The Oral Roberts University basketball team, whose five starters all have South Bay affiliation, may be off to a slow start, but that hasn't kept pro scouts from flocking to watch 6-11 center Mark Acres.
Acres, the CIF 4-A player of the year four years ago out of Palos Verdes High, is the Titans' leading scorer and rebounder. He and 6-9 teammate/brother Jeff and coach/father Dick were featured recently in Sports Illustrated ("God's Little Acres") and have drawn NBA scouts from all corners.
Oral Roberts sports information director Don Ott said there were 14 NBA scouts at the Titans' game in North Carolina and eight on the Tulsa campus when Oral Roberts hosted Oklahoma. When the Titans visited UCLA, Lakers General Manager Jerry West attended.
Ott said Mark is projected as a first-round or high second-round choice. His best games this year include 21 points against LSU and a 9-for-9 shooting performance against Arkansas and Olympian Joe Kleine. That was his first game after sitting out 10 days with mononucleosis. After the UCLA game he was averaging 15.5 points and six rebounds in a well-balanced offense that also has Jeff, former Carson forward Sam Potter and former Loyola Marymount guard Charles Dorsey in double figures. The other starter is guard Mark Wilson of Carson.
Ott said the older brother, Jeff (he red-shirted a year with an injury) has impressed some scouts and will probably be a "sympathetic" draft choice by a team in the area like the Dallas Mavericks.
Father-son teams are still an item at Loyola Marymount, where Greg Goorjian played for Coach Ed two years ago. Greg's free-shooting ways often drew remarks from the visiting crowds. At a recent road game--which Loyola was losing--a fan behind the Loyola bench sarcastically yelled, "Hey Goorjian, why don't you put your son in."
Goorjian, who was known to return some barbs when Greg was playing, turned around this time and resignedly answered, "I wish I had him."
The bravest (craziest?) player of the week has to be Mary Star's Dragan Hrboka, who got into a finger-pointing incident with St. Anthony's during their basketball game last weekend and ended up nose-to-nose with St. Anthony's mammoth Jaime Cardriche.
It was actually more like nose-to-chest, and at the point when Cardriche became irritated, discretion probably would have been the better part for Hrboka, who is 6-2. Cardriche, a junior who was a lineman during the football season, is listed anywhere from 6-5 to 6-7 and weighs in at about 320 pounds.
Luckily for Hrboka, the referees came between them quickly.
Sports nicknames can sometimes get out of hand but the San Pedro High basketball team members wear theirs proudly on their warm-ups and have a pretty colorful cast of characters. They include: Dr. Dunk (Curt Jones), Mr. Hollywood (Otis Livingston), Squeak (Damon Whitsitt) and Nachos (Zlatko Josic).