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SCC Finding Success Without Numbers : College basketball: Coach Bill Reynolds leads team to the NAIA tournament, despite a meager budget.

March 13, 1990|CHRIS FOSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"My wife keeps telling me I have this growth on my ear," Reynolds said. "That's how much time I spend on the telephone."

Reynolds and his assistant coaches, Randy Hawkins and Bob Pierce, spend hours on the telephone. They work off reports from two recruiting services and also call players whom they've heard about.

It's not the most elaborate recruiting system, but it works to a degree. The biggest problem is explaining what school they represent.

"I called this one player and his mother answered the phone," Reynolds said. "I told her I was from SCC. She hollered to her son, 'The USC coach is on the phone.' When I told her that I was from Southern California College , there was about 10 seconds of silence on the other end."

In his nine years, Reynolds has made only three recruiting trips. Two were to the Chabot College tournament in Northern California. The third was to Portland, but Reynolds never got to see the recruit play because of a blizzard.

The player, Kenny Davis, did play for SCC in the mid-80s, but injured his knee and played only two seasons.

"We took a chance on him," Reynolds said. "We do that a lot. We usually don't get to see a kid play more than once. We have to make a quick judgment."

Bickmore was such a player. At Southern California Christian High School, he was an awkward, 6-foot-7 center, but Reynolds thought Bickmore could develop and offered him a scholarship.

Bickmore, who was 5-6 when he entered high school, has become a dominant center. He is the team's leading scorer (19.2) and rebounder (7.6).

"Recruiting at this level is very competitive and sometimes frustrating," Reynolds said. "But a kid like Jeff can make it rewarding."

For the most part, the players are happy competing on the NAIA level, even proud of it.

Earlier this season, the Vanguards played two NCAA Division I schools. It's something Reynolds will do from time to time because Division I schools will help with expenses. In return, those schools are almost guaranteed a victory.

The Vanguards were routed by Austin Peay, 98-73. Two nights later they had to play Murray State, which went on to win the Ohio Valley Conference.

That game became a point of honor for the Vanguards.

"We walked onto the court and the crowd started chanting, 'NAIA Go Away,' " Scruggs said. "We didn't like that too much."

SCC led by three points with less than a minute remaining before losing by three.

"They stopped chanting about halftime," Scruggs said.

Said Reynolds: "I think the people at Murray State developed a greater appreciation for the NAIA level after we left."

And they didn't even read the brochure.

SCC vs. WASHBURN

RECORDS--Southern California College 25-8, Washburn (Kan.) 20-11

SITE--Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo., 6:30 PST

SCC UPDATE--The Vanguards are making their first trip to the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics national basketball tournament. SCC reached the tournament by defeating Christian Heritage, 90-77, in the District 3 final. The Vanguards are led by 6-foot-7 center Jeff Bickmore and 6-2 forward Terry Scruggs. Bickmore averages 19.2 points a game and Scruggs 17.8. However, the Vanguards are not a two-man team. Bryan Moore, Mike Henjum, Elbert Davis and Rick Witmer give SCC plenty of depth for its up-tempo style. The Vanguards do lack size, however. Other than Bickmore, they use no one taller than 6-3. If the Vanguards defeat Washburn, they will play Philadelphia Pharmacy or Wisconsin Eau Claire in the second round. Wisconsin Eau Claire is the second-seeded team in the tournament.

WASHBURN--The Ichabods won the NAIA championship in 1987 and have two players remaining from that team, guards Mike Dickerson and Joe Becker. Washburn struggled early in the season, but has won seven of its last 11 games after Becker replaced Maurice Lamar in the starting lineup. The Ichabods present matchup problems for SCC. Jeff Markary (13.8-point average), a 6-7 center, and Doyle Callahan (10 points), a 6-5 forward, are strong inside players. Washburn's record is a bit deceiving. The Ichabods were 7-9 in the Missouri Intercollegiate Conference, which is made up of NCAA Division II schools. Washburn will move to the Division II level next season.

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