INS AND OUTS
Last season the Buckeyes of Ohio State won the Big Ten playoff and placed third in the NCAA tournament, defeating Adolph Rupp's Kentucky and Houston and the Big E in the process. Four starters return to this club and a hotshot sophomore moves in to take the place of Bill Hosket. Yet in your College Basketball Issue (Dec. 2) you do not pick this team in the top 20. Too bad. You were wrong about the football Buckeyes, and you will be wrong about the basketball Buckeyes.
I was disappointed to find Purdue in and Iowa out. By no means can you say Purdue is that much better.
I thought your pick of the top 20 basketball teams was most commendable, except for one thing. The University of Cincinnati will be No. 1 when all the NCAA playoffs are over.
I have just finished reading your rundown of college basketball 1968-69, and I find it very interesting (as well as ridiculous) that you mentioned 70-odd college teams without one word about the best team in the East—Duquesne University.
Thank you for discovering the University of Santa Clara, at last! The Broncos, in past years, have had highly ranked teams in football, basketball and baseball. This recognition is long overdue, but appreciated just the same.
Mervin Hyman's interesting remarks in the article The Passing Fancy (Dec. 2) evoke some comments from one who has followed the basketball scene for 51 years.
For all the dipsy-doodle ball handling that fans best remember in connection with Bob Cousy, few are aware that Cousy was years ahead of his time. All those clever things Bob did were self-taught. As Arnie Risen remarked back in 1958, it was most fortunate for pro basketball that Cousy came along when he did, for until he brightened things up with his hocus-pocus (for which rival players called him bush) the play-for-pay game was monotonous.
In a sense Cousy never made an errant pass! If one ever reconstructed any of his passes that misfired one would quickly realize that the intended receiver either zigged when he should have zagged or loafed on the play. Bob had a most fantastic mind, and he instinctively knew where all his teammates were by the mere sound of their foot-beats.
George Ireland is correct in declaring that today's ball handlers are superior to those of yesteryear. But the modern day Cousys, Lenny Wilkenses and John Egans will become more plentiful only when all of the high schools and colleges start incorporating assists in their regular box-score statistics and sportswriters begin to give playmakers and high scorers equal attention.
WILLIAM G. MOKRAY
Editor and Publisher
Your evaluation of the lost art of ball handling holds water until you get to Kentucky, where the emphasis on teamwork and moving the ball is so great that it sometimes may tend to be detrimental. The great Mike Casey, Kentucky's junior star, passed up several easy baskets for the privilege of passing off to another man in the Wildcats' recent romp over Xavier. Despite this, he ended up with 29 points. We at Kentucky even see such outdated phenomena as bounce passes and two-handed set shots. Keep your eye on Kentucky—the Wildcats may not win them all, but they sure play the game as it should be played.
SHORT AND SIMPLE
Your SCORECARD article "Full In The Fall" (Dec. 2) gave me an idea that is probably shared by many others. The dilemma facing both baseball and football in 1969 could be solved simply. Shorten the baseball season! I realize this is thought of by millions of baseball fans as heresy, blasphemy and an evil plot. But why should the season have to drag on through September? Attendance keeps declining, the continued expansion is diluting the overall quality of most teams and who can keep up his interest after both league championships have been locked up in August?
The final day of regular-season play should be Labor Day. Then certainly the playoffs and the World Series would be completed well before the end of September.
DONALD H. ENGSTROM
UNFAIR TO FAIR HARVARD
So at halftime both Coach Yovicsin and the disgruntled seniors were sure they were going to win (Unbeatens Met, and What Happened Beats All, Dec. 2). Poppycock! Somebody once said a tie was like kissing your sister. Not so this one. To us Harvard grads, the Harvard-Yale tie was like kissing Cleopatra.
ROBERT W. WOOD JR.
You owe an apology to the 1968 Harvard football squad and its fine coach, John Yovicsin. With so many more fitting things that could have been written about this great team and its superb efforts against Yale, it is incredible that the major portion of your coverage of the Harvard-Yale game should have been devoted to the puerile and self-pitying statements allegedly made by an anonymous member of the Harvard team.
WILLIAM H. BALL JR.
New York City
PAST TO PRESENT
It was with a great deal of pleasure that I read the article Old Days and Changed Ways (Nov. 25), by Alex Hannum with Frank Deford. I was especially elated to see that Mr. Hannum mentioned Al Cervi, perhaps the best defensive player and probably "the toughest guy I ever saw in the game," as Hannum said.
I had the pleasure to get to know Al Cervi three years ago at his summer basketball camp in the Adirondack Mountains. From the very beginning Mr. Cervi told us that the game of basketball was 99% desire and only 1% ability. It was largely through this man's guidance that I am now attending the University of Detroit.
Al Cervi is one of the true giants of basketball who, unfortunately, played the game too early in its development for it to fully appreciate his achievements.
I certainly enjoyed your article Old Days and Changed Ways, for I "grew up" with the Oshkosh All-Stars. Lonnie Darling was my father and truly a great man as well as coach. He was Mr. Basketball. It is sad to think his life had to end at the early age of 46. He would be overwhelmed by the popularity of basketball today.
SALLY DARLING BROWN
MATTER OF QUALITY
Lest anyone be misled by Bil Gilbert's remarks with regard to military sports and physical activity (Play Ball, You ?!¢%&*#/S!, Nov. 25), let me clear up a few points. The beneficial effects of regular vigorous physical activity to the general health of an individual are indisputable. The main benefit is not in increased life-span, but in the increased quality of life.
The stress placed on the body systems by exercise, particularly the cardiorespiratory system, improves their function not only for athletic activity, but also for the tasks of daily living. I am not speaking of the excessive stresses placed on the bodies of people such as professional athletes. Just about anything can be done to excess.
The guy who only sits at the desk and watches TV is not as well off as the guy who adds enjoyable physical activity to this routine. He can be one of the most ungainly individuals in the world and still benefit and enjoy this activity. The daily sport break also gives the individual a mental break from the problems of daily living.
JACK D. MILLER
New Holland, Pa.
O.J. Simpson is the best running back college football has ever seen. He has accomplished in two years what it took other fine backs, such as Mike Garrett, three years to do. Last year he rushed for 1,543 yards despite an ankle injury that sidelined him for a game and a half. This year, with the Rose Bowl game still to play, he has scored 22 touchdowns, has carried 355 times and has rushed for 1,709 yards. And he was named the Heisman Trophy winner for 1968.
It is for these reasons that I nominate O.J. for Sportsman of the Year.
I nominate Don Meredith for Sportsman of the Year. He gets so beat up on the field. Then he gets booed. But he always comes back. In my opinion, he's got more guts than anyone in football.
My nomination for Sportsman of the Year is Cincinnati superstar Pete Rose. In a year in which pitching dominated baseball Mr. Rose hit a fantastic .335. If it were not for him baseball would have had the dullest season in history.
I wish to nominate the most overshadowed player on the USC football team for Sportsman of the Year. Who else can he be but Steve Sogge? He has led his team to victory all year, except, of course, for the tie with Notre Dame. But the irony of it all is that his truly great playing abilities were shown in this game.
Everybody knows who Terry Hanratty, Leroy Keyes, Bobby Douglass and O.J. Simpson are, but, except for the people who live in California, Sogge is unknown. I say let's make him known.
One name comes to my mind: Gale Sayers. Need any more be said?
MARV HILL JR.
Iowa City, Iowa
I would like to nominate Gordie Howe for Sportsman of the Year. Any man who can score 700 goals and play the game at 40 should receive the award. He truly is a great athlete and, besides being a great hockey player, he is also a master golfer and fisherman. We should have more gentlemen like Gordie in the world.
Garden City, Mich.
I would like to nominate Eugenio Monti. Monti, nine-time world champion, finally won a gold medal and then added another one, in the two-and four-man bobsled competitions, after many frustrating Olympic tries.
Undaunted by the various and sundry nominations for Sportsman of the Year made by baseball and football fans, I proudly enter the name of Robert Marvin (Bobby) Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. The Golden Jet, who broke the record of 50 goals in a single season during the 1965-66 campaign, now maintains a 50-goal average. And this year, as the last of the immortals (he certainly deserves to be on a list with Ruth, Gehrig, Richard and Gordie Howe), Bobby is playing the best hockey of his life.
JOHN JAY WILHEIM
Highland Park, Ill.