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. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Sports Medley Week of 30 October 2014

by Tony Medley

Wrong Garden, Wrong Team, but, hey, itís the same sport: ESPNís 30 for 30 presented a documentary, When the Garden was Eden, about the New York Knicks of the early Ď70s. Right at the beginning Marv Albert talks about college basketball in the Holiday Tournament and the NIT played in Madison Square Garden over unidentified films of a basketball game, clearly implying it was a game at Madison Square Garden from one of those two tournaments. The problem is that itís a film clip of the Gail Goodrich-Keith Erickson UCLA team of 1964-65. UCLA did play in a holiday tournament that year, but it was in Los Angeles at the Sports Arena and, in fact, that UCLA team never played in Madison Square Garden. Wouldnít you think that ESPN, of all stations, could find a clip from a 1960ís-70ís era game that was actually played in the Garden, not from a game played 3,000 miles away, to put in its documentary about a New York basketball team playing in the titular Garden? Oh, well, I guess the suits think that basketball is basketball, who cares whoís playing, and, anyway, who is going to look at the clip that closely to realize that the clip had about as much relevance to the subject of the show as Marilyn Monroe has to the Declaration of Independence? But, letís face it, this is sloppy, lazy, unacceptable, and robs the film of verisimilitude.

Never listen to talking heads: On ESPNís pre-Sunday game show before NFL games for week 2, the panel consisted of Coach Mike Ditka, Cris Carter, Ray Lewis, Keyshawn Johnson, and Tom Jackson. Johnson opined categorically  that the Dallas Cowboys were the worst team in football, and the entire panel agreed. Since then Dallas ran off six wins in a row to lead its Division. To its credit, ESPN brought the subject up after the 6th week and gave Johnson and the panel the opportunity to talk about it and explain. The ensuing blather did nothing to contradict the idea that none of these guys know their elbow from third base.

Dumb or Arrogant or both: Last yearís best team, Seattle, dumped its leading receiver, Golden Tate (now sparkling for Detroit), in the off season, apparently intending to rely on high-salaried wide receiver Percy Harvin, for whom they traded in March of 2013 but who was injured most of last year, for this year. Then Harvin apparently proved so poisonous in the locker room that last week he was given away to the New York Jets for a conditional sixth round draft choice, leaving Seattle without a prime receiver, which helps explain the Seahawksí dismal performance to date (for a defending Super Bowl Champion).

Bring Back the Replacement Refs: Itís not the NFL anymore; itís the NPL, National Penalty League. Hereís a comparison of major penalties last year vs. this year through week 7:

Penalty                              2013         2014

Illegal Contact                     23            67

Defensive Holding                94            172

Offensive Pass Interference  43            56

Illegal Use of Hands             23            67

Total                                 183           362

This proliferation of penalties is ruining the game. Referees should not decide the game, but their explosion of throwing flags is becoming more decisive than a good quarterback or defensive secondary. Fans pay to see guys like Aaron Rogers, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees throw passes, not a bunch of old geezers in striped shirts throw flags. Let them play!

Rules Change Recommendation: In the Detroit Lions-Atlanta Falcons game in London on October 26, there was a defensive pass interference call against the Lions on a Falconsí pass. The pass was intercepted by Detroit and on the runback of the interception Atlanta was called for a penalty. The result was that that penalty against the Falcons offset the pass interference penalty against the Lions, and the down was replayed. When there is pass interference, the ruling is that the pass is deemed completed at the spot of the foul. So, had there been no pass interference, the subsequent penalty would never have occurred. The rule should be changed so that if the subsequent penalty would not have occurred but for the prior penalty, the prior penalty should take precedence. To offset them and replay the down rewards the team committing the pass interference. Further, there is logic and precedent for this position because the rule itself says that the intercepted pass is null and void because of pass interference. If so, everything that happens subsequently, including another penalty, should be null and void, or should, at the very least, have no effect on the pass interference penalty.