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. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

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

UCLA Basketball 2007-8, Early Report

by Tony Medley

I just returned from viewing UCLAís season opener against Portland State, courtesy of Kenny Washington and Jerry Norman. Although it was a wipeout, it had some interesting points about this yearís team.

Since their point guard, Collison, was out with an injury, Westbrook started at point guard. This guy clearly is not yet a point guard. Not only did he make at least five unforced turnovers, he is constantly looking for his shot. Several times on the break he just went all the way to the basket even though there were three men on him. Heís a shooting guard, maybe, but he doesnít yet have the temperament for a point guard, who should be looking to set up the offense, first, pass, second, and shoot third.

Freshman center Kevin Love is legitimate. Heís the best outlet passer UCLA has had in years, second only to the great Bill Walton  overall. He grabs rebounds and immediately gets the ball downcourt to his breaking teammates. Heís got terrific instincts for the ball, something that the great Kareem lacked, despite his sensational scoring. Jerry West once told a friend of mine in that he would think that a guy 7-1 like Kareem would get more rebounds than he got even without jumping! He also demonstrated tonight that he knows how to block the all, a la Walton and Bill Russell. Heís going to be a terrific scorer. Not only inside, but he sunk a three pointer, too, tonight. Heís got the whole game with a good attitude and wonderful instincts, something that canít be taught. The only downside I saw is that he is a flopper. He hit the court so often it ceased to have any effect.

The most surprising aspect of the game is that UCLA is actually running! Coach Howland has always been a defensive coach. The offense (called a ďmotion offenseĒ) was just something to pass the time until they got on defense. The problem is that itís a motion offense without motion. Few players move, screens arenít set; the ball is just passed around until enough time has run off the clock and then someone takes a shot. Thatís been the case for the past two years, two years that saw Howland take them to the Final Four. So maybe he doesnít need an offense. Former Rams and Redskins coach George Allen never wanted a good quarterback, saddling the Rams with the inept Roman Gabriel, and benching Sonny Jurgenson, one of the best pure passers in football history, in favor of Bill Kilmer (from UCLA). To give Allen credit, Kilmer, with his wobbly, sometimes end-over-end passes, was a winner. Allen was like Howland. He was more interested in defense and just used his offense to not make a mistake. Howland has never shown any interest in establishing a set offense.

 But Howland does have them fast breaking! And they have the talent for it, with Shipp and Collison. Even the guys playing small forward and power forward, the two guys from Africa, can run. And last yearís center, Mata, who I thought was woefully underrated last year, is a terrific backup to Love. Howland even plays them both at the same time occasionally, with a double low post offense.

The best player on the team is Josh Shipp, the shooting guard. I thought Shipp was the best player on the team last year, too, but Aflalo got all the glory. This year Shipp is healthy. He is solid, plays a basic game of basketball and has excellent instincts. If Collison is injured, Shipp should be the point guard with Westbrook just coming in as the shooting guard.

Their most pure shooter is Michael Roll, but heís out for an extended period. They also have Nikola Dragovic, who is reputed to be a deadeye, but he didnít play much this night.

UCLA has three legitimate All-American candidates in Collison, Shipp, and Love. This is by far the best UCLA team Howland has had since heís been in Westwood, but they will need Collison and Roll playing healthy to go all the way.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 11:53 PM