The Loyola Marymount basketball team has apparently filled its biggest need, getting a 6-foot-10 center. Richard Petruska, 21-year-old center for the Czechoslovakian national team, attended the first day of classes at the school Wednesday.
Petruska, who has spent much of the summer in the Southland, was apparently interested in attending a California college and shifted his attention to Loyola when Ed O'Bannon, star high school player from Artesia, recently chose UCLA.
The Czech team played a preseason game at Loyola two years ago, and Petruska scored 36 points, making 15 of 17 shots, mostly layups. Petruska will have three years of eligibility.
"He's big, he's tall, he runs pretty well," Loyola Coach Paul Westhead said, adding that he won't know if he can play at Loyola's hectic pace until practice starts Oct. 15.
Jay Hillock, assistant coach, said: "He's a low-post player. We don't have much of a feel (but) we think he can be an impact player. We think he can score points."
Points have been Loyola's forte, but most of them are gone with the graduation of Bo Kimble and Jeff Fryer, the decision of forward Per Stumer not to return to school, and with the death of Hank Gathers.