September 19, 1980
The executioner's ax fell on four Celtic hopefuls yesterday, reducing the training-camp entourage to 17.
Cut were sixth-round draft pick Ken Evans, a guard from Norfolk State; seventh-round selection Les Henson, a guard from VPI; free-agent forward- turned-guard Greg Deane of Utah; and free-agent guard B.B. Flenory of Duquesne. Coach Bill Fitch said it was unlikely he would make any more cuts prior to Sunday's opening exhibition game with the New Jersey Nets in New Haven.
Fitch was able to smile a bit yesterday after the morning workout. He was in no mood for levity the previous day, having been displeased with practices held on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. "Not great, but better," was his assessment of the Thursday morning Hellenic College workout . . . Getting another big man (Kevin McHale) was, believe it or not, very helpful. It makes it easier to scrimmage when you have three centers. You can really match them up and make it tougher on everybody."
The coach is concerned about the fact that Dave Cowens has been unable to practice the morning after each of the two hardest scrimmages of the week . . . McHale has already made a favorable impression. "He's got tremendous reflexes," lauded Rick Robey, "and he's a very hard worker." More than one Celtic yesterday discovered that the rookie can block some shots, mainly because he can do the one thing most people can't. Though righthanded, McHale instinctively goes after shots of righthanded players with his left hand . . . The most interesting McHale revelation, however, is that he is far from the 6 feet 11 he has been advertised to be throughout his career. He's barely taller than Larry Bird, which makes him somewhere between 6-9 and 6-10.
The answer to the ever-popular question - "How is Ronnie Perry doing?" - is that he is hanging in there. There is hope for all the young guards - as long as Tiny Archibald stays away . . . The Sunday exhibition will be broadcast on WBZ as Johnny Most starts another season, this time with Rick Weitzman as a home-game sidekick . . . A year ago at this stage, M.L. Carr was lugging around many extra pounds. This year he is only a pound or two above his preferred playing weight of 205, and he is the same effervescent spirit he's always been . . . The Celtics will play two other exhibition games in New England - next Tuesday in Portland against the Knicks, and next Friday in Hartford against the Milwaukee Bucks . . . Framingham's Rufus Harris survived the first cut. More than one veteran has commented on his physical ability