Harvard basketball isn't or, at least, soon won't be what it used to be. This news can only be encouraging to anyone who has been one of the few loyal fans of the sport here in recent years.
This year's varsity, though it cannot be rated a bonafide contender for the Ivy League championship, is much improved over last year's squad. The freshman team will be loaded with more talent than any Harvard freshman team before it. It appears that the energetic program started by coach. Bon Harrison, now in his second season here, is beginning to show results.
The two teams will play each other at 4 p.m. Friday in the IAB, and there is a second such scrimmage planned for Sunday. November 23. "The main purpose of Friday's game." explained Harrison yesterday, "is to show people what we're doing with the program. This weekend's football game is the last one at home, so there should be a lot of alumni who will come watch the basketball match." he added.
Those who expect the freshmen, which is admittedly a prize group of basketball players, to roll over the varsity will be surprised. The Yardlings may be using a couple of high school All-Americans, but the 16 players left on the squad after cuts are by no means a team yet. And it is nearly impossible for a team to win without some minimal coordination and integration.
The freshmen are still working on fundamentals under coach Kenneth Klug, and with the 32 candidates they had until two days ago, it was hard to accomplish much. The team should be great after it has time to develop, but the exciting point to watch Friday will be individual performances by the freshmen.
The varsity, on the other hand, is progressing well at this point. Harrison thinks the reasons for this improvement are a smaller squad, a better understanding by the players of what their coach wants. and a better attitude. "The overall spirit is a lot better this year." he said.
Nevertheless, he is not predicting immediate success. Harrison expects Princeton, Penn, and Columbia to fight it out for the title as they did last year, and he thinks Harvard will be about even with the rest of the teams. Last winter, however, the Crimson was hurt badly by injuries, so Harrison's outlook is, to some extent, one of caution.
He feels that his team plays an interesting type of basketball, though. He pointed out that despite its seventh-place finish last year, the Crimson led the league in field goals and rebounds.
The probable starters for the varsity are captain Eruie Hardy. Dale Dover, Mike Janczewski, Matt Bozek, and either George Yates or Brian Newmark.