If the Bullets were looking for a Mitch Kupchak clone, they seem to have found one in Steve Malovic.
The 6-foot-10 San Diego State graduate is built like Kupchak - tall and angular - and has the same outgoing personality and biting sense of humor.
Malovic, obtained when the Bullets traded their No. 1 pick to Phoenix last week, was introduced to the media yesterday inside Capital Centre. He seemed at ease, talkative and humorous during his first press conference.
"I never had anyone stick those things in front of me before," he said, referring to the numerous microphones thrust in his face. "What am I supposed to do, eat them?"
Bob Ferry, Bullet general manager, immediately fell in love with Malovic.
"He has charisma," Ferry said. "He's active and loose. He's really a good kid."
Malovic, who is expected to help at center and forward as Kupchak did, said he isn't quite sure of his role, yet. "Rebounding and shooting are my biggest assets," he said. "Kupchak is a little stronger than I am, though, I think."
When reminded that Kupchak was noted for diving for loose balls and reckless all-out play, Malovic smiled and said, "It's kind of fun to dive for balls."
San Diego State was 15-11 last year, when Malovic averaged 17.4 points and 10 rebounds.
"We ran a five-man passing game, and I went out to the high post a lot," Malovic said. "I was the center, but I played all over the court."
Ferry has visions of Malovic doing the same sort of things Kupchak has done, especially since Kupchak's status for next season is clouded by an injured back.
"I look at him as a mobile type player," Ferry said, "a good shooter and agile. He knows how to play basketball. He can set a pick and he can move the ball.Now, if he can play the game, he'll be okay. He's a good person and has a lot of personality."
Malovic, a high school All-America at Alhambra High in Phoenix, first went to the University of Southern California. He said he did not like Los Angeles that much and didn't get along well with Coach Bob Boyd in his two seasons there.
He transferred to San Diego State and sat out the 1977-78 season, according to NCAA rules. That made him eligible for the 1978 draft as a "future eligible." Phoenix selected him in the seventh round.
Malovic said Phoenix never really tried to sign him, but he had planned to return to school anyway.