Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talking John Wooden

There are several John Wooden books out there these days and I am reading one of them: “Coach Wooden by Pat Williams.”

Wooden, the famed UCLA basketball coach, died last summer. He put together coaching numbers unlike anyone in the collegiate game. Wooden’s teams grabbed 10 national titles (seven straight) and won 88 consecutive games. It is safe to say that nobody ever will touch that basketball resume.

I was just a kid when UCLA kept winning and winning and winning. I found myself cheering against UCLA (for the underdog) during its magical ride. My feelings were similar to fans that root against the New York Yankees or Duke Blue Devils today.

Comparisons are but useless and unavoidable, but I wonder how Wooden-coach teams would fair in the present college basketball climate. Wooden preached team, excellence and bank shots (there was no dunking during his era). The current basketball culture begs individuality and the head-shaking dunk shot.

As I became older, I began to appreciate Coach Wooden for his abilities and talents outside the basketball area. As the book I am reading states, Wooden’ father made a huge impact on his life.

By the way, I think Wooden would do just fine in today’s college basketball. He would find his type of player no matter what and mold the group into a T-E-A-M.

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