It has been common for the UCLA basketball team to have a strong group of California-bred athletes enhanced by one or two black players from faraway places, attracted to Westwood because of Coach John Wooden, the supposedly glamorous life in L.A. and the school's reputation for fair treatment of Negroes. The Bruins have had Kenny Washington from South Carolina, Fred Slaughter from Kansas, Walt Hazzard from Philadelphia, Mike Warren from Indiana and that tall fellow from New York City. Now comes Henry Bibby of Franklinton, N.C., a 6'1" sophomore guard who has quickness and such a good shooting eye he could, according to admirers, stand 25 feet away and plunk a tennis ball into a drain pipe nine times out of 10.
Bibby is important to UCLA not only for his scoring (26.5 average as a freshman) but for his ball handling, too. Wooden intends to go back to his pre-Alcindor fast break, and Bibby's dribbling and passing have improved so much that he will be the middle man on most of the sprints down the court.
UCLA will also switch from the Alcindor low post to a high-post offense. Here the key man is 6'9" junior Steve Patterson, who was red-shirted during one of Alcindor's years. Patterson shoots well from the high post and in practice Wooden and assistant Denny Crum are drilling him on driving to the basket if he is too closely covered. Back are two strong junior forwards, 6'6�" Curtis Rowe (outstanding in the NCAA tournament) and 6'8" Sidney Wicks. Neither can shoot from the corner with the proficiency of the graduated Lynn Shackelford, but both are better than Shack in every other phase of the game, except perhaps attitude. Wicks does not always play up to his spectacular ability.
That Rowe and Wicks are not such deadly outside shooters, however, hardly matters. Beside Bibby there is 6'2" Guard John Vallely, one of the best beach volleyball players in California and another deadeye on the basketball court. Vallely scored 29 points, mostly from outside, in the NCAA semifinals and made the all-tourney team.
It is a very strong starting lineup, but UCLA does not seem to have the depth of the past, although there are a couple of quick players to put in for the full-court press, and a good substitute guard, Terry Schofield, who has been known to develop a very hot hand when the occasion called for it.
For the first time in years the Bruins are not the favorites to win the national championship and that could be a big asset. Says Wooden, barely suppressing a sense of relief: "I look forward to again coaching to try to win, rather than trying to keep from being defeated."
Purdue's senior Guard Rick Mount has been eating squirrel some nights this fall. He married his Lebanon, Ind. high school sweetheart last summer and, frankly, the Mounts cannot afford many T-bones. So the Big Ten's greatest scorer has taken to hunting and anybody who has seen his long-range jump shot knows the Mounts will not be hurting for meat—any more than Coach George King's Boilermakers will be hurting for points this winter. Behind Mount's fancy gunning they should win their second straight league championship and again contend seriously for the national title.
Mount is even more important to Purdue this year than in 1968-69 when he scored 33.3 points a game as the team finished second in the country. Missing from that high-scoring squad (93 points a game) are steady Guard Bill Keller and spectacular Forward Herman Gilliam, who led the Boilermakers in rebounding for three years although he stood only 6'3". Both were aggressive on defense and fast afoot, keying King's breakneck running game and setting up Mount while combining for 28.9 points a game themselves.