Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps said, "I used this book as an inspiration for the biggest win of my career when we ended UCLA's all-time 88-game winning streak in 1974."

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. Click the Book to read the players telling their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information.


NFL 2010 Playoffs, Second Round

by Tony Medley

In May of 1911, Cy Young, who won the all time record 511 games in his career, pitched one of his last games for the Boston Rustlers against Philadelphia. On the mound for the Phillies was a rookie, Grover Cleveland Alexander. Since Alexander, who won in 12 innings, 1-0 (Young never won another game), went on to win 373 games in his career, to place him behind only Young and Walter Johnson in total career victories, this was one of the more magical matchups in sport history.

In the Green Bay-Arizona game Sunday, surefire first round Hall of Famer 38-year-old Kurt Warner went against young Aaron Rodgers and it was a classic, reminiscent of the Alexander-Young game 98 years ago. Anybody who thinks the Packers made a mistake in letting Brett Favre go to allow Rodgers to play is as ignorant as the two coaches (Rams and Giants) who benched Warner, one of the five best quarterbacks of all time, in favor of inferior players. Unlike the Alexander-Young matchup, the greybeard won this one in a game that wonít by forgotten by anyone who saw it.

After picking all four winners last week, hereís the lowdown on this weekendís games:

Dallas at Minnesota:

Despite what all the talking heads are saying, Minnesota should beat Dallas. Minnesota has a better quarterback than Dallas, a better running game, a better defense, and a better coach. In fact, of all the top teams, Dallas has the weakest pass defense, not a good position when going against Favre, who has Adrian Peterson, one of the best runners in the league (although, admittedly, he hasnít been playing to his reputation lately), to balance his attack.

Baltimore at Indianapolis:

Similarly, Baltimore canít measure up to Indianapolis. I donít think thereís any defense that can stop Peyton Manning and Baltimoreís offense isnít potent enough to outscore him, despite running back Ray Rice. Close games generally come down to the quarterback and there is a huge disparity in talent and experience here. Baltimoreís young Joe Flacco, whose main claim to fame is that he doesnít make many mistakes, is up against one of the all time best, a 4-time MVP, in Manning, who has had the best year of his career. The Colts could lose to Baltimore, although I doubt it. If they defense the run, flood the box, and force Flacco to pass, itís unlikely that they would lose. However, I question Indianapolisís soul. They went to the dark side when they benched all their starters in the fourth quarter and only a 5-point lead over the Jets a few weeks ago, forsaking a perfect season and thumbing their collective noses at the fans who paid good money to see what they thought would be a game both teams wanted to win. There is a metaphysical aspect to sport, and Indianapolis challenged it. You donít fool around with Mother Nature.

New York at San Diego:

That leaves two games that are better matchups. I still think the Jets have as good a team as there is in football, the best head coach in Rex Ryan, and probably the best offensive coordinator in Brian Schottenheimer. Ryan & Schottenheimer recognized the inexperience and deficiencies of rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, and have handled him perfectly, only allowing him to throw when necessary or unexpected. Against Cincinnati, with one of the best defenses in the league, he was 12 for 15, so he showed he can play under pressure. His passes were picture perfect. He will be up against a weaker defense at San Diego than Cincinnatiís. San Diego is a team that relies on offense with a terrific quarterback in David Rivers and a Hall of Fame running back in LaDanian Tomlinson, whose backup, Darren Sproles, is only 5-6 but has a higher average per carry than LT. However, the Jets not only have the best rushing offense in the league, they also have the best defense, and donít use the nickel defense, choosing instead to put pressure on the passer, which is the only way to defense the pass. If the game comes down to Rivers and a two-minute drill, the Jets will blitz him and deprive him of the time to find an open receiver, rather than sit back with a three man rush and 8 defensive backs, a tactic that rarely works. Given enough time, any quality quarterback can find an open receiver. Football games are won on the line of scrimmage and the Jets have probably the best offensive and defensive lines in the league. I picked the Jets after opening day and I havenít changed my mind.

Arizona at New Orleans:

The second is another game in which I am emotionally involved because of Arizona. Arizonaís defense went fishing in the second half against Green Bay, and New Orleans has a more rounded offense than Green Bay, with two gifted runners to go with quarterback Drew Brees, one of the best in the league. Also, New Orleans has figured out a way to use former USC Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush by throwing swing passes to him to allow him to run in an open field very effectively, rather than playing him strictly as a running back. However, Arizona decimated Green Bayís defense, the second best defense in the league. New Orleanís defense is porous, to say the least, certainly not in the league with Green Bayís. Also, New Orleansí last five games have been dismal, barely beating Washington and Atlanta by 3 points each, and losing the last three in a row. But even if New Orleans was at the top of its game, I would still pick Arizona, mainly because of the Cardinalsí brilliant coach, Ken Whisenhunt, and Warner, his outstanding cadre of receivers, even without Anquan Boldin, the complicated, hard-to-defense sets they run, and a much better running game than last year. The downside is that Warner sometimes holds the ball too long and can make costly turnovers. The upside is that heís murder to blitz because he reads defenses so quickly and can spot open receivers faster and better than any quarterback in football.

January 12, 2010

 

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