C H A NET
PORTS I 6
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11; -l«iH
Arm of Court
BY JERRY WIZIG
Unlike the Venus de Milo, Don Cnaney owes a lot to his arms.
So does the University of Houston's basketball team, high-rolling
along on a 16-game winning streak.
Chaney, the Cougars' 6-5 backcourt gem, is piling up more
steals and more assists than ever as UH travels td its Jan. 20
shootout with UCLA. First, however, there is the matter of a
Saturday afternoon date with West Texas State at Delmar Field-
house, scheduled for regional television
Since his freshman year, Don
has been called "Duck" (for
Donald Duck, Walt Disney's
character), and he has the
wing-span to match. His outstretched arms covered 82
inches from finger tip to finger
tip when he was a sophomore
and some UH opponents will
certify they've grown since
Chaney so far has logged 53
assists (compared to his season total of 79 as a junior).
Statistics aren't kept on steals
l but "Duck" probably averages
four to six per game..
His shooting also has steadily
| improved, from 44 per cent accuracy last year to a current
48.4. And that's one department Coach Guy Lewis doesn't
> hesitate to discuss, even although he declines comment on
UCLA until after Saturday's
Lewis "agrees, "very definitely, Don's shooting has been
more consistent, mainly because he's taking good shots.
He's learned to come down the
floor and look over the defense
for the open man rather than
pass off or shoot on the run."
"I'm sure he must be getting
more steals," Lewis adds.
"People still dribble up close
to him because they don't realize- his reach and he keeps
taking the ball away. Even
when he doesn't steal it clean,
he'll tip it to somebody else a
lot of times." i
Like most high school players, Chaney concentrated on
scoring rather than defense at
Baton Rouge McKinley. Then
after entering UH with Elvin
Hayes, he noticed something.
"During my freshmen year,"
he said, "my hands seemed to
get quicker. That's when I began working at stealing the
ball. I started thinking more
Since then, Chaney has refined the technique to an art,
and Lewis calls him "the key
to our press." After last year's
victory over Kansas in the
NCAA Mid-West Regional (on
the Jayhawks' home court), All
America Jo Jo White called
Chaney the best backcourt man
he'd see all year. "He's a really
great guard," White said.
At 215 pounds Chaney is
strong enough to Join the infighting on the backboards (he's
averaging 6.4 rebounds besides
his 13.1 points), and he can
muscle in baskets on rebound
"I concentrate on the ball'
going down to the floor," Chaney describes the basics of becoming a thief in short pants.
"Last year I used to just
charge for the ball, and I was
drawing fouls. Now I wait until
I see the ball heading to the
floor on the dribble.
"Or I'll get down low and
let the man with the ball get
close within my reach. Some
guys get careless and don't protect the ball with their body
so that you can just reach out
and slap it away J
Chaney affirms, "I owe a lot
to my arms."
Instead of the scoring
column, Lewis glances at the
column labeled "Assists" to
conclude, "I know we're playing much better than we were
at this time last year. B*t I
don't feel we have as mifch
raw talent in depth, from one
through 11 men."
The most encouraging aspect
to Lewis, is, "We're looking for
the open man as evidenced by
the number of assists (318 compared to 500 for all of ,1 a s t
"That's the reason we're
playing smoother—because everybody is passing the ball.
Any time your center ge(s seven assists in one game (as Ken
Spain did in the 118-81 win over
Centenary last week), that
means .you're working together.
"No one on this team is
hungry for points. Elvin
(Hayes) is scoring a lot but
he's also passing the ball.
They're team conscious, that's
what I'm trying to say."