This year, Kentucky looks safe from 7-foot-1 Sam Bowie turning pro before his time--but it's still to worry for Wildcat fans: 6-11 junior Mel Turpin, so strong as UK center during Bowie's absence with leg miseries these two years, is looking hard toward 1983 pro draft.

Attribute it largely to the new NBA bargaining agreement effective a year hence.

Declaration date for nonseniors to renounce college eligibility for draft eligibility is May 14. Turpin might jump in (and who knows how many others), says Turpin adviser Melvin Boyd Cunningham, because of the team payroll limits coming up as of 1984-85.

Cunningham notes that under the NBA settlement, teams at or above $3.6 million payroll maximum may have to sign first-round draft picks to one-year contracts at just $75,000. "Seventy-five thousand is peanuts," he says. "I'd say it looks good that Melvin will be back (at UK, along with a healed Bowie). (But) I wouldn't want to see someone con him for peanuts" . . .

Virginia's Terry Holland can smile in Hawaii as coach of the South in the four-team, 32-player Aloha Classic (UDC's Mike Britt included) this week. U-Va. has landed 6-8 Tom Sheehey, Parade all-America (25 points, 12 rebounds) from Rochester's McQuaid Jesuit. Holland calls him "the most complete forward we could have recruited this year. The first time we saw him last summer we said, 'That's the guy we want.' " Sheehey scored 22 in the McDonald's All-America game in Atlanta Saturday (W.T. Woodson's Tommy Amaker was in it, too), and notes, "Virginia's a great academic school. If I don't make the NBA, I could go to law school there."