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On a sunny August afternoon three summers ago, Pete Newell was sitting in his office on the University of California campus, about ready to yield to twin temptations of sunshine and a round of golf, when the phone rang, as is usual with the rise of the curtain on Act One.
A pleasant female voice said, "My nephew is coming up here to school in the fall from Los Angeles and I have to find him a place to live."
"They must have given you the wrong number," said Pete. "This is the athletic office. I'll have you switched to housing."
"No," the voice insisted, "they told me to speak to you."
"I'm afraid I can't help you," said Pete, beginning to wish he'd thought about that golf game a few minutes earlier. "I'm only the basketball coach."
"That's right," the aunt said with a note of satisfaction, "and my nephew is a basketball player."
Here we go again, Pete thought—everybody's nephew is a basketball player these days. But there was nothing to do but go through with it. "All right," he conceded, "what's the trouble about a place to live?"
"Well," said the voice, "the first thing is that my nephew has to have an extra long bed."
Suddenly the sunshine began to fade and golf was a game Pete could play any old time. "How tall is your nephew?" he said, and held his breath.
"Six feet eight," said the voice, "and he's still growing"—and as far as Pete was concerned it could be raining outside.