There were times last year when varsity basketball coach Norm Shepard must have looked on his spectacular freshman team with greedy eyes and glowingly thought of how nice it would be to have some of those boys playing for him.
It is now 1951, those boys are sophomores, yet the Crimson basketball team will probably use only one or two of them as starters when it meets M.I.T. tomorrow at the Blockhouse in its opening game.
It's not particularly that last year's freshmen have failed, but more that veterans from last year's team have come through unexpectedly well. So in all probability, the team will line up tomorrow with seniors Gerry Murphy and John Stevenson at the forwards, junior Dick Lionette at center, and sophomores Bill Dennis and Ed Condon at the guards.
Stevenson, who is this year's captain, and Murphy were both regulars last season. Both have lots of experience and are steady if not spectacular scorers. Stevenson is six feet, three inches tall, and a determined player under both offensive and defensive boards. Murphy, who has a deadly one-handed push shot, is a very sound defensive player.
Six five Lionette has improved markedly since his freshman year. Not very fast, he works hard on defense to make up for his lack of agility. Against smaller men he is a potential high-scorer with his hook shot. Lionette is being pressed at center by sophomore Ed Blodnick, who is two inches taller but no faster. Blodnick has a good touch on the ball, especially on jump shots from inside the foul circle.
At the guards, Dennis and Condon both appear to be scoring threats. One of the most polished players to arrive on the local scene for several years, Dennis is spectacular in everything he does. Unfortunately, he is subject to hot and cold streaks on his shooting. Condon moves the ball well and has a very fine set shot.
Two of last year's varsity guards, Forrest Hansen and Bill Hickey, have been hampered with injuries, although Hickey should see some action despite a damaged shoulder.
A pack of sophomores--led by Ed Krinsky and Bob Gremp--are contenders for forward positions. Among them are Rudy phillips, Bob Parente, and Ari Klev. Juniors Jim Urdan and Stan Greene--who played only House ball last year--are also top contenders.
All in all, the team looks better on paper than last year's, but defensive sloppiness and lack of a fast tall man like Ed Smith may keep it from having a much better record.