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: College Basketball’s Low State of Affairs 12 Feb 18

by Tony Medley

I was fighting the flu the last two weeks so I spent the last two Saturdays watching nothing but college basketball. I saw all the top teams in action; Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, Michigan State, and even our two local mediocre teams, USC and UCLA. I don’t know which was more painful, the flu or watching the deplorably low quality of today’s college basketball teams.

#4 ranked Duke got knocked off by a St. John’s team that had lost 11 consecutive games! Worse than the defeat was the classless way Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski talked in a postgame press conference. Instead of lauding St. John’s marvelous play, he pouted, “We did not play basketball. The first 32 minutes were not worthy of our program. We had blank faces; we didn’t talk; we were like five individuals out there. It was disgusting, really.” What was disgusting was Krzyzewski refusing to give credit to St. John’s, basically giving the message that “they won because we played so badly.” Hey, Mike, maybe you played badly because of the way St. John’s played.

What Krzyzewski said to the press is what you say to your team in private. It’s not what the coach who has won multiple national championships tells the public after his team has been upset by another team that just played better. Despite his reputation, Krzyzewski came across as just a petty, poor loser.

Then there was Virginia against Virginia Tech. Virginia is constantly ballyhooed as playing wonderful defense. After watching them defeat Syracuse in a low-scoring game, they couldn’t hold a four point lead against Virginia Tech with 30 seconds left in overtime, giving up an uncontested layup and the game winner, an offensive putback rebound by one lonely Virginia Tech player with four Wahoos under the basket.

The simple fact is that Virginia’s defensive reputation is due to the fact that they work the clock constantly which keeps the score down. While they have some good shooters, they pass up uncontested three-pointers for the sole purpose of slowing down the game and holding down the score. As far as the quality of defense goes, Pete Newell’s California teams of the 1950s actually did play exceptional, innovative defense. Virginia just plays a slowdown offense which makes it look as if they are a tough defensive team because their games are always low-scoring. They certainly didn’t show great (or even good) defense against Virginia Tech.

Then came Purdue–Michigan State, #2 v. #3. While it was a close game and while it was enjoyable to watch Purdue’s old-fashioned low post offense, neither of these teams looked like they were world class.

Villanova was even less impressive, also losing to St. John’s after St. John’s beat Duke. St. John’s record to date is 8-13, yet they beat the #4 and #1 ranked teams in the country in successive games. That gives you a taste of the low quality of today’s college basketball.

I watched almost every game the great UCLA teams played circa 1963-75 when the Bruins won 10 NCAA Championships. Even given the fact that due to the 3 point shot today’s game is different from what it was in the days of yore, none of the top ranked teams today could come within 20 points of any of those Bruin teams a half century ago. Just the thought of Virginia or Villanova or Purdue or Michigan State going up against the Bill Walton teams that won 73 games in a row (comprising the biggest part of UCLA’s all-time record of 88 wins in a row from 1971-74) or the Lew Alcindor teams that won three consecutive NCAA titles 1967-69 makes one cringe in anticipated sympathy for today’s aforementioned top teams.