Laettner's duty: Keep Hurley from junk food

March 31, 1991|By Don Markusand Milton Kent | Don Markusand Milton Kent,Sun Staff Correspondents

INDIANAPOLIS -- Duke center Christian Laettner had more to think about than stopping Nevada-Las Vegas in last night's second semifinal game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at the Hoosier Dome.

"My job is to keep Bobby away from the junk food and out of the bathroom," Laettner said of point guard Bobby Hurley. "I know he's going to have a great game."

It was Hurley's celebrated case of the runs before last year's 103-73 championship defeat to the Runnin' Rebels in Denver that led, in part, to Duke's 103-73 demise.

In that game, you might remember, Hurley was -- uh -- eaten up by UNLV guard Anderson Hunt, who was named the Final Four's MVP. This year Hunt is hurting with a bad shoulder and Hurley is fit.

But Hurley shouldn't worry about getting sick again. Seems that the McNeil Consumer Products, makers of Imodium A-D (Anti-Diarrhea), sent the teams from Duke and UNLV some caplets for last night's game.

* Mike Maddox is the only member of this year's Kansas team to have played with the Jayhawks when they won the NCAA championship in 1988. His contribution: one foul in the upset of Oklahoma in Kansas City.

Mark Randall was redshirted that season for one pretty good reason: Danny Manning. "I was playing behind a pretty good player," said Randall, now Kansas' starting center. "There were four other guys my size, so I didn't think I'd get a lot of playing time."

Randall spent part of the year working out with the team, and part of the year sidelined after having surgery on his jaw to replace a defective bite. According to Randall, surgeons had to break his jaw in four places so that his tongue wouldn't stick out when he bit down.

Given two rings for his team's championships (Big Eight and NCAA), Randall gave them to his mother, who put them in a safety deposit box in a bank in Denver.

"I have never worn them, and I never will," he said.

* UNLV has not been criticized for conducting closed door practices and sneaking out back doors of hotels this week, as Georgetown was in Seattle seven years ago.

Nobody has suggested that the Runnin' Rebels are runnin' away from the media. Nor has coach Jerry Tarkanian been blasted for not letting his players sign autographs, which happened to Hoyas coach John Thompson after they won the title that season.

"I want them to be focused, and I want them to concentrate on basketball," said Tarkanian. "You can't do that if people are hanging around all the time asking them to sign their names."

Meanwhile, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is upset that his Blue Devils are staying out by the airport.

"I wish the players would have a chance to be downtown more in the middle of things and enjoy it," he said.

Kansas' Roy Williams is the fifth coach to take the Jayhawks to the Final Four in five different decades, succeeding Forrest "Phog" Allen, Dick Harp, Ted Owens and Larry Brown.

Arkansas is next with four different coaches, and five other schools have had three each.

In addition, this year marks the first time in Kansas' nine Final Four appearances that the Jayhawks, the Southeast Regional champions, represented a region other than the Midwest.

* Attendance figures for the 1991 tournament will likely surpass the all-time attendance mark for a tournament.

Going into last night's semifinals, 572,332 spectators had attended the 32 sessions of the tournament, and sellouts of 47,500 were expected for last night's games and tomorrow's championship match, sending the total figure over 667,000.

The previous record of 654,744, was set in 1982, when the Final Four was played in the Superdome in New Orleans.

The average attendance for each session this year, prior to last night's games, was 17,885. Last week's Midwest Regional semifinals in the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome, attracted 30,461, the largest crowd of the tournament.

* North Carolina's Rick Fox is only the second player in Atlantic Coast Conference history, following Duke's Johnny Dawkins, to notch 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 150 steals, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the line.

Going into last night's semifinal game with Kansas, Fox was shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 75 percent from the line, while posting totals of 1,690 points, 585 rebounds, 316 assists and 197 steals.

* Larry Johnson of Nevada-Las Vegas is one of 12 players to have been named consensus All-America during the same two years that they played in the Final Four.

The others were Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati 1959-60), Patrick Ewing (Georgetown 1984-85), Elvin Hayes (Houston 1967-68), Ralph Beard (Kentucky 1948-49), Tom Gola (La Salle 1954-55), Jerry Lucas (Ohio State 1961-62), Bob Kurland (Oklahoma State 1945-46), Bill Russell (San Francisco 1955-56), and Lew Alcindor (1967-68-69), Bill Walton (1972-73-74) and Keith Wilkes (1973-74), all of UCLA.

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