"Principals and basketball coaches are directed to recruit white students to play basketball. At least 20 percent of each basketball team should be white."

An uproar has arisen with that directive to Cleveland's public schools by their administrator of desegregation, Donald Waldrip. The racial composition of the school system is upward of 60 percent black. But as part of the city's integration program, Waldrip decreed guidelines for extracurricular activities, among them that baseball coaches should see to it that at least 50 percent of their players are black, and since it would take 2.4 players on 12-member basketball varsities to make up the prescribed 20 percent, two whites will suffice.

As recently as two years ago, Collinwood was the only one of Cleveland's seven East Side high schools that had a white player (a benchwarmer).

To the new order, Don Hilt, coach at Max Hayes High, responds positively: "I have no problems with it. It will help kids understand each other."

And Jim Chambers, athletic director at J.F. Kennedy High, where the previously almost all-black enrollment now has 205 whites among 1,500 pupils because of cross-town busing, responds negatively: "I have surveyed West Side youngsters when they get off the buses (in vain). . . It is ridiculous when you don't choose players on a team by ability . . . (To field) white players, I will have to dress the team manager and stats man". . .

All this while a flock of high school football coaches in Tennessee are up in arms over a state attorney general's opinion that it is illegal for them to continue conducting pregame team prayers. . .

The Dick Stanfel coaching regime in 0-12 New Orleans is off to some start: defensive end Don Reese has been suspended for the season for a fistfight with teammate Derland Moore.

"I want out," Reese -- active in youth work since he spent the 1977 season in jail on a drug conviction and eventually shifted from the Miami Dolphins to the Saints -- told a reporter just prior to his fight with Moore. "These people don't know how to win." Reese, out with a knee strain but prowling the sidelines at practice, aroused the wrath of teammates, including Moore, who shouted "You quit!" at Reese who called Moore a loser, then the 250-pound adversaries exchanged punches and grappled as players and coaches tried to separate them. Stanfel, directing his first practice, went down under the pile at one point. . .

Larry Holmes has announced he will fight No. 6 contender Marty Monroe in the ninth defense of his WBC heavyweight title in February, take on the three top contenders, then "a bum," then retire. . . Peter DePaolo, first Indianapolis 500 winner to average more than 100 mph, and first to drive on air-filled tires (1925, a decade after his uncle Ralph DePaolo won Indy) has died in Laguna Beach, Calif.; cancer.

The magazine war heats up with the college basketball previews and so do Terp and Cav fever. Sports Illustrated comes out with Maryland's Albert King, Virginia's Ralph Sampson and DePaul's Mark Aguirre on its Dec. 1 cover -- a tribute to their school spirit for passing up early proand ranks Blue Demons No. 1, Terrapins 2, Wahoos 8. December Inside Sports gives Al McGuire the crystal ball, and he not only leads with King, Sampson, Kentucky's Sam Bowie, Aguirre and Indiana's Isiah Thomas as "my top five blue-chippers" but emphasizes same by posing with hands on the shoulders of Our Albert and Ralph. Uncle Al also tabs DePaul No. 1; Maryland 5, Virginia 7. . . SI counterpunches with a "bonus piece" on Georgetown and Coach John Thompson. Old Celtic Ronnie Watts joins Mal Campbell as Maryland-Navy coverers tonight on Channel 20. Hoooopeee!