Votes for the most valuable player in the West Coast Athletic Conference had already been cast late last season when Santa Clara, led by a fiercely competitive 6'6" forward named Carlos (Bud) Ogden (see cover), met defending champion Pacific. In serious question for the Broncos was a place in the NCAA regional. Pacific was winning by seven points at halftime, but Ogden stubbornly battled for rebounds as if his whole life depended on them—and Santa Clara won. The MVP award went elsewhere, yet Ogden's play stuck in the mind of Pacific Coach Dick Edwards long afterward. "He came out and just wasn't going to let them lose," he said.
All the proof needed that Bud Ogden is back this season and still refusing to succumb is that last weekend, after nine weeks of upsets, injuries, misguided passes and missed shots, only two major-college basketball teams, both from California, remained undefeated—UCLA and the University of Santa Clara.
At Santa Clara, Ogden is not the whole show. His little brother Ralph, a 6'5�" forward who banks in long, soft jump shots, and 6' 9" Center Dennis (The Tree) Awtrey, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, join with him to form perhaps the finest Protestant front line any Jesuit institution ever had. Coach Dick Garibaldi also has four tough, smart guards of about equal ability. It is a defense-conscious team, strong and aggressive, with a minimum of the elbow-shy players Garibaldi calls "sweetie pies."
Not everybody has been dazzled by the Broncos' unbeaten season and high ranking (they have been third in the polls for several weeks, just ahead of twice-beaten Davidson). Suspicious Ronald Green consulted an NCAA guide and then wrote in his
Charlotte News column, " Santa Clara stops in more unknown places than Santa Claus. There are five teams in North Carolina that could win 20 games with that schedule."
Proud people in Santa Clara County could make as light of Davidson's schedule, which shows only six out of 27 games on opponents' home floors, but it is true that Santa Clara stepped way down in class to swat such mosquitoes as UC Davis and Hayward State. Columbia, however, is no mosquito and its only loss this season was to the Broncos in the finals of the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii. "They're very sound," said Columbia Coach Jack Rohan. " Santa Clara jumped off to a 16-2 lead, but we started coming back and naturally the crowd was pulling for us. We caught them and went up by one point, but Santa Clara never lost its poise."
The Broncos won 64-58, their closest call, and despite a good defensive job on Bud by Columbia's Jim McMillian, he was named MVP.
"Bud is extremely valuable," said Rohan. "He's a good shooter, he drives, he's strong, tough. Another thing. He is almost like having a second coach on the floor."
Speculation on why Bud Ogden plays with his special verve usually comes around to that old Psych I standby: the theory of sibling rivalry. In this case there probably is some validity to it. Bud, several classes ahead of Ralph at Lincoln High in San Jose, just south of Santa Clara, looked upon himself only as a 6'5", 6'6" guy who could muscle. He was surprised that 10 or 15 schools were interested in him. Then Ralph came along—when Bud was a freshman at Santa Clara. Where Bud had been double-teamed, Ralph sometimes got triple-teamed. The college offers poured in on him, just as they almost inundated a San Jose contemporary, Dennis Awtrey of Blackford High.
While Ralph and Awtrey tore up their competition, Bud was a frustrated would-be at Santa Clara. Just before his first freshman game, he got a bone chip in his left ankle and missed most of the season. Before his sophomore season he fell asleep at the wheel coming home from the beach, ran the car off the road and separated his left shoulder, requiring an operation. He sat out the year. He came back and had to play part of the next season in a mask after his nose was broken by a flying elbow. As a junior he leaped to block a shot and slashed his shooting hand (20 stitches' worth) on a jagged corner of the backboard.
Bud played and starred anyway, and while his desire to outdo Ralph is strong, nobody else had better fool around with his brother while Bud is around. Ralph got into a shoving match with a big, rugged forward last season in practice and before Garibaldi could break it up Bud had put two quick punches to the jaw of Ralph's antagonist.