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Utah The First Cinderella
ALEXANDER WOLFF
March 22, 2010
Led by Arnie Ferrin Jr. and Wat Misaka, the 1943--44 Utes peaked at just the right time and became the unlikeliest of champions
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March 22, 2010

Utah The First Cinderella

Led by Arnie Ferrin Jr. and Wat Misaka, the 1943--44 Utes peaked at just the right time and became the unlikeliest of champions

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Dick Smuin, that crouching catcher of fighting chickens, died in 2001, two weeks after Sept. 11. When Jim Smuin visited his father at the hospice on the day of the attacks, Dick was watching the coverage on television. "This is going to be exactly like what Misaka had to go through," Dick said, alluding to what he feared was in store for Arab-Americans.

Two years ago Jim paid a visit to the home in Bountiful, Utah, that Wat Misaka shares with Katie, his wife of 58 years. Wat pulled him aside and said, "Your dad promised me that he'd have my back. That he'd make sure nothing ever happened to me. He did."

Misaka then gestured at a table covered with pictures of his and Smuin's Utah teams. They're evidence that Dick Smuin knew when to get out of his crouch and stand up. "I want you to look at these," Misaka said. "Look who's next to me in every picture."

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