Wizardry of Men Doesn't Impress Him

In an article about women's basketball--"A Game for Purists"--in the recent issue of Civilization magazine, John Wooden indicated that the best college basketball this season will be played in Charlotte, N.C., at the women's Final Four.

"To me, the best pure basketball I see today is among the better women's teams," said Wooden, who coached 10 NCAA men's champions at UCLA.

And Thursday he said, "Yes, I did make that statement, and I stand by it. The better women's teams play the game the way it was meant to be played--below the rim, not above it. I love the ballhandling and I appreciate the absence of all the showmanship you have now in the men's game.

"The officials are permitting a lot of wrestling in the men's game. . . . In the women's game, you see true defensive basketball."

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Add Wooden: The former coach said he would like to see the dunk outlawed, as it was from the 1967-68 to '76-77 seasons.

"Absolutely," he said. "It would take a lot of this individual play and showmanship out of the game. But it won't happen because the crowds and the players love it."

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Trivia time: Based on at least 2,500 at-bats, who was the worst hitter ever in the major leagues?

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Who's No. 1? SportsLine USA columnist Ray Buck has some strong opinions on whom the New York Jets should pick as the NFL's No. 1 draft choice.

"If Keyshawn Johnson isn't the first player taken in the NFL draft, then the Jets are more stupid than I thought," he said.

"Keyshawn Johnson is Jerry Rice without the 156 touchdowns."

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Name game: The "Caught on the Fly" column in the Sporting News has a new nickname for Seattle's football team:

"Seasquawks."

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Brainy: St. Louis Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa, on Baltimore's Cal Ripken and Roberto Alomar: "The two smartest players in the league are now in the same infield."

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Hog heaven: Associated Press track writer Bert Rosenthal, on Arkansas' streak of 12 NCAA indoor track and field championships:

"It is the greatest dynasty in the history of college athletics, far surpassing the nine consecutive NCAA outdoor track and field championships by USC in the late 1930s and early '40s, the nine straight golf titles won by Yale early in the century and the seven consecutive basketball crowns won by UCLA under John Wooden."

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IceGator fever: The latest sign that ice hockey is now as American as basketball comes from the land of red beans and rice, Tabasco and blackened redfish.

The minor league Lafayette (La.) IceGators are a runaway hit. Seventeen of 28 home games have been sellouts in the 11,026-seat Cajundome. Average crowd: about 10,000.

On a hunch, the Cajundome people bought 600 pairs of rental skates and opened the rink to the public.

"We made $200,000 the first three months," the Cajundome manager said.

Sudden thought: Whatever became of LSU football?

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Trivia answer: Bill Bergen, a catcher who hit .170 over 11 seasons, 1901-11, for Cincinnati and Brooklyn. He had a great arm, though.

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Quotebook: Golfer Lee Trevino: "You can make a lot of money in this game. Just ask my ex-wives. Both of them are so rich that neither of their husbands work."

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