Simply dashing in his nifty tennis warmups, TV sportscaster Dick Enberg lounged on the scorer's table, one foot on the basketball court.
That was one foot too many for John Thompson.
The Georgetown University basketball coach sent a man to Enberg with a message. The message was: This is a basketball practice, Mr. TV Star, and we would appreciate it if you would get your foot off our court.
So Enberg of NBC moved his nifty warmups to a chair behind the scorer's table.
Georgetown plays a second-round game in the NCAA tournament against Rutgers Saturday afternoon. It is an important game and Thompson cheerfully confesses he is "very, very up-tight."
That is the way he wants it. He wants his players on edge, too. He occasionally stopped an intense workout today and called his players near him. "We had company," he explained later, referring to assorted reporters and coaches watching the practice. "So rather than call one of my players an SOB out loud, I whisper it to him."
It was 1943 when Georgetown last won a game in an NCAA tournament. "We have had eight presidents and three wars since. We're going to war," Thompson said of this NCAA game. "I want them up-tight. You don't want a man going to the Vietnam war to be relaxed, do you? He'd get killed."
This might be the most important game of Thompson's career at Georgetown. The school's once-moribund basketball program is vigorous today. In seven seasons, Thompson has built its health yearly. This could be the year Georgetown makes a reputation that lasts.
But the Hoyas must beat Rutgers. Twice in the last four seasons, Georgetown has lost in the first round of this tournament -- to Central Michigan, of all people, and Arizona. While Thompson and his crew of disciplined players have made the 20-victory season a reasonable expectation, they have not yet shown the strength to survive long in the NCAA.
"I'm not sure this game means any more than the Syracuse game," Thompson said. By beating Syracuse last week, Georgetown automatically qualified for the NCAA. "This game is important to us as an independent as opposed to a member of a conference. Teams in conferences can get recognition through their other conference teams doing well.
"But Georgetwon succeeds or fails on its own merits."
So while a Maryland, say, will draw its 14,500 fans to see an Atlantic Coast Conference game with North Carolina -- no matter if Maryland is playing miserably -- Georgetown must prove itself on the court.
Rutgers is no powerhouse. If Georgetown's zone defenses and freshman center Ed Spriggs can limit Rutgers center James Bailey to 25 points, the Hoyas can win.
Then would come Duke, cochampion of the sainted ACC.
Logic says Duke will eliminate Georgetown, because at some point Georgetown's lack of depth (it has one dependable reserve, freshman forward Jeff Bullis), and weakness at center (Tom Scates is still injured and will be of no help) will prove fatal. That fatality will come against a solid team with more than one offensive weapon. Duke is that sort of team.
Before this NCAA tournament is over, strange and unusual things will have happened. "Anybody in the final 40 can make it to the final four," said Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse coach. "I don't think anyone in the country could put down the names of the final four. You'd be lucky to get more than two right."
Georgetown could beat Duke. All the Hoyas need is perfection. They are capable of that. They are as quick as anyone, shoot well enough, handle the ball flawlessly and can rebound with Duke. If Georgetown doesn't need to go to its bench, either to rest a man or in search of a replacement for an off-form player, it can beat Duke.
"There are no UCLAs of the past," said Rutgers guard Tom Brown.
A year ago, in dogged pursuit of the future, an itinerant typist made a telephone call to Bill the Bookie, who works in Louisville. B the B correctly predicted Kentucky would win the NCAA by beating Duke in the championship game.
This time Bill takes Michigan State over UCLA in the final. "Michigan State's defense is outstanding," he said. "They played tenacious defense against Indiana all day and committed only nine fouls. Indiana shot one free throw. Michigan State has the size and quickness, and they're playing the best ball of anybody right now."
In the East Regional, Bill the Bookie picks North Carolina because Duke will not have guard Bob Bender or forward Kenny Dennard. He likes Arkansas in the Midwest but dismisses the Razorbacks as threats because "even with Indiana State there, that's what I call a kennel regional -- full of dogs."
The typist goes with North Carolina over Duke in the East... Michigan State over Notre Dame in the Mideast... UCLA over Marquette in the West... and Arkansas over Oklahoma in the Midwest.
Then Michigan State will beat Carolina, UCLA will defeat Arkansas and, in the championship game, no matter what Tom Brown said, UCLA will rise again.