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The nation's most popular sport experienced a renaissance at Harvard last year, and appears likely to maintain or even add to its newly-won success this season.
A Crimson basketball team which a year ago piled up its first winning campaign in a decade seems capable of bettering that record.
After two frustrating years spent with teams neither able to live up to expectations nor able to win more than one-third of their contests, Coach Floyd Wilson last year achieved greater success than anyone had dared hope for. Included in his team's 19-9 season were seven victories in the last nine games, two against Princeton, and a 7-7 league record good for a fifth place Ivy League finish.
Wilson has only two starters and half the ten-man squad back, but among them are the two key players who led the remarkable late season comeback--Dick Woolston and George Harrington. They combined to infuse the team with new vitality and aggressiveness to snap a six-game losing streak and begin a drive which came within a few seconds of downing league champion Yale in the season's finale.
Woolston Led Scoring
Woolston, a rugged 6-3 senior forward, led the team in total scoring and total rebounding, and was chosen captain unanimously at the close of the season. Woolston improved noticeably from the previous campaign, and was the most dependable player on the court always throughout the season. He could always be counted on for about 15 points and a like number of rebounds.
Harrington provided the most dramatic push to Crimson efforts when, after being put into the starting lineup for the first time after the six-game losing streak, he proceeded to lead all scorers in the next five games, all Harvard victories. He is a pint-sized (5-7) junior guard, with the best set shot and dribbling techniques seen at the I.A.B. in many years. Despite his late start, he gave Woolston a close call for scoring honors, averaging about 20 points per game, and should be even better with a year's experience behind him.
New Starting Center
Notwithstanding the excellence of these two, perhaps the most important man on the team will be the new starting center, Bryant Danner. In this era of high-scoring ball games, a dependable middle man capable of pulling the ball off the backboards is essential. Danner, a 6-4 beanpole, from court-crazy Indiana, gave indications of high potential a year ago. With tremendously long arms and unusual spring in his legs he can out-jump opponents many inches taller than he. If he comes through, the team will be very hard to stop.
The other two men in the starting lineup will be Monk Muncaster (6-3), at forward, and Bob Repetto (6-1), at guard. A senior, Muncaster started on the first five a years ago, but was moved down to the second team to make room for Harrington. As usual, he has begun well, and will help if he has begun well, and will help if he beats his second half slumps. Repetto will be the only new man on the first team, having played junior varsity ball last year.
Griff McClellan, at 6-8 by far the tallest man on the squad, will back up Danner at center. He showed occasional rebounding and scoring ability a year ago, but lacks the necessary aggressiveness under the boards. Mike Donahue, the best products of the freshman team, will be used often at guard. Another sophomore, Dave Grayer, and three players up from the junior varsity, Chuck Wolle, Arnie Singall, and George James round out the 11-man squad.
In an early practice game, against highly-touted Providence College, the Crimson looked weak where Wilson expected it to be strongest--in rebounding.
A better-balanced attack must be combined with more aggressive play underneath; then, with the experiences gained from the initial contests, this Crimson quintet might even challenge the Ivy League leaders.
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