Six of the top 10 scorers in Division I last season were underclassmen. Only half of those six returned for this season, however, and all three are showing the scoring talent to vie for Bo Kimble’s title last season.
Kevin Bradshaw of U.S. International was second last year with a 31.3 average as a junior and the 6-foot-6 swingman is at 33.4 over the Gulls’ first nine games this season.
Alphonzo Ford of Mississippi Valley State, the school which sent Jerry Rice to the NFL, was fourth last year at 29.9. The 6-5 sophomore guard was at 34.1 in the Delta Devils’ first seven game.
Steve Rogers of Alabama State, who followed Ford at 29.7, has seen his average dip to 28.6 for the Hornets’ first five games of the 6-5 guard’s junior season.
Kimble and Loyola Marymount teammate Hank Gathers were first and sixth last season at 35.3 and 29.0, respectively. The other seniors on the list were Dave Jamerson of Ohio U., third at 31.2, and Duquesne’s Mark Stevenson, who rounded out the top 10 at 27.2.
Chris Jackson of Louisiana State, 27.8 as a sophomore, and Dennis Scott of Georgia Tech, 27.7 as a junior, both opted for the NBA and gave up their remaining eligibility.
Darryl Brooks of Tennessee State, who was seventh just ahead of Jackson and Scott at 28.8, was declared academically ineligible for his senior year and did not return to the Tigers.
There are your two basic means of transportation for college basketball players -- bus and plane.
Enter Tom Ramsden of Kings Point who made a recent road trip the way a future seaman should -- by boat.
All midshipmen at Kings Point need 300 days at sea in order to sit for the Coast Guard exam. Ramsden, a senior co-captain, was short on days entering this semester and made use of the Kings Pointer, a training vessel which goes to sea in order for seamen to reach the prescribed number of days.
“The captain was planning to go somewhere in Connecticut that day and I asked if we could go to New London since we had a game there that day,” Ramsden said.
The captain agreed and the Kings Pointer, which was making its last run of the semester, left Friday afternoon for New London and docked at the submarine base the next day as Ramsden was able to make tipoff for the Mariners’ game with the Coast Guard Academy.
Ramsden had to perform full duties on the trip and that meant eight hours of being on watches within 24 hours of the game, including a shift from 4 a.m.-8 a.m. the morning of the game.
Ramsden, a native of Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., refused to use his all-nighter or even sea legs for his poor performance in the Mariners’ 81-49 loss. He had just four points and six turnovers.
“It is an ocean-going tug which was used in World War II to tow damaged vessels from the Far East to California,” he said of the Kings Pointer. “It wasn’t really that big a deal because if it meant getting the sea day or playing the game, I was taking the sea day.”
Oral Roberts may have dropped its basketball program from Division I to NAIA, but the Titans have a player who can score on any level -- 6-2 senior guard Greg Sutton.
Sutton averaged 38.7 points per game as the Titans opened the season 7-3. He had a four-game stretch over a five-day period where he scored 34, 68, 31 and 48 points. That’s an average of 45.3 for the shortened week.
Sutton’s no stranger to big numbers, having averaged 30.6 last season when he was selected first-team NAIA All-American.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Oklahoma City coach Darrel Johnson said after Sutton hung up the 68 against his Chiefs. “I’m not a good enough coach to know how to stop him. I don’t know how you can tell your guys ‘Good D’ when the guy they’re covering scores 68. But I really thought our kids did a good job covering him.”
Oklahoma City won the game 116-114 in overtime as former Kentucky guard Eric Manuel had 40 points for the Chiefs.
“He’s the best guard in this part of the country,” Oral Roberts coach Ken Trickey said of Sutton. “Nobody can guard him. I’ll go to the bank and borrow all the money I can. You bring them in and he’ll beat them all -- every one of them.”
Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim reached the 350-victory plateau faster than any other coach in Division I history.
The Orangemen’s 113-99 victory over North Carolina Charlotte in the championship game of the Carrier Classic last weekend gave Boeheim a record of 350-108 in his 15 years at his alma mater.
Only two other coaches won their 350th game in their 15th season -- Georgetown’s John Thompson and Louisville’s Denny Crum. However, Thompson got it in his 470th game and Crum in his 463rd.
Boeheim should also be the quickest to 400 as long as his program remains at its current level. Crum and UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian both reached that milestone in their 17th season, while Boeheim has a chance at doing it in his 16th and almost certainly in less games.
Had North Carolina Charlotte managed one more point in that game the 49ers would have what no team has done against Syracuse since Boeheim took over in 1975 -- score 100 points.
Every once in a while the cupcake has something in it you can chip a tooth on.
Southern Indiana, an NCAA Division II team, beat Wisconsin 78-63 on the Division I team’s homecourt.
The win gave the Screaming Eagles a split in their two games against Division I competition this season as they lost to Georgetown 65-45.
In case you’re getting ready to set up your NCAA tournament grid early, there are seven schools ineligible for the 64-team field since the successful appeal of defending champion UNLV.
The schools which cannot be invited to March Madness are Illinois, Kentucky, Marshall, Maryland, Missouri, Northwestern Louisiana and Robert Morris.
John Griffin returned to coach his alma mater this season after spending three years working on Wall Street. Trying to make money in a weak economy must seem easy compared to the way the season has started for St. Joseph’s.
The Hawks got off to a 1-5 start and included in the losses were three when St. Joseph’s held the lead until the final minute only to lose.
Sanford Jenkins’ jumper with seven seconds to play gave Fordham its first lead in a 74-73 win over the Hawks. Craig Carter’s 3-pointer with six seconds left in regulation forced overtime and Rutgers pulled away to a 75-69 win. Mark Dowdell’s two free throws with 41 seconds left gave Villanova the lead for good in an 83-82 victory. In all three games the Hawks had a double-figure lead in the second half.
New Mexico State’s Chris Small was 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the Aggies’ preseason scrimmage and the 6-2 JUCO transfer was tabbed the long-range threat the team needed.
Only problem was Small lost the range quickly. He missed his first 14 3-pointers of the season, going 0-for-6 against New Mexico Highlands and 0-for-8 against Northridge State. He finally connected on his first attempt against Texas-El Paso and has rallied to bring his season mark to 11-for-43 while averagig six points per game in the first six games.
Small and his teammates meet intrastate meet New Mexico on Saturday and there will be a record crowd on hand. They are selling standing room only at Las Cruces and New Mexico State officials said the crowd should be almost 1,000 beyond the 13,200 seating capacity.
New Mexico guard Jimmy Taylor will know how it feels on both benches. He transferred to the Lobos from New Mexico State where he averaged 8.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 1988-89.