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Kansas Coach Roy Williams can appreciate life's little ironies. They have opened a big door in his career.

Williams got the jewel of the year's basketball coaching jobs, partly because he didn't go to work for Kansas five years ago when Larry Brown asked him. "I was offered a job, then two weeks later he hired Ed Manning," said Williams. "People have told me if I had taken the job, (Brown) would have dropped me once he found out he could get Manning." For Brown and Kansas, Manning certainly proved a beneficial addition. Manning brought along his son Danny, and the end result was last season's national championship and Brown's move to the NBA for a $3 million contract. Suppose Williams and not Manning had joined Brown's staff five years ago. Chances are neither Brown nor Williams would have lasted.

FOOTSTEP HOOPS - Sons of coaches dot the year's senior class among the country's better high school players.

Best of the offsprings is Allan Houston, a 6-5 sharpshooter from Louisville whose dad Wade is an assistant at the University of Louisville. The younger Houston is rated among everyone's Top 20 prospects.

Another coach's son headed for a solid college career is Randy Reid, a 6-1 guard from Spanish Fork, Utah. Dad Roger is an assistant at Brigham Young.

Other sons of coaches are 6-5 Scott Sutton, whose dad Eddie is boss man at Kentucky; 5-11 Mark Raveling, who is the son of Southern California coach George Raveling; and 6-5 Patrick Knight, son of Bob, the Indiana head coach.

John Havlicek, who was one of Bob Knight's college teammates at Ohio State, has a son, 6-5 Chris, who also will get a college scholarship. Like dad, Chris is tough. He broke a bone in his wrist on the first day of a Five-Star camp in Pittsburgh, but was back playing four days later.

An offspring to watch is 6-6 Grant Hill of Reston, Va. He's one of the top high school juniors. His father is former Dallas Cowboys' running back Calvin Hill.

TULANE TIES - Expect Tulane to get back in a conference when it resumes its basketball program for the 1989-90 season. The Green Wave was in the Metro prior to dropping the sport in 1985.

"We definitely want to be in a league," said new coach Perry Clark. "It helps in recruiting and scheduling. I think we could play one year as an independent but that would be all I would want."

Tulane is most likely headed back to the Metro, which has seven members. Other possibilities are the Sun Belt and the Southwest.

One reason the Southwest would be interested is because of football. Tulane has an ambitious football program, and the nine-member Southwest Conference is a football league with Arkansas and eight schools in Texas.

"In the Southwest, we would be a 10th team and we would give the league a five-five split between private schools and state schools," Clark said.

Rice, Baylor, Texas Christian and Southern Methodist are private schools in the Southwest.

THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE - The loss of guard Michael Porter isn't a severe blow to St. John's, which can use senior Matt Brust in the backcourt and insert freshman Malik Sealy in Brust's small forward spot. Porter, who transferred from junior college, is academically ineligible for next season.

Michigan State recruit Mike Peplowski, a 6-10, 270-pound center, is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from knee surgery and could be ready for his freshman year. When Peplowski was injured, it was thought he might have to sit out his first season.

There is another Olajuwon coming along, but they keep getting shorter. The latest is Afis, a 6-4 senior at Marian Christian High School in Houston. He's a fair prospect, more like brother Taju, a 6-7 forward who sat out last season at Indiana State, rather than Akeem, the 7-foot star of the Houston Rockets.