August 28, 1980
The annual Marshfield rookie camp is now history, and nothing has changed: the Celtics still have a "Guard Wanted" sign hung outside their office door. Many backcourt hopefuls grunted and groaned in an attempt to attract the attention of the Celtic brain trust during the twice-daily scrimmages held at Camp Milbrook (afternoons) and Marshfield High (evenings), but few of them altered any pulse rates. When the dust had cleared, the best prospect was 6- foot-3 Wayne Kreklow, the Drake product who came close to making last year's Celtic team.
Kreklow will therefore be one of a half-dozen or so prospects coach Bill Fitch will bring in a few days earlier than the Friday, Sept. 12, opening of the official Celtic camp at Hellenic College in Brookline. Among the other candidates for the next phase of Celtic preparation are 6-3 guard Don Newman, 6-3 guard Kevin Hamilton, 6-3 guard Ken Evans, 6-6 forward Greg Deane and 6-7 forward Arnette Hallman, who, as the team's second- round draft choice, was the highest ranking of the young players to attend the rookie camp.
Kreklow spent last season with the Maine Lumberjacks of the Continental League, an experience he would rather forget. "I thought about the Celtics many times during the big year they had," Kreklow admits. "I just had to try again." The hard-working backcourtman is a very good outside shooter with average speed. Fitch definitely likes him, and it would require very little imagination to envision him as one of the 11 players in uniform when the season commences Oct. 10 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
At the moment, the Celtics have but two guards under contract. Chris Ford and Gerald Henderson are the only certain returnees. "Tiny (Archibald) and Pete (Maravich) come under the heading of management," explains Fitch. Both veteran guards are free agents. The Archibald negotiations were supposed to be nearing completion several weeks ago, while the Maravich situation is a lot less likely to be settled. The betting is that the former will be back - he is said to have no other viable options - and the latter won't. With the Celtics so overloaded up front (with or without Kevin McHale), M.L. Carr will acquire a new backcourt address.
Perhaps the best player to emerge from the rookie camp was Deane, an intelligent Utah grad who played in seven games for the Jazz last season. However, the Celtics really don't have much need for his services. Mr. Hallman came as advertised, which is to say that while he has a tremendous body that lends itself both to running and banging, he is very limited offensively. There may indeed be a place in the NBA for him, but it's difficult to imagine that place being Boston.
Very little transpired at the Marshfield camp to suggest that Ronnie Perry can't make the team, providing he can somehow make a baseball-to-basketball adjustment in a little over a week's time. He will, at the very least, be competitive with the rookie/free-agent competition.
As always, there was a player in camp who went beyond all expectations, who proved that he belonged in the company, even if he would never be able to make the NBA. This year's Overachiever Award goes to 10th-round draft pick John Nolan, a guard from Providence College. "He's done well," Fitch concurred. "I won't say he'll be one of the players invited back, but he certainly acquitted himself well."
At any rate, a job is there for a guard, whether it's Kreklow, Perry, or somebody off the waiver wire.