Anthony (Jo Jo) Hunter, the former Mackin High School Basketball star and University of Maryland player who transferred to Colorado two years ago, was stunned when he heard he had participated in one of at least three Big Eight Conference games under investigation by the FBI for "possible irregularities."
"I heard about this so-called investigation on the news the other day," said Hunter, a senior guard, in a telephone interview from Boulder, Colo. "I sure don't know anything about any fixes or anything like that. Nothing shaky went on with our team."
The Oklahoma State-Colorado game, won by Colorado, 85-57, in Boulder Feb. 20, is one of at least three games being invested by the FBI. The FBI did not specify what the "irregularities" migh be, but it is believed the investigation will probe possible point-shaving or fixing.
Colorado, playing at home, was a 3 1/2-point favorite. The FBI informed the NCAA that an abnormally large amount of money was wagered on that game, as well as the Kansas at Missouri game Feb. 9 and the Nebraska at Missouri game Feb. 21.
Dave Cawood, director of public relations for the NCAA, acknowledged that "a significant amount of money was bet, all in one part of the country." It could not be determined exactly how much money was involved, or in which area of the country money was bet on the games.
"The conference plans to cooperate fully with the NCAA and FBI in their effort to settle this matter as quickly as possible," Carl James, commissioner of the Big Eight, said yesterday.
"Because of the problems with gambling and drugs in our society, none of our schools are immune to this," James said. "When the stories ran concerning the Boston College scandal, I sent several articles to all the ADs and basketball coaches in our conference just to remind them to address themselves to these ills.
"I know the FBI hasn't talked to anyone in our conference about this matter yet. It is our desire to help the FBI and NCAA in any way it can."
Bill Blair, who coached at Colorado the past five seasons before taking an assistant's job with the New York Nets recently, was in Hawaii and could not be reached for comment. But Hunter, one of the top guards in the Big Eight, vividly recalled the game in question.
"I didn't see anything unusual going on," said Hunter, who scored 29 points, 10 above his season's average, in the victory. "They beat us bad down there (84-67 on Jan. 10) and we really wanted this one. They came out in the same zone they beat us with, but we made the shots this time. We led, 6-0, and they never caught up.
"I think I had 21 points in the first half but we only led by eight. In the second half we ran away from them. They played hard, but they got in foul trouble and couldn't do anything."
In the game, Colorado made 36 of 63 field-goal attempts, compared to OSU's 23 of 56, and outrebounded the visitors, 47-26. A total of 42 fouls were called, 23 on Colorado. The Buffaloes made 13 of 20 free throws, OSU 11 of 22.
"We forced them into a lot of errors but they were hustling," said Hunter. "They didn't play as if they were laying down."
OSU Athletic Director Richard A. Young said neither he nor Paul Hansen, the Basketball coach, had been contacted by the NCAA or the FBI.
"I'm totally surprised by this. No one has ever called here for any information," Dr. Young said. "We were informed by our commissioner that a few of our conference games were being looked into, but that's no indication that there was some wrongdoing between the schools. There's nothing wrong here."