Satch Sanders, fresh from the pros, picked up a tough assignment last year when he took the job as Crimson head basketball coach.
Sanders lost nine players from last year's program, including seven graduating lettermen. This loss will deprive Sanders of what many considered the superior athletic talents of high school All-Americans James Brown and Floyd Lewis. Two other players are now on academic probation.
Sanders said last week that last year's Crimson team was a disappointment because people had built their hopes too high. He said that it was unfair to think that Harvard would be in the top 20 ranks simply because it had three "so-called high school All-Americans." He said that obviously some more basic ingredients were missing.
"All-America usually means a pretty good press," Sanders said. "They all say 'we got this guy who we think is pro material.' They think he's the best thing since Rice Krispies."
Wait and See
Sanders said that he has assumed a "wait and see attitude" towards this year's club.
"I know that I have some ball players out there, but I don't know how good they are just yet," he said yesterday. "I really won't be able to tell until our first game November 1 against Maine."
Although Sanders says he has had experience in coaching, he admits that he still has a few adjustments to make in coming to coach an Ivy League basketball team after playing professionally for 12 years with the Boston Celtics.
"I'm going to have to learn to extend my offenses," he said yesterday while watching his club work offensive and defensive drills. "I'm used to an offensive game of 12 to 18 seconds before the ball changes hands. Here the offense has the ball for 30 seconds up to one minute."
He said that the team will have to play defense longer and as a result defense will play an important role in his program this year.
The first drill that Sanders had the players run during the second day of practice yesterday was a fast break drill. When asked if he planned to use the fast break as a key to his offence this season, Sanders replied that he wasn't able to look that far ahead yet.
If the team shows strength in its rebounding abilities, he said, the fast break will be used. If not, he will have to stick to a patterned offence, something which past Crimson teams have had difficulty in transposing from chalk to actuality.
Last year the talented Harvard squad led by stars James Brown and Floyd Lewis stumbled to a mediocre 7-7 record in Ivy play and a barely respectable 14-12 season mark.