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Thursday, November 26,1981 — The Salina Journal Page 25 Cats' Nealy not flashy, just good MANHATTAN (UPI; - Ed Nealy didn't waste much time sitting around last summer after he and his Kansas State teammates returned from their two- week tour of Japan. Just a few days after the Wildcats had won six straight games and the championship of the 1981 Kirwin World Basketball Tournament, Nealy went to work for a construction firm near his suburban Kansas City home. But a few days later, just when he was getting accustomed to working in the heat and humidity of the summer months, Nealy's blue-collar job ended prematurely. "I was breaking up a concrete porch with a jackhammer," recalled Nealy, "but it slipped and smashed my toe. I sat around for seven weeks and did nothing." Nealy, who says the toe has now completely healed, wasn't sure how his off-season injury would set with coach Jack Hartman. "So I stayed away from Manhattan for awhile," he said with a laugh. Hartman's concern for his rugged, 6-7, 230-pound forward can be Justified. One of four returning starters from a team that reached the NCAA West Regional final, Nealy was the Wildcats' third-leading scorer with an ll-point average, led the Big Eight in rebounding for the second straight year (9.1 per game) and had a team-high 53 steals and 77 assists (third-best on the team). Not too bad for a guy who only four years ago was considered too small and too slow for his position to play major college basketball. Only one Ivy I-eague school, Yale, joined Hartman in courting his services. And the East wanted him for his brains more than his athletic ability. Nealy carries a 3.5 grade point average in business and is a two-time All-Big Eight academic selection and was a second-team academic AU-American last winter. While he is blessed with great strength and great hands, Nealy is considered a blue-collar worker on the basketball court, too. His willingness to work and exert himself has made him one of the nation's top re- bounders. Said North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who has coached his share of All-America forwards, after his Tar Heels defeated the Wildcats in that West Regional final, "Ed is 6-7 and plays 6-11. He has Bobby Jones and Adrian Dantley-type hands. I think he's going to be a great pro someday." All Hartman will say about his prize pupil is, "Ed is one of the country's best rebounding forwards." Nealy will likely leave Kansas State as the school's all-time leading rebounder. He has collected 803 during his first three years and needs only 87 more as a senior to pass Jack Parr as the No. 1 rebounder on the Kansas State charts. Nealy credits determination for his success at picking stray shots off the backboards. "I think I probably work harder at rebounding than most people," he said, "because I'm not that tall by major college standards. I just read the flight of the ball when it leaves a player's hands and work for position before anyone else starts to move." That formula has established Nealy as the Big Eight's all-time postseason rebounding leader with 75 and it also enabled him to grab 20 in a game last year against then defending national champion Louisville — which equaled the Cardinals' en- ' tire team total in a 64-47 loss to Kansas State. But records don't mean much to Nealy. "You think about them during the summer," he said, "but there's not enough time during the season to concentrate on them. You're more concerned with playing and winning." Nealy and his Wildcat teammates will open their 1981-82 schedule Saturday night when they entertain Northern Iowa in a 7:35 p.m. contest in Ahearn Fieldhouse. Despite Kansas State's success last year — a 24-9 overall record and 5-2 postseason mark that included a 5048 victory over then No. 2 ranked Oregon State — the Wildcats continue to be ignored nationally this preseason. "We're a little disappointed," said Nealy. "We thought the way we finished the year and our play in Japan would get us some recognition. But even if we do get ranked, we still have to play. "I really don't know why we don't get the recognition we deserve. We don't have the big-name or the flashy players but we still go out and win. I guess people think it's a fluke. We won't let it bother us, though. We Just want to go out and prove everybody wrong again." And why not? Nealy has been proving that ever since the day he stepped onto the Kansas State campus. Journal Photo K-State standout Ed Nealy Unemployed Curci has 'no regrets 1 By DAVID MOFFIT UPI Sporti Writer ATLANTA (UPI) - Fran Curci knew 12 months before he was fired that it would take a dramatic turnaround in the Kentucky football program to save his coaching Job. But Curci is only partially correct when he insisted the only reason he was on the block was, "We lost games, it's that simple." Consistent winners would have strengthened Curd's position. But, with even the governor taking pot shots at him, the support from the one person he needed most — Kentucky President Otis A. Singletary — was weakened by the numerous occasions his football players ran afoul of the law. Also, Curci did little to help his situation with his antagonistic attitude toward the media. To hear Curci tell it, those personal problems would have been ignored if the Wildcats had been big winners. Sports The Salina Journal "There are coaches who go to church every day and they get fired," said Curci. "It all goes back to winning and losing." But Curci, who remains on the payroll at nearly $50,000 a year for the next three years, says he has "no regrets. "I've had great moments," he said. "I don't want to look back. I want to find out if there really is a life after football."... Apparently the Alabama players aren't as upset about not being invited to the Sugar Bowl as their fans are. "They certainly had the right to pick Georgia," said Alabama linebacker Robbie Jones. "We both have one loss, but we also have a tie and, anyway, Georgia is the defending national champion." Alabama coach Bear Bryant insists he wasn't one of those complaining when Georgia was selected. But it was reported that Bryant made a strong effort to get the 4th-ranked Tide, which will play 6th-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl, paired against top-ranked Pitt in the hope that would give Ala- bama a shot at the national championship... As it now stands, it appears Alabama has absolutely no shot at the national title this year. Georgia's different. If 5th-ranked Nebraska beats 2nd-ranked Clemson in the Orange Bowl — a distinct possibility, the Sugar Bowl winner should have a lock. For Clemson to wind up rated the No. 1 college team, the Tigers must beat Nebraska and hope that Georgia, a team Clemson beat 13-3 by capitalizing on nine Georgia turnovers, knocks off Pitt... Speaking of bowls, word out of Knoxville is that Tennessee offered to return its bid to the Garden State Bowl after losing at Kentucky last Saturday. According to that report, bowl officials said although they would have preferred a win, they had no intention of reneging on their offer. "They wanted us so our players voted to go," Vols' coach Johnny Majors said... Moving the Georgia-Georgia Tech game from this Saturday to Dec. 5 so it could be nationally televised may have been the final blow to Herschel Walker's fading chances for winning the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman ballots are due in Dec. 1 and with Southern Cal's Marcus Allen 676 yards and seven touchdowns ahead of him after setting the single-season rushing record with a stunning 2,342- yard, 23-touchdown performance, Walker appears in a wait-til-next-year situation. The irony of it is that Walker, even before that game with Tech, has more yardage and more touchdowns than a year ago when he set the NCAA freshman rushing record and placed third in the Heisman vote — behind seniors George Rogers of South Carolina and Hugh Green of Pitt. Many feel Walker was the outstanding college football player .in America last year, b'ut being a freshman cut into his Heisman vote. This year it was Allen. Next year and the year after that, who knows? WSU stops Yugoslavs WICHITA (UPI) — The basketball coach of the Yugoslavian National Team, the defending Olympic gold medalists, is impressed with the caliber of No. 7-rated Wichita State. "I thought they (the Wichita State Shockers) were on the same level as Kentucky or Purdue," said coach Bog-' dan Tanjevic in comparing Wichita State to other teams his club has played so far on its tour of the United States. "Kentucky and Purdue have been two of the best teams we've seen. WSU has 10 to 11 good players and are so strong and play a very good defensive game." Cliff Levingston scored 21 points to lead Wichita State to a 103-82 exhibition victory over Yugoslavia Wednesday night. The 6-8 forward hit 9-of-17 from the field, 3-of-4 from the line and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. The contest was the first of the season for the Shockers, but the seventh game in eight days for the Yugoslavs, the defending Olympic gold medalists. The members of the Yugoslavian National Team, who range in age from 17 to 30, are 2-5 during a tough tour of mostly Big Ten schools. Wichita State, a Missouri Valley Conference school, opens its regular season Friday night at home against Abilene Christian. Antoine Carr chipped in 19 points and freshman Aubrey Sherrod 14 for the Shockers. Mike Jones and 7-1 freshman Greg Dreiling scored 11 apiece as Wichita State scored nearly at will against a weary Yugoslavian squad. "I was hoping we'd come out and have the right chemistry and for the most part we did," said WSU coach Gene Smithson. "We played awfully well together I thought. We showed good organization most of the time but near the end gave up the long pass too much." Sherrod canned 6-of-10 shots from the field in his collegiate debut. "He missed his first couple of shots but he didn't let that bother him," said Smithson. "He just kept doing it the same way (shooting). He's got great confidence." And Smithson said Dreiling will improve. "The second time Greg went into the game he used the body much better," Smithson said. "That's why he had a better second half (seven points). He was a little bit unsure of himself when he first went in. He did a good job on the offensive board and is an excellent shooter. When he learns to use his body better he'll really improve." Most of the offense for the visitors was supplied by 6-4 sharpshooter Drazen Dalipagic, who poured in 31. YUGOSLAVIAN NATIONALS (82) Sunara 5 3-6 13, Dalipglc 12 7-9 31, Zizic 0 1-2 I, Villon 0 0-0 0, Popovlc 4 1-29, Marie 0 2-4 2, Djuric 6 2-5 14, Vucurovic 5 2-2 12. Totals 32 18-30 82. WICHITA STATE (103) Carr 8 3-4 19, Durisic 2 0-0 4, Levingston 9 3-4 21. Jackson 1 0-0 2, Martin 4 0-0 8, Gibbs 3 1-27, Sherrod 6 2-2 14, McDaniel 3 0-0 6, Drilling 4 3-5 I1, Jones 5 1 -3 11, Phillips 0 0-0 0. Totals 45 13-20 103. Halftime — Wichita State 51, Yugoslavia 38. Fouled out — None. Total fouls — Yugoslavia 21, Wichita State 19. Technical — Yugoslavia bench. A — 10.656. Tripucka, Thomas lead Pistons past KG, 129-122 By United Press International For a guy with the flu, Kelly Tri- pucka sure put the bug on Kansas City. "I have the stomach flu or something but I think this win will help me feel a lot better," Tripucka said Wednesday night after scoring 17 points, including six in overtime, to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 129-122 victory over the Kansas City Kings. "I like to play aggressive basketball," added Tripucka, who is averaging 15 points a game this season. "But it was tough inside tonight. I wasn't getting many whistles and I felt terrible." Isiah Thomas, the 20-year-old rookie from Indiana, scored 11 of his points in the final period to keep Detroit in the game as Kansas City made a furious comeback. Tripucka capped the Pistons' successful effort with three quick baskets in the overtime session. "Both he and Kelly made rookie mistakes out there tonight but they start because they are the best we have," said Pistons' coach Scotty Robertson. "And they are going to be two of the best In the league." The Kings never led in the final period but tied Detroit six times. Guard Phil Ford tied the score at 117-117 on a 30-foot Jumper with 19 seconds left in regulation. Thomas led all scorers with 28 points, while John Long had 26. "I feel Just like Minnie Pearl - Just w proud to be here," said Robertson. "It was a great win but Cotton (Fito- limmons) outcoached me. He did a , bill of a Job down the stretch. He had I Phil Ford fresh at the end and it showed. I had to use Islah all the way, but he showed what a really great player he is." Cliff Robinson led the Kings with 24 points, including 14 in the third quarter. Reggie King added 17 and Eddie Johnson 15. Kansas City, playing its first home game since Nov. 6, fell to 39. In other NBA games, Boston whipped Golden State 122-101, Los Angeles defeated San Antonio 117-96, Phoenix downed Houston 128-114, Denver outlasted Dallas 139-133, Utah nipped San Diego 102-100, Seattle beat Portland 110-103 and Indiana topped Cleveland 108-102. Celtics 122, Warriors 101 At Boston, Larry Bird poured in a season-high 32 points and Cedric Maxwell added seven of his 12 points dur- ing a fourth-quarter burst that gave the Celtics their 10th victory in the last 11 games. Robert Parish had 20 for the Celtics and Nate Archibald 15. Joe Barry Carroll, with 26, led Golden State. Lakers 117, Spurs 96 At San Antonio, Texas, Jamaal Wilkes scored 26 points and Norm Nixon added 24 to give Los Angeles its ninth straight victory and hand San Antonio its first home loss. Spurs center Dave Conine and coach Stan Albeck were ejected from the game in the fourth quarter. Suns 128, Rockets 114 At Phoenix, Kyle Macy scored 23 points and added nine assists. Dennis Johnson and Larry Nance had 17 points each, Truck Robinson 15, Alvin Adams 14, and Dudley Bradley 11. Fambrough gets extension LAWRENCE (UPI) - Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year Don Fambrough has been given a two-year extension on his current contract, Kansas Athletic Director Bob Marcum said Wednesday. Fambrough, who guided the Jay- hawks to an 8-3 mark and berth in the 1981 Hall of Fame Bowl, had one year remaining on his current contract. The two year extension will carry through to Dec. 5,1984. The 8-3 season turned in by the Fambrough-led Jayhawks is the best mark at Kansas since 1968 and the first winning season since 1975. "I certainly appreciate the confidence shown by Bob Marcum, Chait- cellor Gene Gudig and the athletic council," said Fambrough. "I'll be forever grateful for the second chance to coach at Kansas. I think we are on the brink of something great here at the University of Kansas and I'm really glad to have the chance to be a part of it." Fambrough, a 1948 graduate of Kansas, has been associated with the university either as a coach or administrator for the past 30 years. His record as the Jayhawks' head coach is 34-41-3 overall and 16-12-1 in non-conference games. He is the first coach in Kansas history to take his team to two bowl UPI Photo IN THE AIR - Kansas City's Larry Drew (22) and Cliff Robertson watch as Detroit guard Isiah Thomas (11) reaches to gain control of a loose ball during the Pistons' 129-122 overtime win over the Kings Wednesday night.