Tuesday, March 27, 1979

Nobody knows whether Michigan State's Earvin (Magic) Johnson will call it a college career after two seasons or not.

Not even the Magician.

He scored 24 points, dished out five assists and, as MSU coach Jud Heathcote said when it was all over, "the Magic Man directed the show," as Michigan State won its first-ever NCAA national basketball championship — and then he couldn't tell the press one way or the other whether he'll now disappear into the pros.

He was asked three times in the postgame press conference about his future.

"Was this your last college game?"

"I don't know."

"Will you apply for a hardship ruling?"

"I still don't know."

"When will you make up your mind?"

"I don't know that either. I'm going to enjoy this for awhile."

No one questioned that he's entitled to gloat over his championship game performance — making him the landslide Outstanding Player Award winner. He was eight of 15 from the field, eight of 10 from the line, had seven rebounds and stole one pass in addition to his 24 points and five assists. He had the Magic Act going.

"I didn't feel any pressure," he maintained, although he did uncharacteristically miss a couple of layins in the early going. "We've been playing so well. I knew if we did all the things we planned to do we'd be all right. If we played hard, I thought we'd win."

Johnson gave some indication he'll continue with his junior year at Michigan State when he talked about losing his sidekick Greg Kelser to graduation.

"I know him (Kelser) so well," said Magic, "and he knows my passing so well and what I'll do. Now I got to go through the process all over with a freshman who moves into the lineup or whatever."

Teammate Jay Vincent, MSU's starter center who returns next season, said he believes Magic will continue in college. "It'd be a big surprise if he goes," said Vincent. "I've known him since we were four years old. I don't think he's going. He's always talking about what we're going to do next year."

Kelser, a senior, is definitely not coming back. After his 19-point, eight-rebound and nine-assist performance in the championship game, the 6-7 forward certainly heightened his pro potential. And the way he has teamed with Magic Johnson the past two years — capped by the swooping slam dunk that verified the victory with two seconds to play — there is some speculation an NBA club out there is ready to draft the two in a package deal.

There's got to be some kind of market for this magician and his associate.