The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on April 19, 1981 · Page 32
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 32

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Sunday, April 19, 1981
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1 -; v , j t n'.'i l-C Saniintl Star, Sundav. April 19 1981 Tars putting full-Nelson on opponents By JIM CARFIELD nUn llw When you're a winner, starting at the top is easy. For Vicki Nelson Rollins' newest superstar becoming a winner was the tough part. Even now, the unbeaten 120-pound freshman doesn't exactly instill terror into the opposition. But this methodical, 18-year-old whiz is deceptive, right down to the tips of her wai3t-long red hair. Most redheads are characterized as being fiery, temperamental, intense and quick to display those characteristics. Not Nelson. During a match, they're only evident in the competitive fire fueling her game. Outwardly, she exhibits the same poker-faced, baseline style made famous by Chris Evert Lloyd. Instead of displaying those trademarks of temperament and flamboyance, the 5-foot-6 Rollins freshman simply blends them with persistence and quiet determination. That has become the winning formula behind the development of an unusual tennis champion who plays like a hacker but almost never loses. Nelson comes from Wooster, Ohio, hardly one of the game's hotbeds. The town's major tennis complex is the property of the College of Wooster off limits to residents. Until she enrolled at Rollins in February, Nelson spent the past seven years commuting 60 miles daily to Mansfield, Ohio, where a friend made a practice court available and where the competition was better. At Wooster High, she rolled to 155 consecutive victories and monopolized the state championship until her senior year. Dayton's Beth Herr, beaten twice in previous showdowns, finally punctured the nation's longest prep win streak last November on a raw, rainswept day in the state finals. "She beat me in three sets, darn it," said the collegiate tyro last Sunday after stretching her new skein to 12 against Marlin Noriega, Miami's No. 1 player. On Friday, that went to 13-0 with a win against FSU. Besides her collegiate conquests, Nelson recently notched her "most important win" in qualifying for the Family Circle Cup by upsetting Holland's Marianne Van der Toore, the world's ranking junior. "If there's a way to beat you, this little girl will find it," said Norm Copeland, veteran men's coach at Rollins. "Nelson doesn't overpower opponents or impress them with classic strokes. She doesn't seem to have much of a shot arsenal, either, but she's awfully consistent. She just goes out there and wins." "Vicki is a very dedicated, strong-willed young lady," said Don Balloon, the Tar booster who convinced Nelson to turn down several other scholarship offers for Rollins. Balloon, Tangerine Bowl basketball chairman, began following Nelson's career while serving as assistant track coach at Ohio State before moving to Orlando. "She hates to lose. Determination and hard work have made her a champion." Against Miami, Nelson turned Ann Goldman, coach of the Lady Hurricanes, into a believer of sorts. "I really expected Marlin to win with her power game," said Goldman. "Nelson's biggest asset is her mental attitude. "She needs to develop a serve-and-volley game to keep going at this level of competition. She's quick and keeps the ball in play, but her form is terrible. Still, she's a winner and the sort of youngster any coach would want on her team. I'm not trying to put her down she's just not my style of player." For her part, Nelson says she doesn't punish herself to keep winning and could accept a loss if she learns from it. She also realizes part of her game is crying for improvement. "I'm working on a few things," she said. "My forehand needs to improve and so does my all-court game. I've got to move in once in a while and develop more aggressiveness. But that's the nice thing about coming to Rollins and having Ginny Mack as my coach. "She's really a good coach very patient and low key. She makes you feel at home and I'm happy to be playing for Rollins. I had some feelers from Ohio State and other bigger schools but enjoy the small college atmosphere. You get to know everybody and don't have to worry about getting lost in the crowd." Mack considers her new No. 1 player a likely successor to the departed Wendy White, who won the national title last year as a sophomore and promptly turned pro. She also hails Nelson and transfer Anna Marie Kleis (No. 2 and another February arrival) as players "dedicated to victory" and capable of turning her squad into a serious contender for the NCAA Division I crown. "Vicki gives us the stability we lacked at the top. Along with Anna Marie, she's very dedicated and competitive. They've not only won acceptance after coming in at midyear but have given the whole team a big boost in confidence. "Now, all the girls feel capable of doing things they never thought they could." With a winner like Nelson around, anything's possible. V V sK 7 ; - Rollins' Vickie Nelson is virtually unbeatable. Late bloomers Brittain, Speights came on strong in '81 By BILL BUCHALTER Aocltt Sport Editor A year ago, Mike Brittain sat on the Clearwater High sidelines, sadly watching the Tornadoes' state championship dreams disappear. A year ago, David Speights was limping around on a gimpy knee, an unknown quality on a highly disciplined, fundamentally sound, pattern-oriented, highly successful Marianna High squad. What a difference those 365 days can make. Brittain was averaging 25 points per game when he dived for a loose ball in a holiday tournament. He broke a bone and had to wear a cast until late season. It took him a month of Junior AAU play and a week of summer camp to get back into playing shape. Bu. once he returned, so did the smooth perimeter shots and the outlet passes with hands held high over his head. And, this year, there were no injuries. Just championships. The Pinelias County Conference. The district. Region. Sectional. And. most importantly, the Class AAAA state cham pionship, which for so many years and so many talented teams had escaped veteran Coach Jack Wilson. Brittain averaged 21.4 points and slightly more than 10 rebounds. He blocked 197 shots en route to the title. Speights' awesome potential hadn't been unleashed at midseason of 1980. In fact, Coach Randy Free admitted last summer that he was concerned about the speed of Speights against some of the nation's top players at the BC Camp in Milledgeville, Ga. After a week of watching Speights dominate play, Free changed his outlook. his style and his opinion. Free explained that Speights was a country kid. "He lives way back in the woods off the main road," he said, "and he's just taken a little longer to assert himself." But, when he did, Marianna became a full-court pressing, fastbreaking team that powered its way to the state AAA championship and was believed to be the best team in Florida. Brittain and Speights, for their efforts in securing state championships for their respective schools, were named Florida's players of the year on the Sentinel Star's All-Southern Basketball Team. They join Daytona Beach Seabreeze's Rodney Williams, Lakeland Kathleen's George Almones, Riviera Beach Suncoast's Richard Relliford and Tampa Robinson's Charles Bradley. Cross City Dixie County's Eugene McDowell generally acknowledged as the state's premier college prospect was given a special berth since he missed several weeks of the season with an injured foot and played sparingly in several other games. Almones and Relliford are juniors and also superior football prospects for next year. Wood, Lamp ruled 77 squad .1. r , J ' J. if 4 It A 4-1 yn ir Clearwater's 7-footer, Mike Brittain. Dozen By BILL BUCHALTER Associate Sports Editor Four years ago. Al Wood's smooth shooting was providing string music to the tune of 28 points per game for Jones County High in Gray, Ga. That same year, Jeff Lamp broke Ballard High records with 41 and 42 points and averaged 24.3 points for the Louisville, Ky., power. It was 1977. Orlando Woolridge, a little-known nephew of NBA star Willis Reed, was emerging at Mansfield, La. Ethan Martin was a slick point guard for Baton Rouge (La.) M- Kinley, Edmund Sherod was doing his thing for Richmond (Va.) John Marshall High and El-ston Turner was a methodical shooter for Knoxville (Tenn.) Austin-Fast. Norman Ar.chrum was player-of-the-year in talent-rich Birmingham, Ala., Gilberto Salinas was being highly recruited out of San Antonio, Tex., and Freddie Cowan was showing his potential for Union County High in Morganfieid, Ky. U.S. Reed was making sensational, off-balance shots for Pine Biuff, Ark., Lee Raker was complementing Lamp at Ballard and Mike Sanders was just a rising junior at DeRidder, La. All of these guys played in the 1981 NCAA basketball tournament. And all were members of that '77 Sentinel Star All-Southern Basketball Team. From 1-C 20 points, a dozen rebounds and nearly 10 blocked shots per game for Huntsville (Ala.) Butler. Manual Forrest departed from Louisville (Ky.) Moore as the highest scorer in the city's impressive basketball history. He brings to the University of Louisville a 33.1 scoring average. The 6-7 Forrest is the first Louisville player to score more than 3,000 career points, and this is the city that brought you Wes Un-seld and Darrell Griffith, among others. Noel Gilliard, also 6-7, had amazing stats, averaging 27.5 points and 24.6 rebounds for Charleston (S C.) Burke High School. David Speights was perhaps Florida's most improved player from junior to semor season. The 6-614 leaper dominated play in leading Marianna to the CI ass AAA state championship, with an 18.5 scoring and 11.5 rebounding average. He also was the dominant figure in competition for berths on Team Florida's national AAU squad. Larry Davis, a 6-6, three-year All-Texas standout, averaged over 20 points per game for Lufkin. James Williams of Magee was selected Mississippi's outstanding player. The 6-514 forward will bring a 25.4-point and 14-rebound averages to the University of Southern Mississippi. Jordan and fellow 6-5 North Carolina guard Buzz Peterson of Asheville will carry impressive stats to the University of North Carolina next year. Jordan averaged 27.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6 assists per game, while Peterson's sheet showed 24.6 points. Lee Garber was the main reason Kingsport (Tenn.) Dobbyns-Bennett compiled a 36 1 record. The 6-5 swingman will bring an 18-point average to Wake Forest. Griffin High's Joe Ward was Georgia's big school player of the year, scoring nearly 25 points per game. The 6-5 forward was the slam dunk champion at the prestigious BC Camp in Milledgeville, Ga last summer and will be at Clemson next fall. Anders may be the smallest in size, but not in point production. His 29.2 scoring average and 11 rebounds earned him player-of-the-year honors. All-South honorable mention ALABAMA Gerald Crosby Birmingham Parker, 6-2, Sr; Vernia Strickland, Gadsden Emma Samsen, 6-5, Sr; Alphonso Johnson, Birmingham Hayes, 6-6. Jr: Charles Barkley, Leeds, 6-6, Sr; Myron Hughes, Colbert Leighton County, 6-7. Sr; (Note; Ennis Whatley. Birmingham Phillips, 6-3. Sr , earns special spot after missing much ot year with mury), ARKANSAS Willie Cutis, Bryant, 6-2. Jr; Aaron Price West Memphis, 6-5, Sr; Jetf Brown, Little Rock Hall, 6-6. Sr; Jim Deine. Spring-dale, 6-9, Sr FLORIDA Rodney Williams, Daytona Beach Seabreeze. 6-7, Sr; Charles Bradley. Tampa Robinson. 6-5, Sr; Richard Relliford. Riviera Beach Suncoast, 6-5, Jr; George Almones. Lakeland Kathleen, 6-4, jr (Note: Eugene McDowell, Cross City Dixie County, 6-8';. Sr , earns special spot after missing much of year with injury ) GEORGIA Malcolm Thomas, Milledgeville Baldwin Co. 6-6 Sr; Richard Cohren, Albany Daughtry, 6-7 Sr; Carl Turner, Waynesboro, 6- 3 Sr; Kenneth Walker, Crawford Co 6-7 Jr; Jeff Putman, Tho-masville, 6-1, Sr. KENTUCKY Chip Watkins. Louisville Doss, 6-7, Sr; Todd May. Virgie 6- 8. Jr; Robbie Valentine. Radclifte North H,din, 6-5, Jr; Phil Cox. Harlan Cawood, 5-11, Sr; Troy McKinley, Independence Simon Kenton, 6-5, Sr LOUISIANA Derrick Taylor, Baton Rouge Redemptorist, 6-0 Sr; Joe Du- mart, Natitoches, 6-3, Sr; Orexal Allen, Baton Rogue McKin ley. 5-11. Sr; Willie Bland, New Orleans McDonough, 6-4, Sr; Karl Malone. Summerfield, 6-7, Sr. MISSISSIPPI Kenneth Gambrell. Jackson Jim Hill, 6-7, Sr; Jeff Norwood. Tupelo, 6-2. Sr; Ricky Shorts. Jackson Murrah, 6-7, Jr; Terry Catledge. Houston, 6-6. Sr; Mark Coleman. Jackson Forest Hill. 6-2. Sr NORTH CAROLINA Lynwood Robinson. Dudley Southern Wayne 6-1, Sr, Edward Farmer. Wilson Beddmgfield. 6-7'j, Sr; Curtit Hunter, Southern Durham, 6-4, Jr; Cedric Cokely, Greensboro Gnms-ley, 6-7, Sr. SOUTH CAROLINA Harold Martin, Lower Richland, 6-4, Sr; Xavier McOaniel, Columbia A C. Flora. 6-7 Sr; Cozell McQueen, Bennettsville, 6-11, Sr Greg Mack, Orangeburg Wilkinson, 6-4. Sr; Charles Rogers, Pickens, 6-8, Jr. TENNESSEE Jerald Hyatt, Knoxville Austin-East, 6-3. Sr; George Buckner, Knoxville Austin-East. 6-7, Sr; Eric Laird, Memphis East, 6-4, Sr; Darrell Brown, Bolton, 6-2, Sr; David Smith, Nashville Pearl, 5-10, Sr. TEXAS Steffond Johnson. Longview, 6-6, Sr; Carlton Cooper, Paris, 6-4, Sr: Jack Worthington, Spring, 6-2, Sr; Willie Ashley, Fort Worth Dunbar, 6-5, Sr; Andre Ross, Houston Milby, 6-8, Sr. VIRGINIA Jeff Adkins. Martinsville. 6-5, Sr; Rolando Lamb, Portsmouth Craddock, 6-1, Sr; Chuck Kepley Roanoke Patrick Henry, 6-4, Sr; Calvin Duncan. Mouth of WiisoaOak Hill Academy 6-3, Sr; Carlos Yates, Flint Hill. 6-5, Sr Lamp and Wood led Virginia and North Carolina, respectively, to the Final Four this year. Woolridge was the really big man for Notre Dame, backed up by Salinas. Martin, of course, was LSU's super ball-handler and defender. Sherod was the major reason Virginia Commonwealth won two consecutive Sun Belt Conference tournaments. Turner's clutch play helped Ole Miss upset everybody to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Anchrum was a standout in Alabama-Birmingham's shocking NCAA upset of Kentucky and Cowan. Reed made the half-court shot for Arkansas that stunned Louisville. Raker was still complementing Lamp at Virginia, and Sanders was the top inside player for UCLA. INVESTMENTS in GOLD and SILVER EUR-AM COIN MART, INC. 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