Your coverage of the college basketball playoffs (March 19 et seq.) has been outstanding. And the quality of basketball being played is better than ever. It's really a shame that the college football moguls and the television networks can't also see the sense and advantages in a playoff system for the No. 1 spot in the No. 1 sport. Once again, we have an undisputed college basketball champion. And once again, we have a disputed college football champion (although Alabama should have been a shoo-in). Let's hope a change is forthcoming.
Regarding the NCAA basketball tournament, it just goes to show that a postseason playoff system is a damn poor way to select the national champion.
Davidson College may have given Tom Leifsen rides in a helicopter and in a Rolls-Royce, but the University of Pennsylvania gave him a ride into the final four of the NCAA tournament. The article by Marian Leifsen on the recruiting of her son (A House Divided, March 5) was great, and if this doesn't prove that Mother knows best, I don't know what will.
Congratulations on the absorbing article by Frank Deford on UCLA '64 (The Team of '64, March 26). As a basketball buff from way back, I often wonder what happened to the players on some of the super college teams.
I handled the publicity for the 1964 Olympic Basketball Trials at St. John's in New York, and we were all interested in the undefeated Bruins who tried out, but, alas, they were physically and mentally spent after their grueling regular-season and postseason play.
Many of us at the Trials felt that if only one UCLA player was to be selected by the committee, as turned out to be the case, it should have been young Gail Goodrich. However, the committee knew of the many contributions of Walt Hazzard over a three-year period, and he really earned his place on that Olympic team headed by Princeton's Bill Bradley.
I doubt if you could have uncovered a story more pulsating than the after-basketball adventures of those players who put UCLA on the map. Thanks.
C. ROBERT PAUL JR.
Director of Communications
U.S. Olympic Committee
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Many thanks for the retrospective on the '64 Bruins. Frank Deford's nostalgic walk through Westwood had just the right mix of wistfulness and fond memories. But tell Keith Erickson that he's wrong. I remember that '64 team. So do many others.
Thank you and Frank Deford for bringing back the memory: '64 was the year of the Forest Heights Junior High Eagles of Little Rock, Ark., too. I remember us well—not a starter over 5'11", low turnover rate, high shooting percentage and, yes, a suffocating full-court press that enabled us to win the state championship game by two points. See, when we took the court, we became the UCLA Bruins, our idols. My name might as well have been Erickson or Hirsch or Goodrich.
Your article was great. I read it with goose bumps and a lump in my throat. Memories of championships are one of life's pleasures.