Chuck McGavran, Orange Coast College's sophomore guard, often has Coach Tandy Gillis shaking his head--sometimes in admiration, sometimes in frustration.
McGavran, who averages 13.4 points and 5.9 assists a game, is Orange Coast's best player.
He is also the Pirates' freest spirit.
McGavran likes to relax on weekends by racing his roll bar-equiped Baja bug up and down steep hills in south Orange County.
McGavran's diet? It's not the breakfast of champions, but mainly soda pop, although he recently cut back from 12 cans a day to six. Warnings from Gillis that athletes need balanced nutrition have not been effective.
And in the weight room, McGavran spends most of his time talking to teammates and avoiding the dreaded bench press.
"I'm just not into lifting," he said.
Then there is McGavran's long blond hair, the most obvious symbol of his individuality. It stands out all the more because most Orange Coast players are following today's trend and wear their hair short.
But McGavran, who starred at Newport Harbor High School, never was one to follow trends.
"Chuck has always been his own person," said Newport Harbor Coach Jerry DeBusk, who was an assistant to Gillis last season. ". . . If he was with five friends and all five wanted to go to McDonald's, he would insist on going to Del Taco, just to be different. He is not easily swayed."
None of this is to suggest that McGavran is hard to coach. In fact, quite the opposite is true, and that's why Gillis, who places great value in discipline, tolerates his star player's idiosyncrasies, even if they do try his patience.
"Nobody plays harder than Chuck, and that is what matters most to me," Gillis said. "The long hair is the least of my problems, as long as he plays hard."
McGavran has led the Pirates, who play at Rancho Santiago tonight, to an 18-4 start and victories in the Miles Eaton, Mt. San Jacinto and San Diego Mesa tournaments. He was named the most valuable player in all three.
McGavran already has more assists, 352, than any player in Orange Coast history. He set the single-season school assist record of 222 last season.
And what does McGavran think of his accomplishments? Not much.
"I really just play for fun," he said. "If you're not playing to have fun, then why play? If I play my best, I don't look back on the game, whether we win or lose."
Despite his impressive statistics, everyone notices McGavran's hair first. Opponents have let McGavran know they don't much care for it.
"They razz me all the time about my hair," McGavran said. "They always say, 'Look at that hippie' or 'Look at that surfer.' They give me all kinds of funny looks. But that's all right. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion."
Gillis has told McGavran that his flowing locks may hurt his chances for a scholarship to a four-year school. But so far, McGavran hasn't visited the barber.
"There's no real reason (why) I let my hair grow this summer," McGavran said. "But I'm attached to it being long."
In his senior year of 1984-85, when he had a near crew cut, McGavran led Newport Harbor to a 24-4 record, the Sea View League championship and the Southern Section 4-A quarterfinals. McGavran was named most valuable player of the Sea View League and won All-Southern Section and The Times All-County honors.
His goal this season is to lead Orange Coast, which was 10-15 last season, to its first state championship since 1979.
"Our team had some problems last year," McGavran said. "There were a lot of rivalries, not everyone got along. But this year is different--we play as a team."