Archive for Friday, December 9, 1994

T HIT FROSH GUARD

December 9, 1994

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Colin Bryan McGrath, better known as C.B. McGrath, figured he'd have a serious case of stage fright his freshman season at Allen Fieldhouse.

"I thought I'd be running around with my head cut off. I'm a lot more calm than I thought I'd be," said McGrath, KU's 5-foot-11 freshman backup point guard, who one year ago, was just starting his senior season at Topeka West.

Maybe because he's been a KU basketball fan for some time, now, Allen Fieldhouse hasn't been intimidating for him.

"I thought I'd be nervous stepping on that court for the first time. I wasn't. The crowd doesn't bother me. Being on TV doesn't bother me, because it's just basketball," McGrath said.

Nerves haven't been a factor. His first shot in a Kansas uniform served as proof of that. He accepted a pass from a teammate and went in for a layup in the first half of KU's exhibition win over Australia's Victorian all-stars.

Just like in high school, he went up strong and didn't forget to hustle back on defense.

"That was an easy one to get down," McGrath said. "It came naturally. I was surprised by that."

In real games, he's yet to put up a shot, but has hit one free throw.

KU coach Roy Williams, who hasn't been afraid to throw McGrath in the mix, effectively calmed McGrath by awarding him a scholarship last summer. Originally the plan was for him to walk-on and net a scholarship after first semester.

"It was a week and a half before school started," McGrath said. "Coach saw I was working hard trying to improve my game, scholarship or not. It made me feel more a part of the team. It felt good because I had a lot of people pulling for me."

To Williams, awarding McGrath was a no-brainer.

"I think there are some characteristics there called heart. All the cliches you can't measure, I think C.B. has those," Williams said.

"He is pretty doggone athletic. If you have all an sports contest with our club, tennis, golf, running and swimming, he'd by far be the winner."

That might be the case, McGrath admits.

"We've talked about different things (sports) and I always say, 'I can do that,''' McGrath said, grinning.

He believes he can contribute. That's because he's somewhat held his own going up against Jacque Vaughn and ex-Jayhawk guard Adonis Jordan at practice.

"I love playing against them in practice. It's making me so much better," McGrath said. "Adonis is so much quicker. Constantly he's coming at me."

Yet he's not stealing the ball.

"Never when I'm dribbling," McGrath said. "But sometimes if I make a lazy pass or if I get trapped. In high school, you could get away with a lazy pass. There was never anybody that quick."

How quick he's able to contribute is anybody's guess. "I just want to be a good backup for Jacque, rest him when he's tired," McGrath said. "I want to help the team and have coach's confidence he can put me in the game."

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