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: Dumb Basketball Rules 14 Mar 16

by Tony Medley

March Madness: March Madness starts this weekend. While it is obviously a financial bonanza for the NCAA, March Madness was the death knell for a reasonable basketball season. In the old days a team could not qualify for the NCAA playoffs unless it won its conference. Then March Madness came along and the leagues discovered the ďconference tournament.Ē So teams played their entire conference schedule only to obtain a seeding in the conference tournament, rendering the entire conference season meaningless. Then they decided that they wanted 68  teams to participate in March Madness (out of 351 eligible, so almost 20% of the teams who play, qualify). The conference tournament was used by 31 of the 32 conferences solely to choose who would get one of the 32 automatic qualifications, basically nothing more than an exercise in making money. Just because you lose the conference tournament doesnít mean you wonít be picked. Now all a team has to do is win more than half its games and it stands a good chance of qualifying for March Madness! Why anybody attends any college basketball game before March Madness is beyond me, but it explains why most basketball pavilions are half empty, at least here in Los Angeles (once vaunted UCLA is now so disrespected it canít even fill half the seats in the new $125 million Pauley Pavilion).

USC Undeserving: And this brings up the sick story of basketball at the University of Southern California. Known as a football school, and for years having to play second fiddle to crosstown rival UCLA in basketball, USC built what I think is one of the best basketball arenas in the country, had an exciting young coach, and created a team that went 20 Ė 12 this year, qualifying for March Madness. Despite all this, their sparkling new arena is sparsely attended. Trojan fans donít deserve the team and arena they have.

Dumb Rule #1: Once again I come to condemn the stupidest rule in all of sport, the ďalternate possessionĒ rule in college basketball. This rule states that whenever there is what used to be a jump ball, the teams alternate taking the ball out of bounds. This is dumber than idiotic. Whenever the old jump ball situation arises, the ball should always be awarded to the defense!! Why? Because the offense has lost possession of the ball and should be penalized therefor, not rewarded half the time by retaining possession of the ball. This rule is pure unadulterated nonsense. When the defense forces a jump ball position, it should always be awarded possession.

Dumb Rule #2: Thereís another rule that is almost equally dumb. Thatís the rule that says that the team that does not control possession on the opening tip gets possession at the beginning of the second half. That is also nuts. Once again the rules makers are penalizing success. If a team wins the opening tip, why is it penalized by being denied possession at the beginning of the second half? In fact, what they should do is just have another jump ball to start the second half like they used to do. Or, if they donít like jump balls because the referees are so incompetent they canít throw the ball up correctly, then have a coin flip like they do in football and give the winner the choice of having possession at the beginning of the first half or the beginning of the second half. But if youíre going to have a jump ball at the beginning of the game, thereís no reason why you canít have a jump ball again at the beginning of the second half. Either have it to start both halves, or get rid of it all together.

Ooops: On March 3 Fox News showed a promo for the upcoming GOP debate they were televising Thursday night from Detroit. It started out describing Detroit in 1928 talking about the Detroit Tigers baseball team under a video  showing a pitcher with the number 17 on his uniform pitching to a batter. This could not have been a clip from a 1928 game because the first numbers worn by a baseball team were introduced by the New York Yankees in 1929. They gave each starting player the number that corresponded with his place in the batting order, which is why Babe Ruth was number three and Lou Gehrig was number four. The clip shown was actually a scene from the 1934 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals Dizzy Dean pitching against the Detroit Tigers.

 

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