He isn't exactly John Travolta. Nor is he Mikhail Barishnykov. And no, definitely not Fred Astaire. But basketball co-captain elect Glenn Fine is most certainly a dancer, and he cuts a classy style all his own when he steps onto the hardwood floor for the Crimson.
A quick glance at the stats will serve as a snappy first number. Fine (how could one ask for a better surname?) led the team, and the Ivies, in assists, with 174 in 26 games. The diminutive guard (5 ft., 10 in. in the program) dished out 15 buckets at Detroit, registered six steals at Holy Cross, scored ten points a game playing point guard, sank six of six free throws in the closing minutes to cinch the Penn upset, and led the team in intensity--every game.
More than most players, though, Glenn Fine defies the kind of abstract description that statistics give. His act is visual; as with ballet, you must see Fine's game to understand just how talented he is. Fine crosses over dribbling as well as anyone who has ever played in the IAB, and he has the uncanny knack of seeming to float down the court, before--POP--threading a pass through the defense, or launching a gutty drive down the line.
"More than anyone else, he's the glue of this team," assistant coach Ray Martin said at last night's banquet. Unquestionably, Glenn adds an element of intensity to Harvard basketball that has been lacking for a long, long time.
"When I try to think of anyone in the Harvard basketball program as intense as Glenn Fine," reserve guard Rick Bengel said last night, "I can't come up with anyone. Not anyone at all."
Indeed, Fine approaches his craft with an intensity rarely seen in these parts. "When I do something, I want to do it well," Fine said, reclining on a couch in his Claverly room yesterday afternoon. "I want to win so much that I can't shrug it off. If there are people out there with me not giving everything they have, I just can't accept that."
The dedication dates back to boyhood days in Melrose Park, Pa.--a Philadelphia suburb--where Fine, small even for his age, found himself going at it with mostly older players. "I used to practice all the time," Fine recalled. "Whenever I was going somewhere, walking down the street, going to school, I had a basketball with me, dribbling."
A three-sport athlete at Cheltenham High School, Fine starred primarily in basketball, where he led a breaking, pressing team and scored 20 a game.
Recruited by Satch Sanders, among others, Fine brought his slick Philly game to Cambridge, where he led the outstanding '74 freshman team in scoring and assists. As a sophomore, he led the varsity in assists and still scored nine a game.
"Freshman year was great, but then came the varsity," Fine said. "I hadn't known what it was like to lose, and I'd never been on a team with so many factions and dissension before, so I really lost my enthusiasm. By the end of the year, I was going into some games not even caring if we won or not. I just wanted to get it over with."
Fine, very much an independent spirit, took the next year off, traveling and working all over--from San Francisco, to Florida, to Washington, D.C. and New Hampshire. "That was the best year of my life," Fine said; but back in Cambridge, the Crimson basketball squad really missed him.
This year, Fine was back, and the difference showed. "It was great to get a new coach, and a new attitude," he said. "I just wanted to start over again."
When he returned to the IAB floor, the same old steps were there, with hardly a trace of rustiness. There were weaknesses, of course--less than stellar defense, and an erratic though adequate jumper--but with Glenn Fine shuffling about, choreographing the Harvard offense from the point; things were on the way up.
From the words of Fine's team-mates last night, you'd think he's the second coming of Calvin Murphy (who, by the way, has been his inspiration for years).
Said backcourt mate Bobby Allen, "He's very, very easy to play with, because he does everything right."
Added Ray Martin, "He's like the American Express card for us. We don't leave home without him."
Enthusiastic reserve guard Frank Konstantynowicz had another aspect of Glenn Fine's style to discuss. "Yeah--we call him Doctor Funkenstein," "Frankie K" said, "because he likes to dance to that song by the Parliaments."
And it is true that Fine is a big fan of soul music. Beaming proudly at a poster on his Claverly wall yesterday afternoon. Fine pointed and said, "You see that? That's my Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes poster. I like to get down to that Philly sound."
And for at least one more year, Harvard basketball fans will be able to get down to that sweet Philly sound of Glenn Fine dribbling, effortlessly, down the IAB floor