We are going to try to get the break and run like we did in the old days," says UCLA's scholarly Johnny Wooden, an assertion that must puzzle some observers. Granted, West Coast fans are used to seeing their racehorses out at Santa Anita, and some pretty deliberate play on the basketball court. But Wooden has always ignored that tradition, urging his teams up and down just as fast as their spindly legs could carry them. He's known, in fact, as Mr. Run. When he says, "We're going to try to run more" the opposition had better be prepared for a dash.
The man designated to speed up the already peppy UCLA game is lean, agile, compact Walter Ernest Hazzard, a jack-in-the-box who almost surprised Cincinnati out of the semifinals last season. The 6-foot-2 junior has the slickness of a professional guard and is obviously qualified to run the UCLA show.
The trouble with Hazzard is that he may be too good for the new boys that must replace three starters who graduated. "The sophomores will have to adjust to Hazzard's passing," Wooden points out. "He has the ability to hit men who don't even realize they're open." The problem faced by Wooden and Hazzard is not hopeless, for UCLA's newcomers have talent. With Hazzard in the back-court will be 6-foot-1 sophomore Freddy Goss, a young man with very good speed and, off his high school form chart, the ability to score lots of points. The third guard in Wooden's swing system on the backline is Gail Goodrich. A double-jointed 6-footer, he was the undefeated freshman's (20-0) leading scorer.
If UCLA is going to have problems, it will be up front. The pivot is in the capable hands of Fred Slaughter. At 6 feet 5, Slaughter is not big, but he is strong and deceptively fast. Six-foot-6 Dave
Wax-man, who alternated with Slaughter in the pivot last year, moves back to forward where he is more at ease. Jack Hirsch, whose blistered feet kept him out last season, will probably start as the other forward. If not, it will be 18-year-old Keith Erickson, a
6-foot-5 junior-college transfer. UCLA may get off slowly; its schedule is imposing. But it will be set when conference play begins.