Last week the NCAA put the University of North Carolina on probation for a year because Basketball Coach Frank McGuire allegedly had broken the rules in recruiting players. McGuire is the New York-born-and-bred Irishman who has attracted many of that city's best high school players to Chapel Hill.
We have long admired McGuire as a man (SI, Dec. 9,1957) and applauded the manner in which he teaches sportsmanship and gentlemanly behavior as well as basketball. If he was guilty as charged, however, he should have been penalized, and in that spirit of impartiality we are impelled to inform the NCAA of another of McGuire's devilishly clever recruiting techniques.
Twenty years ago, when he was coaching at Xavier High School in New York, McGuire sent a christening present for the infant son of a next-door neighbor. It was a basketball, naturally, and the child came to cherish it, using it as a sleeping companion the way other youngsters used teddy bears. Later, the growing boy dribbled it and threw it through hoops on playground courts. The ball died a natural death after some years, impaled on the steel spiking atop a playground wall, but the deflated shell remained a prized possession.
The boy became a basketball star in high school. In his senior year at Fordham Prep he averaged 25 points a game and was chosen for the city's all-star team. He barely looked at the many offers from other college coaches, telling Frank McGuire he wanted only to play for him. His name is Don Walsh, and today, as a starting guard, he is one of the reasons Carolina is favored to win the Atlantic Coast Conference race.
THE INSIDE STORY
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