Curry Kirkpatrick's article on college basketball (It's a Happening, Dec. 3) was pure entertainment. His description of Joe Caldwell's dunk shots brought back fond memories of Chicago Stadium college doubleheaders. On two mid-'60s winter nights I saw Jumpin' Joe put on shows that would have shamed today's premier dunk artists. Thanks, Curry, and welcome back to the college game.
JEFFERY L. WHITE
Oak Park, Ill.
Curry Kirkpatrick's article described both the appeal of college basketball and the shortcomings of the professional game. I hope that in my lifetime the NBA will have the sagacity to adopt the college rules so that coaching strategy and the team concept can become as much a part of the pro game as individual talent is now.
Regarding Curry Kirkpatrick's derogatory remarks about the NBA, I'd like to say that Curry wasn't as happy about leaving SI's pro basketball beat as we NBA fans were to see him go. Friends like him the NBA doesn't need.
MRS. MICA JOHNSON
I enjoyed the North Carolina flavor of this year's College Basketball Issue—Curry Kirkpatrick learning college basketball at North Carolina, the excellent article on defense featuring Dean Smith and your No. 3 ranking of Carolina. Having been born, bred and educated a Tar Heel and having lived in various parts of the U.S., I can honestly say that no group of fans appreciates its team, coach, players and "deeefense" more than followers of the Heels.
WILLIAM L. BLACK, M.D.
December 17, 1979
Having to live with a Tar Heel husband and his equally enthusiastic Tar Heel sons is hard enough during the college basketball season. Your College Basketball Issue, which seemingly had North Carolina and Dean Smith plastered on every page, was the straw that almost broke the camel's back. Having been born and raised in Kentucky, I was doubly shocked to find the Wildcats ranked no higher than No. 18.
Before the season ends, I strongly suspect that there will be one sports magazine that is wrong and four Tar Heel fans in my family who are very disappointed.
FROM ONE TO TWENTY
In the basketball scouting report on No. 2 Ohio State, you mention that a "dozen or so Buckeye fans" camped out for a week in front of St. John's Arena to purchase season tickets. I was one of those who braved the cold winds and hard pavement to see the Bucks play, and I feel that some additional information is in order. By the time the tickets went on sale, the total number of hard-core Buckeye basketball fans who had shared in this frigid ordeal was well over 5,000.
One correction: Kelvin Ransey, Herbie Williams, Carter Scott, Jim Smith and Clark Kellogg add up to No. 1—not No. 2 behind Indiana.
I dislike Kentucky—totally—but it really wouldn't stun me to see the Wildcats win another title. However, I expect Digger Phelps and "No. 4" Notre Dame to be the 1979-80 NCAA champions.
West New York, N.J.
UCLA 12th? Coach Larry Brown has the ability to make the Bruins No. 1 again.
North Lake, Wis.
Regarding your ranking of Virginia Tech No. 11 and Virginia No. 14, Virginia defeated Tech twice last season and had the superior recruiting year. UVA is No. 1 in the Old Dominion—and in the ACC.
Your putting Virginia Tech ahead of Virginia is the best news this school has had since it was discovered that cows give milk.
DePaul only 13th?
Oak Park, Ill.
Louisville not in the Top 20?
MICHAEL J. SPAHN
Glen Cove, N.Y.
Since the Arkansas Razorbacks were ignored in the wire service preseason polls, it is gratifying to see their inclusion among SI's Top 20. Sidney Moncrief may be gone, but his competitive spirit and winning attitude will continue to influence the basketball program for years to come.
Little Rock, Ark.
Accolades to Curry Kirkpatrick for his fine piece on Old Dominion's Nancy Lieberman (The Game Is Her Dominion, Dec. 3). He does an excellent job of putting women's basketball in perspective. It is a women's game, and it's inappropriate to compare it with the men's sport. It is competitive and exciting in its own right.
I admire Nancy's strength and spunk. I also think she's one of the best-looking point guards I've ever seen.
West Lafayette, Ind.
Larry Keith's article on defense in college basketball was excellent, and the diagrams and pictures illustrating some of the defensive basics were magnificent (Bringing Traffic to a Stop, Dec. 3). In four pages you explained principles that we coaches spend many hours teaching. After they read the article, I am convinced that my players will have a better idea of what I've been trying to tell them. I also feel that articles like this will make young players more willing to work on improving their defensive skills.
WENDELL R. UUTALA
Grade 8 Basketball Coach
Ladysmith Junior High School
Though I admire the philosophies and successes of coaches Bobby Knight, Dean Smith and Co., I must inform you that the premier defensive tactician in the game today, college or pro, was totally ignored in Larry Keith's study. Don Haskins of the University of Texas at El Paso has earned nationwide respect for turning teams of average athletes into superior man-to-man defensive units.
PETER D. CICCARELLI
Dean Smith is excellent, but the title of best defensive coach belongs to Boyd Grant. In his two years at Fresno State, Grant's teams have been at or near the top in defensive statistics. In 1977-78 the Bulldogs allowed the fewest points per game (52.5) in the nation.
In your scouting report on No. 10 Syracuse you cite the Orangemen's 45-game home winning streak going into this season and call it the longest in the nation. It should be noted that the Continentals of Hamilton College (Division III) opened the season with a 47-game home winning streak.
ROBERT M. PAUL
One name was missing from your College Basketball Issue—that of Marquette's 6'5" senior Guard Sam Worthen, who is the premier point guard in the country. The Warriors will probably not win 20 games this season, because of injuries and a terrible recruiting year, but as Worthen goes so goes Marquette, and that should be a lot farther than most people think.
Hales Corners, Wis.
I read with interest the article about Edward J. (Doc) Storey and his punting schools (When in Doubt, Punt! Nov. 12). However, there is one part of the article that I would like to correct. I did play for the Denver Broncos from 1968 through 1976 as a wide receiver and punter, but Doc Storey had nothing to do with my development as a kicker. Jim Smith, my grammar school physical education instructor, and Jack Powers, the line coach at Mamaroneck High School when I was a student there, were both directly responsible for my development as a punter. Powers, who is now the athletic director of Manhattan College, spent many hours before and after practice helping me develop consistency in punting.
BILLY VAN HEUSEN
The splendid article on Doc Storey certainly puts the punting aspects of today's football in the right light. As football coach at Norwich High School in 1937 I had the honor of spending a day at a football clinic conducted by Leroy Mills at Hamilton College. Two of our best athletes participated and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about kicking. Mills was such a perfectionist that his skills were hard to believe. During that clinic he executed the finest drop kick I have ever seen. He took the ball on the junction of sideline and endline, stepped up the sideline one yard and drop-kicked the ball through the goal posts at that extreme angle. He also stressed the simplicity of the extra-point placekick, stating that the space between the uprights (then 18'6") is so huge that 37 footballs could be kicked through the goal posts simultaneously without their touching each other.
Punting out-of-bounds with controlled kicking is seldom seen in pro games. Twenty yards should be deducted from a punter's average for every kick that goes into the end zone. Accuracy in kicking seems a lost art. Just count the number of punts that go out-of-bounds inside the 5-yard line on any Sunday—it won't take long. Keep in there, Ed Storey, you're doing fine.
BIG LEAGUE HIGH SCHOOLS
In your Nov. 26 19th HOLE, George F. Walden noted the major league baseball success of alumni of Beaumont High in St. Louis. His list of 12 players who have gone on to the majors was impressive. Then he asked, "Is there any other high school in the country that has had so many of its graduates reach the major leagues?"
The answer is yes. Doesn't he know that when it comes to baseball, we in California have to be first?
According to my calculations, Long Beach Poly High—the school of many famous athletes, including Billie Jean (Moffitt) King, Gene Washington, Earl McCullouch, etc.—has produced no fewer than 17 major-leaguers. L.A. Fremont High, where Gene Mauch, among others, went to school, has had 15 big-leaguers, and Long Beach Wilson High has sent 13 to the majors. If you count up the major-leaguers turned out by the six high schools in Long Beach, you get a grand total of 42. Until recently, five public schools in the Long Beach district each had at least one player on a major league roster, and even now it would be possible to form at least two complete major league clubs from alumni of high schools located within less than 25 miles of Long Beach's city hall. Not long ago Wilson High had five graduates playing—Bob Bailey, Bobby Grich, Jeff Burroughs, Ed Crosby and Casey Cox—not to mention Manager Bob Lemon.
Another nearby school, Centennial High in Compton, had seven alumni playing within a five-year period—Reggie Smith, the late Don Wilson, Lenny Randle, Mitchell Page, Wayne Simpson, Lonnie Smith and Roy White—yet that school is only 25 years old.
JOHN O. HERBOLD II
Varsity Baseball Coach
Lakewood Senior High School
I have noticed nominations for your 1979 Sportsman of the Year in recent issues of your magazine. I would like to submit mine: Phil Parkes, goalie for the 1979 NASL champion Vancouver Whitecaps. I think he was the most important reason the Whitecaps reached and won the 1979 Soccer Bowl, and it is time soccer and the NASL had someone on your list of greats.
Jim (Doc) Counsilman's successful crossing of the English Channel at the age of 58 strikes me as one of the most extraordinary triumphs of human spirit and determination in this or any other decade. Herewith my enthusiastic nomination of Counsilman as your 1979 Sportsman of the Year.
GILBERT S. OSBORN
Bryan Allen and Paul MacCready, the pilot and designer of the Gossamer Albatross. Their achievement was a magnificent example of the human spirit at its best, and they are eminently worthy of selection as Sportsmen.
Because of her astounding victory in this year's New York City Marathon, I nominate Grete Waitz as Sportswoman of the Year.
Long Beach, Calif.
Willie Stargell must be seriously considered for your 1979 award.
West Newton, Pa.
The late Thurman Munson.
Essex Junction, Vt.
Sugar Ray Leonard.
Le Roy, N.Y.
West Orange, N.J.
T. W. SCHERMERHORN
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