UCLA vs Gonzaga: Gameday reads


For anyone looking for something to do between now and UCLA’s tipoff against Gonzaga at 4:15 p.m. PT (CBS), here’s a roundup of relevant reading:

– Isaac Hamilton started the season on a bumpy path, but has rediscovered his “old man’s game” late in the season.
– UCLA assistant coach Ed Schilling once shot poorly in a football stadium, but he doesn’t think the same will hold for the Bruins at NRG Stadium.
– From the Spokesman-Review: The first person to ever hire Steve Alford as a coach explains how it happened.
– From Grantland: How Kyle Wiltjer turned himself into a star by leaving Kentucky.
– From Y! Sports: An oral history of UCLA’s 2006 comeback against Gonzaga.
– And last but not least … Bill Walton’s recent aMa on Reddit.

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Six Bruins listed among SI’s all-time college athletes

Sports Illustrated tried to name the best college athletes of all time, ranging from names like Bennie Oosterbaan and Red Grange to Brittney Griner and Tim Tebow. No surprise that the school with the most NCAA championships made a strong appearance. UCLA led with six selections on the 50-person listing.

Lew Alcindor — Plenty of stats to back him up, but forcing the NCAA to outlaw dunking is still the best evidence of his dominance.
Lisa Fernandez — Four-time All-American, three-time national player of the year, two titles. Career 0.22 ERA, .382 batting average. Currently a UCLA assistant coach.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee — Two-time champion in heptathlon, and Olympic silver medalist while still a student. Four-year basketball starter.
Jackie Robinson — First UCLA athlete since Cap Haralson to letter in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, track. More importantly, broke baseball’s color barrier.
Bill Walton — Three-time Naismith Player of the Year. Puts the color in commentary.
Natalie Williams — Four-time All-American in volleyball. Two-time All-American in basketball. First woman to earn both honors in the same year.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the athletes were ranked, rather than listed alphabetically.

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Walton appears on Dakich, talks life and basketball

Bill Walton appeared on the Dan Dakich Show today, putting in what the host called one of his best interviews ever. Walton doesn’t really talk about UCLA outside of some mentions of John Wooden and Pauley Pavilion, but he does ramble on as few others can.

At one point, he misquotes Neil Young’s “Walk Like A Giant” as he tries to explain how excited he is to be on Dakich’s show:

“‘Breaks my heart to think about how close we came/Think about how good it feels/I want to walk like a giant on the land/I don’t want to float like a leaf in the stream.’ And that’s why I’m honored to be on your show today, Dan. So how are the football players?’”

I don’t think Dakich asks more than five questions, but Walton unsurprisingly manages to talk for 40 minutes. Here are some other excerpts. You can find the full interview here. Continue reading

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Howland brushes off Walton’s criticism

UCLA head coach Ben Howland took the high road after being lambasted on ESPN by commentator Bill Walton, one of the most renowned players in program history.

Walton has dished out harsh criticism of the program every time he’s sat courtside at Pauley Pavilion. Thursday night’s ugly win over Washington — one in which the Bruins (17-6, 6-3) shot below 40 percent for the third straight game — was no different, as the Hall of Famer harped on everything from UCLA’s style of play to the rows of empty seats. Continue reading

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