Coaches at area small colleges are sounding a common plea this year: Find me one good big man. Or two. Or three.
"If there's a guy taller than 6 feet walking around on campus," mused one coach, "I automatically start thinking, 'Forward, maybe center.' We've got nothing up front, and neither do most of the other coaches. Now I know why they call us small colleges."
"We'll need a lot of outside shooting and defense because we won't get many boards (rebounds)," said Don Drown, the veteran coach at Montgomery College-Rockville, echoing several of his peers. "My only comfort is that the other local junior colleges won't have much height either." c
One man who isn't lamenting the lack of tall guys is new Bowie State Coach Nat Frazier. The former Morgan State coach. New York Knick assistant and lately coach of the defunct Washington Metros professional women's team has procured several players 6-6 or bigger.
Bowie should improve considerably from its 6-20 showing last year, as should Southeastern (9-18) under new Coach Frank Silva. A young Washington Bible team could have a .500 season after a 5-20 showing last year, and new Gallaudet Coach Mike Rosenbaum is counting on new-found height in 6-6 Joey Manning and 6-5 Mike Weinstock to better significantly last year's 2-17 mark.
Among junior colleges, Montgomery-Rockville and Prince George's Community College lost several key players and might not duplicate last year's seasons (16-9 and 20-5). Montgomery-Takoma has quickness and good ball-handling ability, but lacks a big man.
Although his Bowie State team faces a rugged Division II schedule (Bowie plays the University of the District of Columbia once and defending national champ Virginia Union twice), Frazier is excited about the 1980-81 Bulldogs.
"We're rebuilding and we're taking a look at a lot of freshmen," said Frazier, who won a Division II championship at Morgan State with Marvin Webster, now of the Knicks, at center.
Frazier has two starters back, 6-3 shooting guard Gene Loudermill (11.4 points per game in 1979) and 6-2 junior point guard James Stewart (7.7, 4.1 assists). To go with this experience back court are five freshmen among six front court players, including 6-7 John White (Overbrook High School in Philadelphia), 6-6 Charles Warner (Ballou) and 6-6 Renard Banks (Oakland Mills). Frazier says he lacks a big center, but he won't get much sympathy at this level.
Southeastern's Silva, who coached from 1973-77 at the old D.C. Teachers College, fields a very young team built around sophomore 5-11 1/2 swing man Jesse Harrison (15.0) and sophomore 6-4 center Clarence Dempsey (9.8, five rebounds).
Washington Bible returns three starters, notably 6-2 junior forward Dave Klinedinst (23, 13.7 rebounds) and sophomore point guard Tim Lykins (eight points, 6.5 assists). Irv Clark, a 6-3 1/2 freshman, must produce a center if the team is to have any chance at breaking .500.
Gallaudet's Rosenbaum is high on Manning, a freshman from Bartou, Fla., with a good shooting touch. Others who have impresed are 6-2 forward Pat Kuehn and 6-0 junior guard Mike Paulone, who sat out last year with injuries.
PGCC Coach Ed Crescenze loses 6-6 center Jim McNeil (16 points, 12 rebounds) from last year's 20-5 team that won the National Conference of the Maryland JuCo League. He is counting on two Central High School grads, 5-5 point guard Jimmy May (10 points, five assists) and 6-4 forward Carlos Rechards (14 points, 10 rebounds), plus 6-4 center Victor Proctor, a freshman from Parkdale.
Drown lost all five starters, so he is starting his 20th year at Montgomery-Rockville virtually from scratch. Bill Harris (Theodore Roosevelt) and Eric Jones (Northwood), both 6-3, will handle most of the rebounding and 5-9 Bob Yerger (Springbrook) and 5-11 Perry Washington (Cardozo) will take over at guard.
Three starters return from Coach Bruce Wagner's 10-11 Montgomery-Takoma team of last year. Robert Byars (8.8, 7.4 rebounds) at 6-3 moves over from forward to center, and 6-3 Frank Peterson moves from guard to Byars' old position.