WATCH THE CHIEFTAINS
"Watch the Chieftains! Watch our smoke!" is the slogan that Coach Al Brightman has adopted as he whipped the 1951-'52 version of the Seattle University Chieftain basketball machine into condition.
Brightman has reason to be optimistic for he has practically the same crew back on deck that paced the Chiefs to a sizzling collegiate basketball record last season — 32 wins in 37 starts and second place in the National Catholic Invitational Tournament.
But Brightman will need the help of all hands if the Chiefs hope to repeat their sterling performance of last season.
Athletic Director Bill Fenton has dished up a ragged 35-game slate for the Chiefs including games with Washington State College, the Universities of Idaho and San Francisco and Memphis State College.
At the season's outset, it appears that the Chiefs will be able to give their fans the same "fire department" style of play that won for them so many followers last season.
Brightman can call on a quintet of reliables for duty at forward positions — Jack Doherty, Ray Moscatel, Les Whittles, Wayne Sanford and Oscar Holden. All are lettermen with the exception of Sanford, up from last year's frosh squad.
At this writing Whittles seems assured of a starting berth with Doherty and Moscatel scrapping it out for the other post.
Whittles, incidentally, was the third highest scorer for the Chiefs last season, and averaged 10 points a game.
Bill Eiglin is back to turn in another hoped-for yeoman job at the jump position. Last season, in his first assignment as a starting center, the six-foot, four-inch Lincoln hoop star, was second highest scorer for the Chiefs. In 37 games he counted 395 points for a slightly tetter than 10-point game average.
But Brightman is already looking to the 1952-'53 campaign when Higlin will be lost via graduation. That's why Joe Pehanick is being groomed to alternate with Higlin at the center post. Pehanick, one of the tallest players in the Northwest, measures six-foot, eight-inches and has improved a lot since his debut for Seattle U. last season with the Papooses.
A transfer from Perth Amboy, N.J., Vic Petach is also on the premises in hopes of seeing some action at center. His knowledge of the Eastern style of play will help the Chiefs a lot if they get into a post-season tournament this season, -— something they could have used last year when they ran into the N.C.I.T. teams at Albany, N.Y.
When you talk about the guard positions on the Chieftain team, you automatically say "O'Brien". Or better still, make it plural, mister, because that's the case at Seattle U. The "case" being the O'Brien Twins, John and Ed, who have clinched their old berths as starting guards.
John is Seattle U's candidate for All-American honors this season. The Part One edition of the famous Twins from South Amboy, N.J., won honorable mention on many All-American team selections after his stellar performances last season, John scored 766 points in 37 games — one of the highest point-collection efforts in the nation — for a game average of 20 points. In his regular season play, Brother John averaged a deadly 55.8 per cent accuracy on field goal attempts and hit an average of three for every four trips to the free throw line. He won a berth on the Catholic All-American squad after his standout play in the Albany tourney.
But if it hadn't been for a shoulder separation suffered in early season play, the experts might have had a tough time picking him ahead of Part Two of the duo, Brother Ed.
Ed was fourth highest scorer for the Chiefs on the "basis of his abbreviated 26-game stint. Counting 314 points, his average was 12 points a game. He was almost a carbon copy of his twin in field goal and free throw efforts, averaging 51 per cent on his two-point shots and hitting a vicious 72 per cent at the gift toss line.
A pair of players up from last year's Papoose quint, Jack Johansen and Ray Soo, are the reserves who'll face the task of picking up the pell-mell pace where the O'Briens leave off.
A speedy floor-manager, Soo played on the 19^9 All-City Championship hoop squad from Garfield High with Moscatel and Holden. With practically all hands "up" in the Brightman fast break style, the Chieftain picture looks even brighter than it did last season at this point, Don Ginsberg joined varsity as the season started.
But the same problem that gave the Chiefs trouble last year looms - and that comes in the height department. The O'Briens' five foot nine-inch stature will bring the Chieftains' starting lineup down to a six foot, one-inch average, no happy situation in a day of skyscraper players.
The fast-break, hence, win have to be the Chiefs answer with all hands charged with working the back-boards like trojans. The loss of two veteran players who received their degrees in June - Bob Hedequist and Elmer Speidel - won't hurt too much, since th$ Chiefs had to get along without Speidel's services for 15 games last year due to an injury. Eedequist served mainly as a relief man, so the reserve talent now on hand will compensate for his loss.
The Chiefs face two new situations this year - For one thing they will play four of their home games on the floor of the Civic Auditorium.
This is an experiment "by Fenton to quell complaints of local fans who couldn't get into the small S.U. gym to see the Chiefs last season.
The other "new" situation is the 12-day trip that will take them down South to play five California teams over the New Year holiday. Even this early, Brightman is worried about the effect of a long road trip, remembering how his men tired after their trek to New York last year.
Close analysis reveals that the Chiefs should repeat the standout record they made last season. All things taken into account, the odds are in their favor and add this:
The optimism of Coach Brightman seems to have infiltrated into the attitude of every player - something that may make Seattle University's world-beaters just that.
Our thanks to Fred Cordova and Bob Klug for their assistance in preparing this Press Book. - Ed.
Here's the Team Photo along with Coach Brightman