Thank you for the outstanding article by Barry McDermott on Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King (It's the Bernie and Ernie Show, Feb. 9). That this "dynamic duo" should choose to play for the University of Tennessee is hardly surprising. The Volunteers have superb coaching, and the school itself is one of the nation's most respected. Furthermore, the gracious and wonderful people of Knoxville more than make up for the throngs in "Fun City," as this former New Yorker can testify.
JERRY B. LEMLER, M.D.
Although King and Grunfeld are great ballplayers, and we're proud of the job they have done, I feel that if it weren't for Mike Jackson, John Darden, Doug Ashworth and fine subs like Austin Clark and Terry Crosby—not to mention fine coaches and full-house crowds—Bernie and Ernie wouldn't be on top.
What a sad commentary on college basketball when you have two players who are designated shooters, while the rest are relegated to rebounding, passing, dribbling—and occasionally shooting. How could anyone but the designated shooters be happy playing on a team like that?
Basketball is designed to be a team game. Tennessee Coach Ray Mears may be enjoying some temporary success with his star system, but that is not likely to last for very long.
February 23, 1976
We attended the Auburn-Tennessee game in Knoxville on Jan. 19, we listened to the Alabama-Tennessee game in Knoxville on Jan. 31, we read the Bernie-Ernie article in SI the following week and we reached a few conclusions:
1) Bernard King is bush.
2) Ernie Grunfeld is bush.
3) Ray Mears is bush.
4) Tennessee fans are bush.
Your article showed just how good the Vols are. There was only one thing wrong. You said that Mike Jackson is from New York. He's not. He's from Nashville.
Jefferson City, Tenn.
As a 1972 graduate and longtime fan of Western Michigan University, I was ecstatic to see Kent Hannon's article on the Broncos (Who's Who in Kalamazoo, Feb. 9). As of this writing, WMU is still undefeated and has finally been recognized by both major polls as being among the nation's Top 20.
It was perceptive of you to give national exposure not only to Western Michigan, but to Kalamazoo as well. Most people don't know much about the city, either.
I thoroughly enjoyed the articles on Tennessee and Western Michigan, two apparently unrelated basketball teams. Like thousands of other Wittenberg University alumni, however, I immediately recognized the common bond between their highly successful coaches. Ray Mears of Tennessee and Eldon Miller of Western Michigan were equally successful as coaches at perennial small-college power Wittenberg. Moreover, Miller was a star player for Mears on Wittenberg's 1961 NCAA College Division championship team.
ROBERT E. RIDDLE, D.D.S.
BIG TEN RECORD
The four sentences you devoted in BASKETBALL'S WEEK (Feb. 9) to the No. 1 team, Indiana, might have included the fact that its win over Wisconsin gave it a Big Ten record for consecutive victories—28 straight (29 as I write this). The Hoosiers broke the record set 14 years ago by the Ohio State team that included John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas and an obscure bench warmer named Bobby Knight.
DONNA KAY SIEGMUND
What's this about David Pearson and his "hell-for-Naugahyde charge" swallowing the Honda Civic and firing it out its exhaust stacks (Gas Pains Strike at Daytona, Feb. 9)? Robert Jones must have been looking the other way later when the "diminutive Honda" drafted David Pearson around the oval, and in front of the grandstand, in the closing hours of the race, in the rain, blew the doors off his "big red and white Purolator Ford Torino" while the crowd rose to its feet and cheered.
Incidentally, it was noted by the track announcer that we did not have any gasoline problems during the race, as we were still running on the fuel put in the tank before we left California—and getting 100 miles per gallon with it!
Woodland Hills, Calif.
My compliments to John Papanek for his excellent article Strutting Their Stuffs (Feb. 9). Talent is not the ABA's problem; lack of exposure is.
For those of us who were aware of the First Annual Slam-Dunk Contest but unable to fly to Denver for the evening to see it, your article was a godsend. I hope one of the television networks will obtain the rights to this colossal event. There definitely is spectator interest.
After reading John Papanek's article, I have no doubt that Julius Erving is the most complete basketball player in the world.
Staten Island, N.Y.
I have reached this conclusion: the time has come for the 11-foot basket.
PROTECTING OUR FISH
I can barely remember the days when I could go fishing for haddock and catch one. It is something I wouldn't consider doing today, because of the futility of it all. Legislation for the creation of a 200-mile fishing limit (SCORECARD, Feb. 9) is all but too late. The New England fishing industry has been virtually ruined. When the time comes to sell licenses to foreign countries for the right to fish in our territory, I hope the Senate takes into consideration the methods used by those who have decimated the richest fishing grounds in the world.
ED E. WHITE
FOLLOWING THE PUCK
It's a shame there aren't more hockey organizers in this country like John Mariucci, who realizes that the game isn't the only thing (A Wintry Heritage, Feb. 9). Hats off to Mariucci for succinctly summing up the problems with youth programs today. "You can't play until you've learned to skate," he says, and that says it all. Tricky, skillful stickhandling and a booming, accurate shot are worthless to the hockey player who can't skate. There once was a youth program in Lynn, Mass. where for the first 10 two-hour practice sessions no pucks were allowed on the ice. It was skate, skate, skate. That's how hockey players are made.
As a mother of two young hockey players, I completely agree with your article concerning Minnesota youth hockey programs. Hockey is a marvelous sport, a natural outlet for aggressive energies, but it should not wreck children and disrupt family life with constant games and traveling. As long as a hockey program is called recreational, each player should have a chance to participate in games and thus develop himself. It is too expensive and heartbreaking to outfit a child for hockey, drive him great distances to play and then see him sitting on the bench. Childhood should be a time of fun and games—or did we only dream that up?
The last few paragraphs of the article began to touch on the lack of development of skills in kids. One important reason for this is that we don't play skillful hockey anymore. Most of our players engage in the holding, hooking, high-sticking style of play that is accepted as " 'part of the game." Why should a player develop skills that will have him in the proper position when it is so much easier to hold or hook an opponent who has beaten him? The recent Russian-NHL series pointed out our shortcomings.
New Haven, Conn.
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