"Big-time basketball comes back to Harvard this year," say the signs on the wall of the Indoor Athletic Building. The hands that hold the chalk-and have high hopes of using it again this winter to mark up an impressive string of victories-are those of Varsity coach Bill Barclay and his group of elongated Crimson hoop artists.
"Big-time" applies not only to such novel, high-type opposition as Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, and Army on the 1947-48 schedule but also to the Crimson itself.
After less than a month of preliminary practice, a prediction of this sort might seem a shot in the dark except for the fact that Barelay's quintet has already scrimmaged Boston's professional Celtics three times.
"The first time, shortly after our opening workout, they waltzed over us," says Barelay, "But after the last two games, those pros really know they had been in a battle."
Even in the absence of last year's regulars Chip Gannon and Bill Brady, who will not report for court duty until after the Yale gridiron clash, the present 30-man squad has great advantages, both in speed and height, over the 1946-47 unit.
Four of the seven men Barclay now is alternating as his first string operatives measure at least six feet three inches. Center Bill Prior of last year's Jayvee team tops the quartet at six-six, Captain George Hauptfuhrer is next at six-five, while former Freshman John Rockwell and veteran Steve Davis bring up the rear at six-three each.
Letterman Bill Henry, (six-one), ex-Yardling Clif Crosby (six-one), new-comer Wait McCurdy, who sparkled in contests with the Celtics round out Barclay's first seven. The speed of the last two should materially increase the effectiveness of the Crimson's fast break.
So far exact positions are doubtful. Hauptfuhrer is being tried at both center and forward, as are Crosby and Rockwell. McCurdy, who had had experience at every post but center, has the speed of an ace forward and also the deadly set-shot of the perfect guard.