Magazine article Moment

College Basketball Free-for-All

Magazine article Moment

College Basketball Free-for-All

Article excerpt

SETH DAVIS

Seth Davis, the Sports Illustrated writer and (.'HS Spurts analyst, is one of the country 's most authoritative voices on college basketball. He talks to. Moment's Josh Tapper about his new book. Wooden: A Coach's Life, an exhaustively reported biography of the late, legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. Talmudic coaching and Jew's in basketball.

John Wooden is this larger-than-life figure, not just in the history of U.S. college basketball, but in the wider world of basketball and athletic coaching, period. What makes his legacy stand out?

When Wooden died, all these stories, tributes and obituaries were written about him. It was almost as though his winning 1(1 national championships was an afterthought, because he was so highly regarded personally for his belief system, his values, everything he stood tor. He-was a guy who grew up on a small farm in Indiana without running water and electricity and basically stayed that guy through his 11H) years of life. But certainly his success on the basketball court gave his work more credibility. He won 10 national championships in a 12-year period--that will never be repeated. He-won seven titles in a row--that will never be KpeMe & He had this sort of mythical quality about him; it didn't make sense that this simple, pious man who seemed von, - measured in his temperament could win su many championships.

Did you discover anything that departs from the Wooden mythology?

The main thing is how competitive he was. Pan of the Wooden mythology, which is rooted in fact, is that he didn't talk about winning to his players. So the easy translation is that winning did not matter to him. Well, no. He loved to win. Not using "win" was pan of his approach to the job. It he could keep them focused on the day-to-day details of preparation and not have them worried about the results--that was the most likely method to lead to the win.

The book goes into detail about the various religions of players Wooden coached, as well as UCLA center Lew

Alcindor's conversion to Islam and name change to karecm Abdul-Jahhar. …

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