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November 28, 1994 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-28

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 28, 1994 - 11

Legendary coach talks about the
college game, past and present

The game of college basketball
has seen many great coaches. How-
ever, few are as legendary John
"The Wizard of Westwood"
coached for 29 years - 27 at UCLA
and two at Indiana State. With the
Bruins, he amassed 673 victories and
led UCLA to 10 national champion-
ships in 12 years, and atonepointhad
an 88-game winning streak
Along the way Wooden has
coached such college greats
as Lew Alcindor (Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill
Walton, to name a few.
Daily sports writer Chris
*Murphy spoke to Wooden,
who is the only person to be
elected to the Basketball Hall
ofFameas aplayerand coach,
aboutthe coach's experiences
in the game and how the game
has changed over the years.
Daily: How do you think
the game of college basket-
ball has changed since you
left the sidelines?
*Wooden: The greatest
changes in the game have been
the rule changes that have been
made. First, a tremendous rule
change was the abolishment
of the center jump, then came -h
the three-second rule. In re-
cent years, since Iretired from
coaching the two biggest
changes have been the time
(shot) clock and the three-
point goal.
D: Have there been any
changes that have had a nega-
tive effect on the game?
W: I see taunting a lot now,
I don't like that. And I think
they are permitting the game
to become too physical. And
that takes away from the
beauty of the game. I think
Obasketball is a game of fi-
nesse and maneuverability.
I think television has :
brought on an enormous
amountofshowmanship. Ican '-
see the showmanship for the
professionals because that is
ashow, but forintercollegiate
interscholastic, I don't like it.
D: Have you seen any change in
he players and how they play the
W: It's unbelievable how good
they are. But as the players have got-
ten better individually, it seems to me
that team play has not improved. As a
matter of fact I think it has regressed
a little bit.
The old-timers like myself seem to
think [the players] are not doing as well
fundamentally. I can't say for sure that
&strue or not, if so, it's probably because
the players put more emphasis on fancy
dunks and outside shooting
D: Now, you were able to win 10
national titles. What kind of philoso-
phy did you present to your players to
keep them winning and keep the team
on top for so long?
W: You must remember that ev-
ery individual is different and every
*eam will have its own identity. And
you have to analyze the squad that
you have and work with them accord-
My philosophy was I never men-
tioned winning. My basis was always
on improving yourself and not worry
about the other fella. Improve a little
each day and make every day your

masterpiece, and don't lose a day.

I never believed in rah-rah, or
motivating. My ways were quiet ways.
We never came charging out of the
dressing room, I wanted them to come
out quietly, get warmed up and go
play the game. My halftime talks were
constructive talks in regard to the
play and what we could do better.
There was very little emotion shown;
just businesslike.

Lewis Alcindor is the most valuable
player I ever coached. I'd say Bill
Walton might possibly have been a
better player but not as valuable. I
could go on and on, but for me to pick
one player, I couldn't do that.
D: What do you think was the
toughest team you had to face?
W: The team with the best play-
ers. That would change from year to

could go on and on.
D: How do you participate in col-
lege basketball today?
W: I have no active part. I go to all
of UCLA's home games, I'm inter-
ested in it but that's all. I'm not a TV
hound that watches all sorts of games.
I watch games that have a
particular interest to me at
times. I don't have it on all
the time and having so
many games televised dur-
ing the season you could
probably have your televi-
sion on most all the time.
That's one of the bad
things that's happened in
my opinion. You see games
every day of the week. Tele-
vision has brought about
so much missed school and
we're getting away from
the real purpose of inter-
collegiate athletics. I think
that because of the need
perhaps for income to fi-
nance all sports they are
playing more games now
and missing more school.
D: Do you have a par-
ticular memory from coach-
ing or playing that you cher-
ish most?
W: Oh, many. I was
very fortunate as a player
to make the All-American
team every year I played
and was picked as player of
the year my senior year. To
do that you have to have
great teammates and I did.
And I played under a won-
derfulcoach-there's been
no better coach than Pinky
Lambert of Purdue. With
all the championship teams
I had, certainly I have so
many memories about
games. Really I have been
so fortunate.
Let me put it this way, I
am far more proud of the
fact that I received the Big
ORMATION Ten medal for academic
work. I'm more proud of
that than being basketball player of
the year because being player of the
year or an all-american player means
you must have had good teammates
or you wouldn't receive the recogni-
tion. To be selected [the player] with
the highest grade-point-average, you
earned that. I'm proud that I was se-
lected on the GTE Academic All-
American team. I'm very proud that I
was selected as a Disney All-Time
Teacher. I'm extremely proud that
practically all my players graduated.
Things like that are more important to
me than scores of games.

The women's volleyball finished its season with an 8-23 overall record.
Spikers close out year
with weekend sweep

Daily Sports Writer
It's hard to find something to smile
about after a season in which a team
only wins eight times in 31 chances.
But the women's volleyball team can
smile and feel good about the way it
ended the season.
This weekend, the Wolverines did
something they had done only once all
season -- win two matches in a row.
Michigan (4-16Big Ten, 8-23 over-
all) closed its season with home victo-
ries over Wisconsin, Friday, and North-
western, Saturday. The Wolverines sur-
prisedtheBadgers, sweeping the match,
15-5, 15-13, 15-4. Michigan followed
that with a 15-11,2-15, 15-7, 15-12 win
against the Wildcats.
Wisconsin (10-9, 20-11) should
qualify for the NCAA tournament, as it
did last season, but the Badgers were no
match for the Wolverines. Michigan
jetted out to a 15-5 game one win but
trailed 13-7 in the second game. The
young Wolverines battled back, how-
ever, and took the game's final eight
points. Michigan surrendered only four
points in an easy third game.
The Wolverines unveiled an ef-
fective hitting attack, with a season-
best .351 percentage. Shannon
Brownlee paced Michigan's offense
with 14 kills and a .417 efficiency;
Sarah Jackson added 13 kills and a
sizzling .476 percentage.
Friday's sweep of Wisconsin,
coupled with Northwestern's loss to
Michigan State set the scene for the


D: After having so many winning
seasons at UCLA, what do you think
was your best year?
W: Well according to my defini-
tion of success it was probably a team
that didn't win the national champi-
onship. I had four teams that went
undefeated, now you can't do any
better than that. But I'm not sure if
any one of those four were better than
some teams that lost one or two games.
I had other teams that didn't win
the championship that probably came
closer to their potential than other
teams that won championships. So I
would not attempt to single out.
D: As you view the game of col-
lege basketball, how do you think one
of your national championship squads
would match up with a championship
team today?
W: I wouldn't be worried about
stacking up with teams today. I'm not
saying we'd win, I'm just saying we
would could compete very favorably
in my opinion. I would have no hesi-
tation about stacking them up against
the better collegiate teams I see today.
D: Who do you think is the best
player you ever coached?
W:Oh I would never make a state-
ment of that sort as to pick a best
player. I'll make statements like this:

year. There are a lot of good coaches,
but coaches differ in ability just like
players differ in ability. But no coach
does real well consistently unless he
has the players. Now not every coach
does well with the players, but no
coach does it without them. Coaches
are not equal in ability any more than
players are.
D: Do you remember any indi-
vidual players you and the Bruins
faced that you thought were particu-
larly tough.
W: Oh, by all means, many. The
one that knocked us out of the tourna-
ment twice when we won our confer-
ence was Bill Russell of USF (Uni-
versity of San Francisco), he was just
tremendous. I think Austin Carr of
Notre Dame was an outstanding
player. Cazzie Russell at Michigan,
Lucas and Havlicek at Ohio State. I
Go where the
athletes go--
Barber Shop & Skate Sharpening

battle for the Big Ten basement. The
Wildcats (3-17, 12-20) had a seven-
match losing streak and had only one
win in their last 17 matches overall.
Michigan extended that losing streak
to eight, as it won three of its final
four matches to finish with four con-
ference victories. That mark vaulted
the Wolverines from 11th into a ninth-
place tie with Purdue, leaving North-
western in last place in the Big Ten.
Suzy O'Donnell had 15 kills and
Brownlee contributed 14. Jackson
continued her outstanding play with
12 kills and a .417 efficiency against
the Wildcats.
The end of the season means the end
of the careers of Michigan seniors Julie
Sherer and Aimee Smith. Sherer and
Smith leave career marks in the Wol-
verine record book behind, thoigh.
Sherer finished sixth on the all-time
assist list; Smith is fourth in career
block assists and No. 5 in career digs.
"It's sad to see (Aimee) go," Michi-
gan coach Greg Giovanazzi said. "She;
was a pleasure to coach, possibly the
best player to come through the Michi-
gan program."
In her final two matches, Smith
contributed to the Wolverines' victo-
ries with six kills and 11 digs against
Wisconsin and four kills and 15 digs
versus Northwestern. Sherer, a back-
row specialist, did not see action in
either match.
"We're gonna miss Julie and
Aimee a lot," Giovanazzi said.
If only the season were a little longer.





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