6 The Daily Tar Heel Monday, December b, 1977
Wood's effort helps
Heels splinter Pack
By LEE PACE
Assistant Sports Editor
G REENSBORO Asa veteran participant in and observer of the
basketball wars waged on the playgrounds of New York and other
eastern metropolitan areas, Eddie Fogler understandably was a bit
skeptical when he heard there was a youngster in Gray, Ga,, whose
talents could equal those of the big city kids.
"What is an Al Wood and where is a Gray, Ga.?" he must have
wondered one day in the spring of 1976 as he ventured into a state
where basketball is merely an interlude between the fall Southeastern
Conference football season and the spring off-season practice.
But it didn't take long for Fogler to realize that that was no crank
call from the high school coach saying he had a good basketball
player who was interested in North Carolina.
"He was only a junior, so I couldn't talk to him, but I could watch
him," said the Tar Heel assistant coach. "So I spent an hour or so
watching him work out one day, and 1 could hardly believe my eyes
that anyone in Gray, Ga., could play that well. What impressed me so
much was that he was the hardest worker on the court, and he could
really shot well."
But all that talent was worthless unless Al Wood could fit into
Dean Smith's mold of having team-oriented players who could play
both ends of the court and behave themselves off the court. So he
asked several people around Jones County High School about Al
Wood, the person. Once again he was amazed.
"1 talked to the janitors, the history teacher, the principal. 1
couldn't believe what they were telling me about him. All of them told
me he's a super kid. The principal told me that Al Wood was welcome
to come stay in his house anytime he wanted he's that kind of kid,"
So all that was left was to sign him. But Wood wasn't completely
sold on Carolina. Auburn was high on his list, and the War Eagles
even were saying publicly last spring that Wood was signed, sealed
But eventually Wood opted for the rolling Piedmont of North
Carolina instead of the plains of Alabama. And the Tar Heels are
happy he did, after the slender freshman's performance in the Big
Four Tournament this weekend.
Wood scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in the Tar
Heels' opening win over Duke and hit five of six field goals, two
pressure free throws late in the game and added five more rebounds
in the finals victory Saturday over N.C. State.
He was perfect all weekend on medium-range jumpers and shot
with a form smooth enough to impress Walter Davis. He
demonstrated he could take the ball to the basket as well as many
veterans when he stepped around State's Tiny Pinder, drove to the
baseline and banked the ball from under the basket amid a horde of
baffled Wolfpack defenders.
"I'm pretty pleased with my play tonight," Wood said as he relaxed
w ith a sandwich and a Coke in the jubilant Carolina dressing room
after the Heels captured their first Big Four title since 1971 with an
"There's always room for improvement, but as long as we win I'm
satisfied. State played a heckuva game, but we played well too. I had
a couple of silly fouls, like reaching in. I need to improve that."
Two of his four fouls were under the offensive boards, which
Fogler said is the best foul in basketball. "If you go to the offensive
boards hard all the time you're going to commit some fouls. Those
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Tar Heel freshman Al Wood is about ready to pull up for a
jumper trom tne lane in the second half of UNC s 87-82 win
over N.C. State Saturday in the Big Four Tournament finals in
Greensboro. Defending against Wood, who scored 12 points,
is State's Hawkeye Whitney. Staff photo by Allen Jernigan.
kinds don't bother us. That's the best foul to commit. So his fouls
were good ones."
Wood said the biggest problem he's had this season is learning the
myriad of defensive schemes the Tar Heels use.."In high school you
don't have that many plays and defenses like we do here. 1 didn't
expect all of this. But 1 think I'm improving. I'm learning. 1 pick up"
stuff pretty well."
Fogler has noticed his improvement. "His progress has been
tremendous. At Carolina it's not so much ability as it is learning,
especially defensively. Here someone with a little less talent might
play ahead of someone with more talent only because he learns
quicker and knows what's going on. Al is an exceptionally good
Other Tar Heels have noted the contributions the 6-foot-6, 187
pound Wood has made. "I'm as proud as I can be of Al Wood," said
senior Tom Zaliagiris. "When 1 was a freshman I couldn't even walk
up the court."
Tar Heels win Big Four championship
Continued from page 1 .
Duke got good play from its freshmen
starters. Gene Banks and Kenny
Dcnnard, in the 97-84 consolation game
win over Wake Saturday night. They
combined for 34 points while
sophomore center Mike Gminski scored
20, and Spanarkel had 16.
Wake led by 15 in the first half of that
game, but Duke came back to within
two at the half, 45-43. The teams fought
head-to-hcad for most of the second half
until Banks and Dennard took control,
combining for 15 points in the late
minutes of the game.
"It was a great comeback for us,"
Duke coach Bill Foster said. "When we
were down by 15, 1 heard a bugle in my
head playing Taps." At halftime, I
thought we had a good chance of
Carolina last won the Big Four
Tournament in 1971, when it finished
third in the NCAA Tournament. The
Tar Heels now face the possibility of
facing Duke or State as many as three
more times this season, including a
possible meeting in the ACC
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Devils tough in early season action
GREENSBORO - Duke coach Bill
Foster jumped in the air, landed and started
stamping his feet. Then he slowly walked the
length of his'team's bench and got a drink of
water from a plastic cooler, eyeing a referee
who had whistled another charging foul on
freshman Gene Banks.
For Foster, these little heartaches are
minor, Because, before long, his team will
contend to be the best team in the Atlantic
The Blue Devils have now what could
develop into the best front line in the
conference in Banks, sophomore Mike
Gminski and freshman Kenny Dennard.
Banks was less then spectacular in his first
college appearance against tough
competition. But it's easy to see how he
received all the plaudits he did while in high
school last year. The 6-foot-7, 205 pounder
from Philadelphia has the moves and the
physical build equal to that of many seniors
in the league.
Banks learned several things during the
weekend he's likely not to forget soon. For
one, they call fouls a little differently in the
ACC than they do in Philadelphia. He was
called for several that probably would have
not been called back home. He learned also
that players are not going to jump out of his
way when he comes rumbling down the
baseline with the ball. Players in both games
were able to set up, forcing him to charge
them. He fouled out of the Carolina-Duke
game with over seven minutes to play.
By GENE UPCHURCH
"I'm still making some dumb mistakes,''
Banks said after the tournament. "There's
still a lot of pressure on'me, but the main
thing is for me to concentrate on playing
team ball." ( j
The 18-year old Gminski 'proved, lJast
season that he's a force to deal with. And
Dennard proved this weekend tratheill
become a force soon. He plays rpugh but ws
effective near the end of the Duke-Wake
consolation game in the Big Four
Tournament and had 19 points in both
Bob Bender, a guard who transfered to
Duke from Indiana, where he was a reserve
on the 1976 national champion team, is
expected to add some much-needed
backcourt strength. His ball-handling is
what the team needs now to be more potent.
Bender is ineligible to play for Duke until
Jan. 9 because he transfered.
One of the interesting calls in the game was
when Banks was called for a technical foul
on a dead-ball dunk, when a player stuffs the
ball after a whistle blows. Banks was moving
the ball on a fast break when Wake's Mark
Dale was called for a foul on him. Banks kept
running and slammed the ball through the
"Gene said he never heard the whistle,
even though the officials said the crowd was
quiet enough for him to hear it," Foster said
after the game. "He came up to me during the
timeout for Wake to shoot the free throw
and said he didn't think he'd been fouled,
Three officials were used during the Big
Four Tournament just as they will be in all
conference games this season. Reaction from
the coaches in the tournament was similar:
they all like the idea of having better
coverage on the courts. But they paid for the
better coverage: 192 fouls were whistled
during the four-game tournament.
"I think it will be a help," State coach
Norm Sloan said. "I like it better than two
officials so far."
"Three officials are healthy for the game,"
Dean Smith said, adding that he always has
been for three officials.
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NOW PLAYING AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE. Ill PAPERBACK.
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Now is your chance to vote for what you think axe the best albums of 1977.
WeVe nominated 30 aJbums, based on airplay, listener response, and sales
in the Triangle area. If your favorites are not on the list, write them in. Any
album released in 1977 Is eligible. Fill in the blanks below and send it to:
WQDR Listener Poll, 410 South Salisbury Street, Box 1811, Raleigh,
N.C. 27602. Be sure to include your name, age, phone, and address, because
your ballot registers you for a chance to win free albums, to be given away
all day, New Year's Eve. Plus at midnight, a lucky listener will win a
complete set of the year's best albums. !
Jackson Browne The Pretender
Doobie Brothers - Living On The Fault Line
Steely Dan - A)a
Rita Coolidge Anywhere, Anytime
Dan Fogelberg Netherlands
Brothers Johnson Looking Out For Number One
Marshall Tucker Band - Carolina Dreams
Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat
George Benson In Flight
Joni Mitchell Hejira
Led Zepplin The Song Remains The Same
Santana - Festival
Atlanta Rhythm Section - A Rock f Roll Alternative
Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
Eagles - Hotel California
Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life
Boston - Boston
Earth, Wind fif Fire Spirit
Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive
Rod Stewart A Night On The Town
Wings - Wings Over America
Crosby, Stills 9 Nash - CSN
Steve Miller Book Of Dreams
Jimmy Buffett - Changes In Lattitudes, Changes In Attitudes
James Taylor J T.
Linda Ronstadt - Simple Dreams
Kenny Loggins - Celebrate Me Home
Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees
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