Few remember that before John Wooden closed his coaching career with a ridiculous run of national championships at UCLA, he was a great high school player at Martinsville High and Purdue University, gaining two hat tricks of All-State high school honors and All-America college honors. Wooden went into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1961, three years before he coached his first national championship team at UCLA.
When Wooden was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 1972, he shared the honor with pioneering tennis star Billie Jean King. The story on the two, often a conversation between them on sports, college sports and the future of each, is fascinating to look at 41 years later. I'll bet it makes Billie Jean smile that there's a Men's and Women's Wooden Award, for the best player in college of each gender.
The top 30 watch list, announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, includes FIU senior guard Jerica Coley, last year's national scoring leader, Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year and all-around good person.
Coley surely will be among those signing autographs at the men's team's open intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 31 at U.S. Century Bank Arena. In trying to draw students from their prep for Halloween festivities, the team's offering free grub, drinks, halftime contests, autographs from the women's team and free stuff. After halftime, men's coach Anthony Evans will announce the name of the FIU basketball student section, as voted on by the students.
(I vote for "Time Out" because most of the students I've seen sitting there look like they probably did when they were put in time out by their parents).