After watching the Pan American basketball trials (April 7, 8, 9 at the University of Minnesota) and considering the 18 choices for the Pan Am squad, I am tempted to think that several members of the Pan American selection committee must have been viewing their first basketball games. Some of the choices were so illogical that the motives of the committee might be questioned.
The Minneapolis Tribune named Earl Monroe of the NAIA, the leading scorer during the trials, and Darius Cunningham of the armed forces as the two outstanding players of the trials. Yet neither was selected for the Pan Am team. Perhaps the committee was trying to maintain a balance of white and black players. (Of the 18 men named to the team plus six alternates, 12 are white and 12 are Negroes.) But consider another case in point: the selection of Kendall Rhine (AAU, formerly of Rice) and Dan Anderson (AAU, formerly of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, chosen as an alternate) over Elvin Hayes ( NCAA). Neither Rhine nor Anderson would approach stardom on a major-college team, much less overshadow a player of Hayes's ability. In fact, Anderson was the poorest player at the trials.
Considering the omission from the team of Monroe, Cunningham and Hayes (all Negroes), it seems that the committee was using the trials as a yardstick for judging some players, but not others. Monroe's Globetrotter style of ball-handling may have offended some people, but it could not detract from the fact that his scoring and several assists stamped him as an excellent ballplayer who could help any team. And Cunningham's hustle, playmaking and defensive ability went unnoticed only by the committee.
MEET MRS. MITTY
I thought your readers might like to hear about a funny incident for which your magazine was responsible.
Last December my mother started to read SI with great interest, and her interest took its toll. While I was home on vacation this spring, she had an extremely vivid dream concerning pro football. It seems she was hired as head coach of a pro team called the United Stales All-Stars. She noticed that the team was not quite as energetic as it could be and wondered what might be done to revitalize them. After much thought, she suggested that they eat dog food, consisting of horsemeat, along with a 15� vitamin pill. This diet was an immediate success; the team improved with great speed after only a few weeks.
My mother seemed very proud the next morning when she related her dream, because her team had gone on to win the world championship.
My mother and I are both sure it was your magazine that caused this dream, because we live in Bermuda and our only source of news concerning American football is SI. But I'll never know where she cooked up the dog food.
THE RATING GAME
I completely enjoyed Frank Deford's analyses of the games UCLA played in the NCAA basketball tournament. Frank's analyses are very similar to the findings I obtained by using the Offense Efficiency Rating System (OER), which I developed.
Here are the conclusions that I came to after studying the OER statistics for UCLA games with the University of the Pacific, Houston and Dayton:
UCLA did not exhibit a superior offense. From a total of 240 possessions of the ball in these three contests, UCLA scored 232 points. By dividing the total points by the total possessions. I found that the Bruins rated an OER of .97 points per possession. This is good—considering the caliber of opposition they met—but definitely not outstanding. Ohio State won the Big Ten title in Jerry Lucas' junior and senior years with identical 1.07 OERs, Michigan won the Big Ten title in 1965 with an average OER of 1.08 points, and Tennessee set the all-time high of 1.13 in the 1965-1966 season.