pointing to Father Dave Hagan, a friend of mine from here in Philly, who has been on my back since grade school to make free throws," he said. "I was really pointing at him and my mom who tells me to make my free throws and to always go up and I'll always make it. She's not always right."

Loyola Marymount coach Paul Westhead was asked if he had scouted future opponent La Salle when it played Temple three night before his Lions were to.

"Yes, I went to the game but left at halftime. The score was 63-62," he said.

That was the final score in La Salle's favor, and combined, it was just six points less than Westhead's Lions would score in the 121-116 victory, the Explorers' first loss of the season.

Before the season began, Indiana coach Bob Knight was more than pleased with the coaching staff addition of Don Donoher, who was fired after 25 years at Dayton.

"I don't think that any college basketball situation, through whatever changes that occur -- change in coaches, addition of players, development of players or whatever -- has made as good an addition as we have with Donoher," Knight said. "I think that Donoher was the best addition that any college team anywhere in the country has made this past season."

Knight gave Donoher the bulk of the credit after the Hoosiers rallied from 20 points down at home for a victory over Michigan.

"That was Don Donoher's lineup in the second half," Knight said of the unit which turned the tide and took the lead with a 17-0 run late in the game. "He said we should go with our most mobile players and to take a chance with them on the defensive end to get something going on the offensive end."

The team which got things going in the second half was one with four guards and sophomore center Eric Anderson. Most of the comeback was made with at least four sophomores or freshmen on the court.

Does Knight always take his assistant's suggestions?

"He was very adamant about it," he said of Donoher.

It wasn't really that big a surprise when Nebraska led Kansas by 13 points in the second half of the Jayhawks' first game as the No. 1 team in the country in 32 years.

What was surprising was that the Cornhuskers didn't hold on for the upset as Kansas rallied for a 98-93 victory.

Nebraska had played three other top-ranked teams in its history and beaten all three -- Kansas State in 1958, Michigan in 1964 and Missouri in 1982.

Oregon Tech beat Western Baptist 137-82 last week and all nine players who saw action for Oregon Tech scored in double figures.

Freshman center Tyrone Holmes led the way with 25 points and all eight of his teammates had at least 11.

The first week of league play in the Western Athletic Conference was as balanced as you can get.

The eight teams which played had 1-1 conference marks, while the ninth team, Air Force, was 0-0.

Half of the top 20 scorers last season were underclassmen and they are doing very well so far this season.

Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount, who led the nation last season at 32.7, Chris Jackson of LSU, Lionel Simmons of La Salle, Bimbo Coles of Virginia Tech, Kurk Lee of Towson State and Bailey Alston of Liberty are all in the top 20 in the first set of statistics released in 1990.

Three others -- Gerald Glass of Mississippi, Raymond Dudley of Air Force and John Taft of Marshall -- are all just out of the top 20, while Delaware State's Tom Davis' 19.9 points per game is out of the national rankings but still very respectable.

Bo Kimble, Gathers' teammate, is leading the nation in scoring with 37.4 per game. If he can keep that pace up in the Lions' run-and-shoot style, Kimble would have the highest mark since Freeman Williams of Portland State led the country at 38.8 in 1977.

Kentucky coach Rick Pitino doesn't have to travel far to receive advice on how to improve the Wildcats' play.

His 7-year-old son Richard visited his school's library and found a book titled "Rupp's Championship Season."

Richard asked his father if he had ever read the book which contains diagrams of plays used by Adolph Rupp, the coach at Kentucky for 42 seasons and the winningest coach of all-time.

When his father replied he had not seen the diagrams, the youngster said: "Why don't use a few. You have lost five in a row."

Philadelphia Textile basketball coach Herb Magee has little more than sweatclothes to wear these days after a fire ravaged his apartment building recently. All he could salvage was his golf clubs.

"They think it was arson," said Magee, who recently won his 450th career game. He said authorities also believe the fire began in his apartment. "They think it was a robber who was trying to cover his tracks."

Magee, grateful nobody was hurt in the fire, is kicking himself for not having renter's insurance.

"In fact, it turns out a lot of people in the complex didn't have it. An insurance salesman could have a great day if he went door-to-door there now," said Magee, who currently is living with friends.

A master coach of shooting, Magee said he's also grateful to have basketball.

"It makes it tough to find a new house, but it's kept me busy."

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