Frank McLaughlin's philosophy of basketball matches his proselytizing spirit off the court. Harvard's new head coach is trying to convert as many people as possible to his creed of bornagain Harvard basketball while at the same time converting his players to a fastbreaking, end-to-end brand of hoop.
It does take somewhat of a visionary to imagine the IAB overflowing at the portals with frenzied fans but McLaughlin believes the enthusiasm of his team will rub off on the student body. "It starts with our attitude," he says, "then its up to the students. We're not going to win every night but we'll play 100 per cent. Harvard wants to win just as bad as Princeton. We have to prove to other people that the students are supporting us. If you have the students supporting you in your own place anything can happen."
McLaughlin's sublime view of the future partly rests on how his team will fare in the annual Ivy Sweepstakes and over the course of an arduous schedule that includes games with top twenty teams Holy Cross and Detroit. The cagers open the season tomorrow night against a UMass five that could be the cream of New England.
At the end of last season the Crimson were expected to field what might have proved the best frontline in the Ivies with 6-ft. 9-in. pivotman Brian Banks flanked by co-captain Steve Irion and 6-ft. 10-in. Joe Beaulieu.
Irion, who was last year's leader in both the scoring and rebounding departments, underwent knee surgery last spring and is sidelined for the season. Beaulieu transferred to Boston College, leaving Banks as the springboard for this year's offensive attack. Banks was Harvard's leading scorer as a junior two years ago before he decided to take a year's leave.
Another returnee from a year's hiatus is senior pointman Glenn Fine. A deft ballhandler and penetrating guard, Find is expected to quarterback the Crimson fastbreak.
Fine's backcourt mate is sure-shooting Rich Bengal. Bengal will be spelled by sophomores Mike Stenhouse and Bobby Allen. The forwards are co-captain Gary Ackerman, a trenchman under the boards, 6-ft. 6-in. Cyrus Booker, and swingmen Mark Hadley and Bob Hooft. Hooft was the Crimson's second leading scorer last year, averaging 10.3 points a game.
When McLaughlin unveils his rejuvenated hoopsters tomorrow night he may prove justified when he says "nobody's taking Harvard basketball for granted anymore. That's why we need the students. When somebody comes in here they have to know they've been at Harvard."
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