Utah's colleges can no longer field a make-believe NBA team. The list of local players in the league fell to four this season when Danny Vranes went to Greece and Pace Mannion's bid to make four different teams in four seasons ended when he was waived by San Antonio last week. The survivors:
Danny Ainge, Boston, BYU '81 - Already in his eighth season with the Celtics, Ainge is coming off his best pro year. Selected by the coaches for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, he averaged 15.7 points. Partly because of a back injury, Ainge faded in the playoffs, averaging 11.6 points and shooting less than 39 percent from the field. While there was some talk of new Coach Jimmy Rodgers making him a sixth man, Ainge will remain a starting guard.Ainge played only about 23 minutes a game during the preseason, averaging 7.7 points.
Tom Chambers, Phoenix, Utah '81 - Chambers made history in July as the first player to jump teams as an unrestricted free agent, leaving Seattle and signing a five-year, $9 million deal with the rebuilding Suns. Chambers will start at small ward, but will play all three frontline positions.
The Suns need scoring from Chambers and played him extensively during the preseason. He averaged 21.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 31 minutes a game.
Greg Kite, L.A. Clippers, BYU '83 - The Celtics initially broke up their BYU connection by waiving Kite last season; later, they lost Fred Roberts in the expansion draft. Kite landed with the Clippers and ended up playing a total of 53 games last season, more than doubling his previous-best scoring average to 4.2 points.
He'll continue to back up center Benoit Benjamin this season, although he will occasionally play power forward.
Fred Roberts, Milwaukee, BYU '82 - Traded during his career for such things as a coach, exhibition games and all kinds of draft choices, Roberts is now with his fourth team. In the latest transaction, Miami took him in the expansion draft and sent him to the Bucks for a second-round pick.
Roberts will have a utility role for the Bucks, who like versatile players. He'll play more than usual early in the season while Larry Krystkowiak recovers from foot surgery.
- Kurt Kragthorpe