Harvard is sporting a new look in basketball this year--new uniforms, a new coach, a new style of play. Two players being counted on to help make this new look a good look are the "wing men" in Coach Bob Harrison's 1-2-2 offense--senior captain Bob Kanuth and junior Ernie Hardy.
Kanuth (6'5", 200 lbs.), currently slowed down by his hernia operation of three weeks ago, has started for the Crimson since his sophomore year. Last season he ranked second on the team in scoring (with a 10.9 average) and in rebounding and was named its Most Valuable Player. Harrison sometimes uses him at the post position instead of wing.
Hardy (also 6'5", 200 lbs.) is playing his first full winter for Harvard after running into difficulties with his coaches his freshman and sophomore years.
It is hard to tell which is greater--the enthusiasm that rookie coach Harrison shows toward Kanuth and Hardy, or the respect they have for him.
"Bob is a good leader and a good liaison man between the team and me," Harrison said yesterday. "He is a hard-nosed, enthusiastic competitor," he said.
"Bob has good fundamentals and is strong on rebounds and tough defensively," Harrison added. "He moves very well inside with the ball," he said.
Harrison was equally generous with his praise of Hardy. "Ernie can jump higher than anyone else on the team; nothing fires up the team more than seeing him go up to grab a rebound or block a shot," he said.
"Ernie has a good 15-foot jump shot and a good hook shot, he's good defensively, and he has good hands," Harrison added. "He gets our fast break started by getting the ball off the defensive boards and then does a good job at going down and following up the break," he said.
Coached Like Professionals
Both Kanuth and Hardy are unsparing in their high opinion of Harrison. "We're being coached like a professional team this year," Kanuth said yesterday. "Coach Harrison is teaching us the things that worked for the NBA teams he played for--things the fans like to see," he added.
"The fast break, pressing offense, and sagging man-to-man defense that we're using this year are all designed to make our games fun to play and exciting to watch," Kanuth said. 'Coach Harrison's new system is keeping the players happy and revitalizing Harvard basketball," he said.
"Harrison is the first coach I've had who let me do my thing," Hardy chimed in. "He knows how to handle people--especially athletes; there's no problem in communicating with him," he said.
"Harrison does all the things a coach should do," Hardy added. "You can tell he knows what he's doing, so you respect him and go out to the best of your ability for him," he said.
"The new coach makes the difference, at least as far as I'm concerned," Hardy said, commenting on the new attitude toward playing held by the team. "Harrison has given me a lot of confidence and has taught me more already than I learned my first two years," he said.
"Harrison gives me a chance to use all the abilities I have -- jumping, shooting, speed, and moves," he said.
Kanuth is confident about the team's chances for success this year.
"You can see the improvement with each practice and each game; we're getting to know each other's moves and building confidence," he said.
Scores, Drives, Steals
"Every man on the team has his own particular strength," Kanuth added. "Chris Gallagher scores, Dale Dover drives, Bobby Johnson steals, and Ernie and I rebound and defend; as long as each of us does his job, we're a real good ball club," he said.
Hardy points to the cagers' next four games--Springfield, Boston College, Ohio State, and Rutgers--as the keys to their success this season. "We've got to build up momentum and win back the confidence we lost against Navy," he said.
"The 1-2-2 offense gives us a chance to use just about every move in the book," Hardy added. "We're going to go out and do a hell of a job this year."