Congratulations to Frank Deford for giving the public the most accurate and complete picture to date of a once-in-a-decade athlete (An Ivy Leaguer Is the Best, Dec. 7). As Deford indicated, Bill Bradley is not only "the best college basketball player in the world," he is a person of unique character. There are some who deprecate his almost incredible morality and respect for others. It is typical that Princeton's popular basketball coach is called Butch by everyone but Bradley, who always refers to him as Mr. van Breda Kolff. But such traits should not be scoffed at—they arc all too rare in college athletes today.
ROBERT S. HOLCOMBE
If Bradley is the best college basketball player this year, then who was the best college football player—Archie Roberts?
PETER R. STRAUS
William Warren Bradley...let's sec, now, didn't he get to be President between Daniel Webster and William Jennings Bryan?
MRS. GENE A. MILLER
Is it true that Bill Bradley, in an attempt to get to the gym even more quickly, walks across the Princeton pool? Perhaps Frank Deford's article could be revised to include this important fact.
BILL A. BROWN
While reading Frank Deford's article about Ivy Leaguer Bill Bradley, I recalled that two years ago you mentioned Bill as Sophomore of the Year and as a future All-America. It was one of the best predictions your magazine ever made.
Allow me to be one of the first to congratulate your staff on the fine job it has once again done in analyzing the realm of college basketball (Scouting Reports, Dec. 7). It continues to amaze me how successful SI has been with its predictions in this field. Last year it was NYU (picked as No. 1, finished the season with a 17-10 record) but you have really outdone yourselves this year. Here it is the second week of December, the basketball season only a week old, and already "mighty" Davidson has fallen. And if that weren't enough, UCLA, Kansas, Duke, Seattle, North Carolina and Syracuse, rated Nos. 3, 4, 5, 13, 17, 19, respectively, have also bitten the proverbial dust. Your nine surprise packages have also made a wonderful showing thus far. Five of them have joined the ranks of the immortals.
I am proud of your boys, however. It is heartening to see such a prominent publication refusing to be swayed by the opinions of the vast majority who are proclaiming Michigan as the No. 1 team.
DWIGHT B. STANLEY
Ann Arbor, Mich.
By losing to St. Joseph's (Pa.), your No. 1 team is down the drain in less than a week. I suppose you now feel they'll redeem themselves by beating such kingpins as Wofford, Presbyterian and Jacksonville. Do you use a cracked crystal ball or stale tea leaves?
A salute to your nervy selection of Davidson as No. 1. The Big Ten saw Davidson defeat Ohio State 95-73 and break its 50-home-game winning streak last year. With Hetzel, Teague, Davidson and Snyder back, I think they are as good as you think they are.
ROBERT H. MOORE
Not ranking Wichita State in the top five was the biggest mistake you will ever make.
DALE R. HANSON
Once again you have not picked Cincinnati to finish in the top 20, and that will inspire the Bearcats to go all the way!
I have one word to say of your ranking of the Syracuse basketball team—BALONEY! The Orange will not be peeled or squeezed this year.
JAMES D. TONZI
Adolph Rupp of Kentucky is right when he speaks of being "distressed." Two fine teams from Tennessee, the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt, will take care of Kentucky's "No. 8" ranking.
PAT G. CALDWELL
THE SCHOOL BELL TOLLS
Re your editorial, "Let Them Begin Slowly" (SCORECARD, Nov. 30), I respect your right to voice your opinion, but I regard your attack on high school football as an undocumented, unscholarly and totally unsubstantiated perversion of scientific evidence.
You cited 21 deaths among high school football players and three deaths among their college and professional brethren as being evidence that the high school competition is overly dangerous, but you neglected to point out that there are well over 10 times as many high school boys playing organized football as there are college players.
You state that high school players are injured more often and arc not in as good condition as their elders, yet, having had experience in coaching both service and high school athletes, I have found the opposite to be true. The teen-ager has more flexible, less brittle bones and can recuperate faster from a rugged practice than can older players. What is the percentage of college and pro athletes who must endure knee and shoulder surgery? Comparatively few high school players undergo such treatment.
Football is a game in which, unfortunately, there are some deaths each year, but compared to other sports, like driving automobiles or swimming, it is obvious that it is not nearly as dangerous as its detractors would have us believe.
JOHN W. DURHAM
As a high school football coach for 12 years, I am very much in disagreement. According to statistics prepared for the American Football Coaches Association, the average incidence of direct fatalities per 100,000 players for the years 1931 through 1963 in high school was 1.56 and in college 2.35.
According to the statistics, the direct fatalities due to football for the years 1931 through 1963 have been: sandlot 126, pro and semipro 71, high school 306, college 49. It is true that high school leads, but it has 10 times as many exposures as any of the other categories. I feel you should have taken this into consideration before you wrote your editorial.
•The fact that there are many more high school players than college players does not alter the fact that there were twice as many high school football fatalities (21) in 1964 as there were in 1963 and seven more than in any previous year.—ED.
Usually your football coverage is beyond compare, and usually your staff writers are the first to acknowledge the little-appreciated work of the defense. But in your article, Vintage Year for Pro Rookies (Dec. 7), you failed to recognize the NFL's finest defensive rookie, Mel Renfro of the Dallas Cowboys. Mel has turned in outstanding performances weekly. He has already snared six pass interceptions, and is near the top in kickoff-and punt-return averages. He has been acclaimed "Dallas' most exciting player."
Highland Park, Ill.
It was heartening to notice that you picked Charley Taylor of the Washington Redskins as one of the outstanding rookies in the NFL this season. However, why no mention of two of the fine rookie defensive backs such as Dallas' Mel Renfro and the league leader in pass interceptions, Washington's Paul Krause? In the past two games against the Cowboys and the Giants, Paul intercepted in crucial situations to clinch both games.
As for the "usually unemotional 'Skins' fans," you've got to be kidding. I lose three pounds a game watching the Redskins' style of cardiac football.
ROBERT H. MOSS
Silver Spring, Md.
Defensive men such as Paul Krause of Washington, Ben McGee and Chuck Hinton of Pittsburgh, Dick Evey of Chicago, Carl Eller of Minnesota, Ken Kortas of St. Louis, Mel Renfro of Dallas and one offensive lineman, Bob Brown of Philadelphia, should get the credit they deserve.
I think you should have included the top rookies in the AFL like Matt Snell, Al Denson, J. D. Garrett, Scott Appleton and others.