Now that the 1972-73 basketball season is over, a decision must be reached. For two years Harvard has had excellent chances to play in the N.C.A.A. tournament. Both years started with high hopes and ended in bitter disappointment.
When a team has talent which has been so widely recognized and has a desire to win, only one thing can prevent it from doing so: poor coaching.
Generally, Coach Harrison has sent his team out without any offensive strategy, refused to play a zone defense where it clearly would have been more beneficial, and failed to teach fundamental basketball. Specifically, he has:
a. used James Brown, a probable All American forward at another school, at guard for a year;
b. run the offense entirely around Jim Fitzsimmons one year and totally neglected him the next, rendering a talented shooter ineffective both years, (despite his effort to be unselfish this year)
c. continually broken up winning combinations with needless substitutions, disrupting the few times the team looked good;
d. substituted a player for 10 seconds, lots of time to warm up, right coach?
e. run practice sessions like a joke, not using the time to improve any players individually, or the team;
f. in one way or another caused several players to quit the team.
This has bred an undisciplined team of explosive potential which was never realized. It sure was a shame.
One has only to watch James for a short time to realize what he could have done. Surely playing for Harrison has hurt his chances to make a pro team, as well as those of Floyd and Marshall. If Harrison stays, he will undoubtedly have the same effect on Tony Jenkins, Jim Fitzsimmons and Kenny Wolfe. Certainly, as long as Bob Harrison is coach, no senior in high school who feels he can play professionally and would like an Ivy education is going to consider Harvard.
I am not recommending that Harvard become the UCLA of the East and recruit basketball players. But surely there is no reason to make a championship an impossibility from the start.
It is my opinion that Harvard should pay the last year of Bob Harrison's contract, and find someone who can make the best of the talent he has; and there surely is plenty left for next year.