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UCLA's 1964 NCAA TITLE WINNING TEAM - It was the first for the university and their coach John Wooden. Wooden was most proud of this team because he felt they were too small to win. They proved him wrong - (ENLARGED Photo)

 

Walt Hazzard was a driving force in leading the UCLA Bruins to an NCAA title in 1964 and earned the MOP Award for the tournament

 

When UCLA coach John Wooden spoke… the team listened

 

Sharp Shooting Gail Goodrich was on both 1964 & 1965 NCAA title winning teams. He went on to have an NBA Hall of Fame career

 

ON THIS DAY: April 12, 1958 Bob Pettit poured in 50 points as the St. Louis Hawks, who missed the championship by a whisker a year earlier, beat the Boston Celtics 110-109 in Game 6 of the 1958 NBA Finals to dethrone the Celtics as NBA champions - (The Sporting News Archives - photo)

 

Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and Boston Celtics Larry Bird in Game two of the 1985 NBA Finals at Boston Garden Date 30 May 1985 - Steve Lipofsky www.Basketballphoto.com

 

Bill Russell is seen here in the green uniform guarding Wilt Chamberlain. They had some of the NBA's most classic battles. Russell sadly passed away Sunday at the age of 88 - (US Library of Congress image)

 

SPORTS NOTES - THE VISION of JOHN WOODEN

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

 

Now that the NCAA basketball tournament is in progress it stimulates my memory of a great man of dignity and class. What stands out is how enthusiastic Wooden was in describing that 1964 team. Wooden didn't think that the team could win the title for two reasons... - THIS DAY IN THE NBA - NBA's ALL TIME BEST PLAYERS 1st and 2nd TEAMS

 

Thursday April 4, 2024

INSIGHT in MIND

Without question interviewing former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is the greatest experience I've ever had. He was a man that I admired as a fan of the game. But more so it was the way he handled himself by being so courteous during the time I spent at his residence.

Now that the NCAA basketball tournament is in progress it stimulates my memory of a great man of dignity and class.

What was to follow was my talking to his former players of his first title winning team Walt Hazzard and Keith Erickson. What stands out is how enthusiastic Wooden was in describing that 1964 team.

Wooden didn't think that the team could win the title for two reasons. To begin with he felt they were too small with no player over 6'5". No team had at that time ever won the title being so small. The other reason was the team didn't have their own court to practice on they had to share a court with the gymnastics team.

The squad played their home game at three different arenas, The Los Angeles Sports Arena as well as the Santa Monica and Long Beach State college courts.

Despite the inconvenience as being a team without a home they went undefeated with a 26-0 record through the regular season. They won their four games in the tournament defeating # 1 Duke Michigan 96-83 to win the title. That victory topped off a perfect 30-0 season.

Hazzard was named the tournament's most outstanding player (MOP) Award. He received All-American honors for the second consecutive season, and was named the nation's Player of the Year by the Helms Athletic Foundation/USBWA. He also finished the season with 1,401 points making him the UCLA's all-time leading scorer at that time.

Hazzard went on to have a solid 11 year NBA career after being signed by the LA Lakers were he spent three seasons. His best season being after the Lakers traded him to the Seattle Sonics.

In his first season with the team in 1967-68 he averaged a career best 24 ppg.

After he retired he took up coaching. Twenty years after winning the national championship as a player he returned to UCLA as their coach in 1984.

All but two of that team returned for the second consecutive title in 1965, Gail Goodrich and Keith Erickson. The team was the first to play in the newly built Pauley Pavilion. They finished the season with two losses but more importantly they won a repeat NCAA title in 1965.

At 6'5 Erickson was the tallest player on the 64 squad. He went on the have an NBA career. Both he and Goodrich would later play for the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.

Goodrich was only 6'1" but shot the lights out of the basket. He was a true shooter. If the 3 point line was in play during his career he would have had many more points than what he had when his career came to close in 1979.

Of the three, Goodrich had the most stellar career. He was on the Lakers 1972 title winning team. He is a 5 time NBA All-Star (1969, 1972-1975). He is a member of the Basketball Hall of fame.

All of this NCAA title success came together after Wooden saw the light. The coach admitted that prior to winning his first title he came to realize that he previously was too hard on his players. When he eased up and changed his ways the teams NCAA title success followed.

But there was one thing that he held on too and that was adhering to the rules. If you don't obey you don't play.

Erickson was asked by a fan what funny moments he could recall about Wooden.

What is the funniest Coach Wooden story you have from your days at UCLA?

Ross Perkins

San Diego, CA

Dear Ross, Probably when confronted by a young, high-spirited Bill Walton, who was standing in front of, towering over and questioning the authority of Coach Wooden to tell him that the rule for the team was to have sideburns no lower than the ear. Coach said that he appreciated those that stood up for their opinions, but that he made the rules and that he was going to miss Bill that season because he sure could have helped them out, and that if he wanted to play that year he had six minutes to be on the floor with his sideburns cut... and then all they could see was the backside of Bill as he went running up to the training room to get his sideburns cut to be back in those six minutes!

When I informed Erickson that Wooden said he was the greatest athlete he ever coached, he was surprised or even shocked.

His off the cuff comment after that was Wooden repeatedly instructing the players to tie their shows properly.

The same reply came from Hazzard when I saw him in the team locker rooms and media area of a Clippers game.

His reply came after I loosened him up by telling him that our Temple University Prep School basketball team beat his Overbrook High squad. He recalled it well and laughed then said, "But that was only a scrimmage game!" You can say what you want to about today's world affairs but I am a firm believer that there are two things that bring people together and that is… SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT.

On a strange note Wooden was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960, before he coached an NCAA title team. He played professional basketball after graduating from Purdue University. His playing career included being a Helms Foundation All-America (Purdue, 1930-32); Helms Foundation Player of the Year (1932); National championship (Purdue, 1932); All-NBL First Team (1938).

Next: The 1965 title


THIS DAY IN THE NBA

April 4, 1996 Chicago beat Miami 100-92 to win its NBA record 44th consecutive home game (over two seasons) and its NBA record 37th consecutive home game at the start of a season. The Bulls lost their next game to the Hornets 98-97 on April 8, 1996, ending both streaks. Also in this game, Michael Jordan recorded four steals to become the fourth NBA player to reach 2,000 career steals.

April 4, 1996 The visiting Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic 100-98, snapping Orlando’s NBA record 51-game home winning streak against Eastern Conference opponents, dating back to April 1994.

April 4, 1997 Utah’s Karl Malone became the first NBA player to reach the 2,000-point plateau in 10 consecutive seasons in the Jazz 106-79 victory against the Grizzlies.


NBA's ALL TIME BEST PLAYERS

THE NBA's GREATEST of ALL TIME
1st Team
Position
2nd Team
Larry Bird
PF
Elgin Baylor
SF
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
C
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
SG
Step Curry
Magic Johnson
PG
Oscar Robertson
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES & Coach
C/F
C
Coach

NBA's 50 GREATEST PLAYERS of ALL TIME LIST

On October 29, 1996 In conjunction with the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the list of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History was announced. It included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy


COMMING THE KARDASHIANS RAID THE NBA

 


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