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College Basketball / Tracy Dodds : In This Game, Officials Are Whistling in Dark

February 07, 1986

What's an official to do? Some games, like the one that Arkansas played at Southern Methodist last week, are going to get out of hand.

SMU's Glenn Puddy, who was ejected, said after the dust had settled: "It was a physical game, and they didn't want it to be that way. They wanted control. They never got control."

Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson was also ejected, apparently for the profanity that completed this threat to official Mike Tanko: "You won't be working for me next year in Fayetteville . . . you (bleep)."

Obviously, emotions were running high. There were 58 fouls called, resulting in 80 free throws, and five players fouled out. There also were three technicals and the two ejections.

Arkansas won, 90-80, but the officials were in a no-win situation. Players from both sides were upset with Tanko, Alan Barker and Robert Ledbetter.

SMU's Terry Williams, who fouled out, said, "They didn't let us play."

And Arkansas' Scott Rose, who fouled out, said, "I think the way they were calling the game caused the players to almost want to fight each other."

Rumors keep popping up that J.R. Reid, a 6-foot 10-inch power forward from Virginia Beach, Va., who is generally regarded as the No. 1 prospect this recruiting season, is very near to making an announcement. Maryland seems to be the lucky winner.

But UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard is hoping that there is nothing to the rumors. He said that Reid's visit to UCLA is on the calendar, and he doesn't believe that Reid has decided anything yet.

Hazzard said: "David Greenwood (who played for UCLA) is his basketball idol. He wears No. 34 because that's what David Greenwood wore. His mother showed me an essay he wrote in the seventh or eighth grade, outlining his goals. He said he wanted to be a high school All-American, to play in the McDonald's (all-star) game, to go to UCLA and wear No. 34 and to play in the '88 Olympics.

"I'd like to help him fulfill his goals. We have that No. 34 jersey on ice right now."

In discussing with Orange County Register columnist Steve Bisheff the number of coaches leaving the profession because of burnout, USC Coach Stan Morrison said: "I've had doctors at parties come up to me and they're amazed. They say: 'I can't believe anyone is willing to put his week's work out there for everyone to examine it. I sure wouldn't want my results hung up on some scoreboard. You know, saved four, lost three.' They can't understand why we do it.

"And you know what's funny? For every guy out there who quits, there are always 100 new applicants for the job."

In the wake of the latest scandal at the University of Minnesota--three basketball players accused of sexual assault after a game at Wisconsin--the president of the university, Kenneth Keller, held a press conference to announce that the school would not drop the sport as Tulane did last year after its point-shaving scandal.

Keller said: "My reaction is horror, disgust and some amount of despair that we, as academic institutions, have created the environment at which this can happen. . . . I view continuation of the basketball program as the only noncynical thing we can do because we are not looking for scapegoats. We're not looking for a pound of flesh. We're looking for a solution.

"A year from today, I would certainly like to be able to say that we are taking a totally different approach to recruiting basketball players.

"That's narrow, not as broad a goal as I hope we can accomplish. But that's certainly an achievable goal.

"There are three things that we want to know. One, is he interested in becoming a student-athlete? Two, does this person have the potential for self-discipline and development of character that is necessary to make this a possibility? And thirdly, does the person have athletic ability? I'd like to see those all considered, in that order."

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