Towson to depend on balanced scoring Boyd, Waller asked to fill gap left by Lee

November 08, 1990|By Kent Baker

While the athletic department has been preoccupied with STF (Save Towson Football), basketball coach Terry Truax and his team have been adjusting to LWL (Life Without Lee).

Kurk Lee, the two-time East Coast Conference Player of the Year, is doing his thing with the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets this season, and Towson State's Tigers won't be the same without him.

The stop-and-pop three-pointers on the fast break, the drives past slower defenders, the quick hands that resulted in steals and disrupted opposing offenses, all Lee trademarks, are gone.

"He was exciting and an adventure," said Truax. "I'm going to miss that element of practice. Kurk was always capable of getting the big basket and forcing other teams to play extended defense.

"But all of a sudden we don't have him. Obviously, there will be better [scoring] balance. There is going to have to be."

For starters in the backcourt, the Tigers will depend on veteran point guard Devin Boyd and the team's only senior, Lewis Waller, to help pick up the scoring until the incoming new guards, including highly touted Terrance Jacobs, have absorbed the system.

And Truax believes this team, which will defend the ECC title, has "better quickness at all positions."

So, weep not for Towson, picked second or third in the seven-team league this season, with Delaware rating the favorite's role.

"I don't really look at it as losing all those points," said Waller, who inherits Lee's shooting guard spot. "We just won't have one person leading us in scoring every game. I think we can make up for it."

"There are a lot of new faces here with talent," said Boyd. "We've got a lot of speed and we'll stick with the running game. Somebody just has to step up as a scorer."

Boyd believes the fans are ready for basketball after the near-upset of No. 1-ranked Oklahoma in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament last March and the current fiscal problems surrounding the football team.

"Hopefully, we'll see more of them," he said. "I think they'll be excited because of all this going on with football. I think they just want to get in here [Towson Center]."

Waller said: "Oklahoma gave us a lot of recognition. People didn't know where Towson was before that game. Now I don't think any big teams are going to overlook us."

Despite a December schedule that includes Dayton, Maryland, Syracuse and Alabama, Boyd feels the Tigers, with their deeper bench, are better equipped to face it.

"Maybe we can win some of those big games," he said. "We always play them close, within a few points. I think we aren't

going to be willing to settle for a narrow loss this time."

But Towson must find the "go-to" player that Lee represented when the game was on the line or getting out of hand; someone who wants the ball under the most pressure.

zTC "We had a lot of plays designed for Kurk to get an open shot," said Waller, "but all the guards scored a lot off steals and the break. I think you'll see more of that."

The Tigers also lost starters Kennell Jones, Kelly Williamson and Mike Moran, but they usually went as Lee's scoring went.

"Last year everybody got pumped to play us when we had Kurk," said Boyd. "We were picked first and we lost a lot early. This time, people might sleep on us.

"But I know one thing. Kurk making the NBA makes everybody play harder. To see that somebody from Towson State can do it, that's every player's dream."

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