The best praise UCLA's players could expect from John Wooden was a twinkle in the eye or a slight upward curl in one corner of his mouth. After wins — and there were a lot — Wooden might give a player a pat on the shoulder or rub of the head, perhaps a nod and a quick “Good job.”
When Bill Walton produced one of the greatest performances in college basketball history, Wooden couldn't resist taking a tongue-in-cheek jab at the big redhead.
“When he got to me that day in St. Louis, he stopped, looked down at me and says: ‘I used to think you were a good player Walton until you missed that one shot,’ and then he was on to the next one,” Walton said. “He reminded me about one miss for the rest of his life.”
Walton was part of a UCLA dynasty that won 10 national championships in 12 years under Wooden, carrying on the standard set by Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The Bruins had a prominent role in college hoops and were a fixture for decades in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, which marked its 75th anniversary this month.
The Bruins won a record seven straight titles in that 12-year stretch, capped by a game for the ages by Walton in the 1973 championship game.
Double teamed most of the night, Walton scored a championship game record 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting with 13 rebounds in 33 minutes. UCLA beat Memphis State 87-66 in St. Louis for the 75th of what would be a record 88 straight wins.
Walton's record still stands today, even if it didn't earn praise from the coach he holds in such high regard.
“I was the luckiest man in the world to play for coach Wooden,” Walton said.
Pete Maravich was unlike any player in college basketball history, a wizard with the ball who played with uncommon flair.
Pistol Pete also could score — a lot. In the 1969-70 season, Maravich produced a season at LSU that may never be matched.
Maravich averaged 44.5 points per game after averaging 44.2 the year before. He still holds the all-time scoring record with 3,667 career points — in three seasons and 17 years before the 3-point line was added to the college game.
Bob Knight won three national championships at Indiana, but his first was perfect. Led by high-scoring forward Scott May, the 1975-76 Hoosiers went 32-0, capped by a blowout win over Michigan in the national title game.
The Hoosiers beat No. 2 UCLA, No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 14 Kentucky, all in the first four games of the season. The overtime win at Kentucky needed a tip-in from Kent Benson to tie the game with six seconds left in regulation and that wasn't the only close call. There was a two-point win at Ohio State and an OT win at home against Michigan. Benson and May were the 1-2 punch for a team that remains the last to post a perfect season in Division I.
DANNY AND THE MIRACLES
Kansas lost six of its first Big 8 games and 11 overall in the 1987-88 season. The Jayhawks dropped in the AP Top 25 from No. 7 to 16th to 18th and finally, by late January, out of the rankings altogether.
Once the Jayhawks got to the NCAA Tournament, Danny Manning carried them to their second national title.
A two-time All-American, Manning led sixth-seeded Kansas on a romp through the NCAA Tournament on a team dubbed Danny and the Miracles. Manning capped the run with 31 points, 18 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots in the title game against Oklahoma.
The NCAA record book has an entry for most quadruple doubles. It lists one name: Lester Hudson.
As a senior at UT-Martin, Hudson had 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals against Central Baptist on Nov. 13, 2007, for the only quadruple double in Division I history.
Stephen Curry is considered one of the NBA's greatest marksman, with a slew of 3-point shooting records on his resume. At Davidson, Curry led the Wildcats on a memorable run all the way to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats were nowhere to be found in the AP Top 25 all season. But they took a 19-game winning streak and a No. 25 ranking into the Southern Conference Tournament, where they went 3-0 and their closest winning margin was 16 points. That earned them a bump up to 23rd in the AP poll and set the stage for Curry and Co.
Curry opened NCAA tourney play by scoring 30 of his 40 points in the second half of a comeback win over Gonzaga, hitting 8 of 10 from 3-point range. He then scored 25 second-half points (30 total) against Georgetown, 33 more against Wisconsin and had 25 in the Elite Eight against Kansas, which won the nailbiter 59-57 on the way to the national championship.
Loyola Marymount suffered an unspeakable tragedy in the 1990 West Coast Conference Tournament when burly forward Hank Gathers collapsed on the court and later died of heart condition. He was 23.
Playing while grieving, Bo Kimble scored 45 points against New Mexico State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and led the Lions to the Elite Eight as a No. 11 seed. Kimble honored his friend and teammate by shooting the first free throw of every game left-handed.
Wilt Chamberlain set the NBA standard by scoring 100 points in game.
But it is Furman's Frank Selvy who holds the NCAA single-game record after scoring 100 points against Newberry on Feb. 13, 1954. According to Furman, the 6—foot-3 Selvy sent 41 for 66 from the field, made 18 of 22 free throws and had 13 rebounds. He was later the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft by Baltimore.
Bill Russell is considered one of the greatest players in basketball history, amassing 11 NBA championships and two national titles at San Francisco.
The 6-foot-10 center had one of most dominating NCAA Tournament games in history during the 1956 title game, finishing with 26 points and 27 rebounds in a win over Iowa. He also was believed to have swatted at least a dozen shots, though blocks were not yet an official stat.
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