In Reply to: Itís fair to say... posted by KevinBruinFan on November 08, 2018 at 10:17:55
i suspect that's a whole lot closer to the truth, but i've never gone in for such over-arching theories in any event.
i was already long gone by that season though my parents still had season tickets i believe. What i remember most was that our team was doing very well and ran into a very good NC State team led by a great star.
Since we were badly spoiled by then, by all those NCs - i think we were on a seven year in a row streak at that time - i think people's memories are somewhat distorted by the fact that we lost that one game in the national semi-finals.
The thing was, NCSU played a terrific game against us but in the end the game wound up turning on a simple tactical problem for us: as the game was winding down, we needed to foul to kill the clock in order to have a chance to catch up and have a chance to win. But at that point, very late, we had committed only two fouls in the half. So they would toss the ball in and run away from us a few seconds and then we would catch them and foul. But they would just get to throw the ball in again. And again. And again. And yet again. Before we actually got to put them on the line for foul shots.
By that point, there simply wasn't enough time left in the game to matter.
i recall a game under Ben Howland where he got his team to foul several times with more time left to go just to avoid falling into that trap.
i don't know when Coach decided to retire. i do know he came back the following year and got everything possible out of that team which eventually won his tenth NC at UCLA. It too was a very talented team - no Walton, but several really wonderful basketball players. Meyers was among the great defenders and most intense players you could ever see. Washington, et al - quite outstanding talent.
i believe there were some health considerations and Coach, you have to remember, was a very traditional person so deciding to retire at 65 (which seemed a lot older in those years than would be the case today even just so short a time ago) would be reasonable to him. Just as he later refused offers to raise his retirement compensation amount on the basis that he "hadn't earned it." He was famously a "deal is a deal" guy - the very reason we got him as our Coach over his preferred position at Minnesota (the Minnesota AD's call couldn't get through by the agreed upon deadline and by the time Minnesota reached him, Coach had already told UCLA he would come west and he wouldn't go back on his word).
Walton was certainly never easy but there were a number of times Coach stuck to his rules and Bill adjusted to follow them. (Remember the beard?) i certainly don't for a moment believe Coach Wooden let him and his teammates do what they wanted or even lost control of the team. He was always wise enough to realize he had to handle every player differently to enable them to get the most out of themselves and so the team could realize its potential (his handling of Hazzard and Goodrich is classic.)
And there were times at the ends of close games - for certain players - he would just clear everyone else out and allow that individual player to do his thing one-on-one against his defender depending on whatever opened up - Walt Hazzard and Sidney Wicks were two i remember - if the defender played off them they would just shoot over him and if the defender played up on him, he - Walt or Sidney - would drive around him for a clear layup. And the rest of the talent on the team was such, the opponent couldn't let the other guys go to try to double Walt or Sidney because that was certain death. (also)
Sometimes the conspiracy theory may indeed be correct, but most often it offers a simple (and simplistic) solution to what - as with most of life - was in reality far more complex - and messy - reality.
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