BACK TO BASKETBALL
First it was sexy Cheryl Tiegs on SI's cover (Feb. 14); now, seven days later, it's an ordained Pentecostal minister, NBA rookie Terry Cummings of the San Diego Clippers. What a difference a week makes!
Bruce Newman's article (At the Head of His Class, Feb. 21) was excellent. As a fan of both DePaul and Ohio State, I was disturbed when Terry Cummings and Clark Kellogg abandoned their respective colleges to enter the NBA. I understand their reasons, though, and wish them luck in their NBA careers.
As Newman said, Cummings, Kellogg and James Worthy are the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year, as they well should be. What I don't understand is why Cummings and Clark weren't considered All-Star material, especially if, as your article said, they were among only four players—the other two being Moses Malone and Larry Bird—averaging at least 20 points a game while grabbing 10 rebounds. This article finally gives these super-rookies the attention they deserve.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened my mailbox and found Terry Cummings of San Diego dubbed Rookie of the Year on your cover. Then I read the article and was appalled that Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins was barely mentioned. I don't mean to denigrate Cummings, but he hasn't led his team anywhere. As of Feb. 27, the Clippers had a record of 20-38, while the Hawks, with Wilkins, were 28-29. Atlanta was only 10 games out of first place in its division, compared to San Diego's 21� in its. Cummings as Rookie of the Year? Sheeeeesh!
Curry Kirkpatrick's article They're SEC-ond to None (Feb. 21) on the Southeastern Conference and its basketball parity was interesting. It's amazing to see a group of teams trading positions from top to bottom, week after week. However, I couldn't help noticing the comment by Georgia Coach Hugh Durham that North Carolina "took the week off" when it played The Citadel and Furman on one weekend in the middle of the conference schedule. This remark seemed unfair coming from a man whose team took the month of December off, playing the likes of Randolph-Macon, Georgia State, Central Wesleyan and Augusta. Compared to that, Carolina's schedule is awesome.
Broken Arrow, Okla.
Your article praising SEC basketball was right on the mark. The conference has been strong from top to bottom for several years. However, asserting that "the middle-rung schools would blow out the third-or fourth-place teams from anywhere else" is absurd. I doubt if they could blow out Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, the third-through sixth-place teams in the Big Ten after last weekend. Iowa has lost seven Big Ten games, yet has beaten Indiana twice. After a down time last season, the Big Ten has returned to power. While the SEC has an impressive 81-18 record in non-conference games, the Big Ten is even better at 85-18.
DA NEW BROONS
Congratulations on finally noticing the best team in hockey (The Doggone Bruins May Go All the Way, Feb. 14). Although Jack Falla wrote an engaging article on Boston's Pete Peeters & Co., he didn't place enough emphasis on the value of Rick Middleton, perhaps the most complete and most underrated hockey player since Jacques Lemaire. Of course, the emergence of such stars as Peeters, Barry Pederson and Keith and Bruce Crowder has helped Da Broons attain their lofty status, but Middleton's extraordinary play has been "the straw that stirred the drink," as Reggie Jackson might say. If Middleton is not the best two-way performer in hockey today, then Gordie Howe must still be playing somewhere!
Jack Falla's piece on the Bruins was excellent. His hockey writing is a welcome addition to SI. One correction, however: The Bruins' team record for most shutouts by a goaltender is held by Hal Winkler, not Terry Sawchuk. Winkler had 15 shutouts for the Bruins during the 1927-28 season.
In addition, Hall of Fame Goalie Frank Brimsek had 10 shutouts for the Bruins in 1938-39, and fellow Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson had 10 in 1935-36, 11 in 1932-33, nine in 1931-32 and 12 in 1928-29.
Pete Peeters' performance—seven shutouts so far this season—may indeed place him in the company of such hallowed goalies someday.
CHARLES M. PYLE III