Georgetown center Patrick Ewing was named player of the year by the Associated Press but skipped the presentation ceremony this morning to go to practice.
Although the practices today were scheduled for the afternoon, three of the four teams practiced this morning in private and held only shoot-arounds during the public sessions in Rupp Arena. Only Memphis State held a full practice.
Georgetown practiced at the University of Louisville this morning during the scheduled ceremony. Ewing was to have received the Adolph F. Rupp Trophy from Rupp's widow. "I'm very sorry I couldn't be there," Ewing said this afternoon, "but I thought it was more important to practice with my team to get ready to play tomorrow."
Ewing received 58 of 115 votes from the nationwide poll of sports media. He beat out Chris Mullin of St. John's (44 votes).
Michigan's Bill Frieder was named coach of the year.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson made clear today that he was not upset by a column by Billy Reed in the Louisville Courier-Journal, but the situation which the report described. "I wasn't upset with the man," Thompson said. "I was upset that the situation still can exist."
Reed wrote earlier this week that a Martian would be in the White House before Kentucky hired a black coach to replace retired Joe B. Hall. When Thompson was asked for his reaction Wednesday, several reporters laughed. Thompson said, "There's nothing funny about racism." Some thought Thompson's remark was aimed at Reed's comment but Thompson told several people that it took courage for Reed to write that.
Memphis State Coach Dana Kirk, whose star player Keith Lee has been hampered by fouls during the last month, called today for the abolition of player disqualifications.
"I think people pay money to watch Keith Lee play. They should get to see him play, not watch him sit down after three minutes," Kirk said. "We are the only sport where players are disqualified. In football, if you hold seven times, you simply get penalized. I think after the fifth foul there should be an extra penalty but not disqualification."