All-Time Cal Basketball Team

Jeff82
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At Cal, KJ’s teams were better than CJ’s, but with a coach like Padgett, there was not much any of the players could do to make Padgett’s teams better, IMO.

Truer words were never spoken. When it comes to recruiters who couldn't coach, Padgett led the list. He was basically the anti-Newell.
SFCityBear
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Jeff82;842841041 said:

I would add Bob McKeen and Bob Presley at center, and Sean Lampley at one of the forward spots. Hard to leave off two guys who were once the all-time leading scorers, and Presley was fairly dominating in the middle when he played.


If you look again, I already did have McKeen on the list at center, and Lampley as a power forward. I listed Presley as #2 center on the all-defensive team, but you are right, he should be listed at center on offense as well, so I will add him to the list.
Jeff82
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Sorry. My oversight.
SFCityBear
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Jeff82;842841045 said:

At Cal, KJ's teams were better than CJ's, but with a coach like Padgett, there was not much any of the players could do to make Padgett's teams better, IMO.

Truer words were never spoken. When it comes to recruiters who couldn't coach, Padgett led the list. He was basically the anti-Newell.


Thanks. Padgett was a pretty good high school player for Shasta, up in Redding. He was named to the 1948 Tournament of Champions all-tournament team, and played 3 years for Oregon State. As a coach, he took San Jose City College to the 1960 State JC Championship, and was very successful at Nevada Reno as well. The PCC level of play coaching star athletes were just too much for him, I guess. He was a helluva recruiter, though. Presley, CJ, Ridgle, Chenier, Truitt, Coughran, and more. He also served as principal of a new high school education program in the state prison at Carson City, which one of the most innovative and successful prison education programs in the country.

At Cal, I used to watch Newell's basketball practices whenever I had time. They were mostly drills and individual teaching, Pete coaching one or two players at a time on footwork, usually. Not much scrimmaging. Years later, when Jim Padgett arrived, I attended a couple of practices as well. It was mostly scrimmaging, and when Jim gathered the players to speak with them, he usually was smoking a cigarette, which shocked me. Even back then, we all knew that cigarettes would affect your breathing. I never saw Newell smoking at all, and I think if he caught a player smoking, he would have taken the cigarettes away and made the player go take an extra run up to Grizzly Peak.
SFCityBear
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concordtom;842840981 said:

Yes, that's a great collection, SFC!
Thanks.
Regarding the comparison between players of 50 years ago vs players of today... I guess that would be 1967 to 2017, just to pick a year, but go ahead and pick any year you like.... I seem to be saying that the average player today is better than the average player from then. I gave rationale for that belief, and so did you. So, do you think that the middle of the Pac team would beat the middle of the Pac team today?

I got into a discussion with another dad regarding a draft for an all-time nba greats team during a swim meet Saturday (lots of time to kill at those) and he asked what era of rules we were playing under. I suppose that's a fair question. Anyways.... Nice list of players there, SFC.


I don’t think I ever gave any rationale for the average players of this generation to be better than the average players of any generation of years ago or vice-versa. I have argued until I am blue in the face that the opposite is true, the average player today is not necessarily better than the average player of years ago, and opposite is not true either. I don’t think it is accurate to generalize, in this case. I think you get into trouble, because you are thinking of the best players of an era, not the average. And the different rules of today create both a different style of play and a player with different skills, a player who would have trouble adjusting to the game of old. Just as the old-time player would have trouble adjusting to the rules of today.

When you say average player today, that is the player on the bench of a 15 or 18 man team, so that is the guy at the bottom of the rotation, #8, or the best of the players at the far end of the bench. The difference is that schools in Pete’s day had unlimited scholarships available, and today they have only 13. Newell had 45 players on scholarship, 28 of them on the JV or Varsity, so Newell’s average player would have been about #14 or a player who seldom, if ever got into a game. Theoretically then, the average modern player should be better, but I argue that with over 300 D1 schools now, and very little instruction in fundamentals at the high school and earlier levels, the pool of good players is greatly reduced, and the talent below the starting five today is not very impressive at most schools I see. Pete gave out 17 new scholarships every season. I tried out for his freshman team. Every one of those recruits was either a league MVP or an all-league player, or a 7-footer with potential. I would challenge any of our recruiting experts to find 17 recruits we could sign, when we are competing with over 300 colleges to get them.

IMO, former Cal starters like Dwight Tarwater, Eric Verneisel, Brandon Smith, Gary Franklin, and Christian Behrens, IMO, would not have started for any of Newell’s teams, or been on his roster, and would not even have been on his JV teams, except for Behrens, because he is 6-9 and you always take chances on tall players if there is one available. Also, IMO, players who played roles on Cal teams like Emerson Murray, Bak Bak, Kahlil Johnson, Rafi Chalian, Garrett Galvin, Nikola Knesevic, Nican Robinson, Nigel Carter, Pat Armstrong, Rob Filley, Thomas Fang, David Liss, Taylor Harrison, and Kaileb Rodriguez would not have been on Cal’s varsity or JV rosters under Newell. Domingo would not have started for Newell, as he did not start for Martin. I don’t know if Ivan Rabb starts for Newell as a frosh or a soph, as Newell might go with the proven veteran like a Bill McClintock who was a 24-year old ex-marine as a sophomore, who seldom made a mistake. There are maybe 5 current players who might not make a Newell roster, and two who would, K2. There was no one in Newell’s day like Jaylen Brown, so I think it is easy to get impressed with players like that, but I just don’t think you are figuring in the players at the end of the bench into your calculation of what is an average player. Apologies to any fan who got offended here. I liked them all. It is just an opinion.

Interesting you should pick 1967, because then we are getting into some real athletes, UCLA won the AAWU with Kareem, Lucious Allen, Mike Warren, Lynn Shackleford, Edgar Lacey and scoring 90 points per game. Cal was a middle of the pack team, with All-American Rusty Critchfield and Bob Wolfe, and in 1968 Cal added Bob Presley and Trent Gaines. I’d say the 1968 team could play with any middle of the pack team today, and even beat them under the old rules, except those were the years of black players revolting against the coach and the white players, which the coach, Herrerias, could not handle, and it affected their performance. Presley could easily have been the dominant center in the PAC last season. I don’t think the charging and ball-handling rule changes would have affected him much.
UrsaMajor
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SFCity:

This is fun. I think part of the problem with comparing eras is that players look (and are) different. I can't recall a 7-foot small forward from the 50's or 60's, but today's game has/had Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, etc.

There is no question that athletes today are much better than 50 years ago. This is not to say that players are necessarily better. The population is much larger and by demographics alone, those who make high D1 are the best of a larger group. They are also better conditioned (in terms of nutrition, types of conditioning, etc.). In my sport (swimming), for instance, the difference is striking. Mark Spitz set 7 world records in the 1972 Olympics. In 2016, he wouldn't have even qualified for Olympic trials. On the other hand, there is some evidence in my mind that players in the 60's (to pick a decade) had better skills, perhaps because they couldn't rely on athleticism as much.
Jeff82
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SFCityBear;842841083 said:

Thanks. Padgett was a pretty good high school player for Shasta, up in Redding. He was named to the 1948 Tournament of Champions all-tournament team, and played 3 years for Oregon State. As a coach, he took San Jose City College to the 1960 State JC Championship, and was very successful at Nevada Reno as well. The PCC level of play coaching star athletes were just too much for him, I guess. He was a helluva recruiter, though. Presley, CJ, Ridgle, Chenier, Truitt, Coughran, and more. He also served as principal of a new high school education program in the state prison at Carson City, which one of the most innovative and successful prison education programs in the country.

At Cal, I used to watch Newell's basketball practices whenever I had time. They were mostly drills and individual teaching, Pete coaching one or two players at a time on footwork, usually. Not much scrimmaging. Years later, when Jim Padgett arrived, I attended a couple of practices as well. It was mostly scrimmaging, and when Jim gathered the players to speak with them, he usually was smoking a cigarette, which shocked me. Even back then, we all knew that cigarettes would affect your breathing. I never saw Newell smoking at all, and I think if he caught a player smoking, he would have taken the cigarettes away and made the player go take an extra run up to Grizzly Peak.


You would remember this better than me, but my understanding is that Padgett was supposedly hired based on his ability to recruit, and to relate to black players. He replaced Herrerias, whose background as the coach at SI, it seems to me, left him uniquely poorly prepared to work with the athletes of the late 60s. Padgett was a great recruiter, although my understanding is that his recruitment didn't exactly emphasize the academic records of his players. On smoking, Newell supposedly smoked as well, including at practices. This is discussed, I think, in Feinstein's A Season Inside, where Newell said he gave up coaching because his doctor said he had to give up coffee and cigarettes, which Newell said he couldn't do without because of his nerves while coaching.
Jeff82
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I'm not sure I agree with your thesis about the quality of players, or maybe it changed just after Newell's era. Case in point, one of Padgett's strategies against Kareem (nee Alcindor) was to start Clarence Johnson, a seldom-used reserve who mostly came to Cal as a high jumper, as I recall. Since Johnson was on the team, but rarely played, it's not clear to me that your thesis about schools stockpiling players is correct as of the late 60s. Maybe it was something specific to Newell's era in the 50s?
RichyBear
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Actually I think Cal's 1967 team with Russ Critchfield and Charlie Perkins would do better today with the 3 point basket then they did in 1967. Both were deadly from 3 point range, but in 1967 they got only 2 points for those shots.
concordtom
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SFC,
I'll accept your argument that the average player at the average San Francisco high school was better then than today. You've said elsewhere that (the average) kids played more at playground than they do today. OK. On that basis, I'll agree with you.

But what I have said is that the elite today is better, and anybody making a CAL roster is elite. But why? If for no other reason, competition for those spots is much greater, per:

Google says:
Population USA
180.7 million (1960)
321.4 million (2015)


It's much harder to get into elite schools academically just the same. Not only USA population has increased, but we educate the world now, too.
SFCityBear
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Jeff82;842841171 said:

You would remember this better than me, but my understanding is that Padgett was supposedly hired based on his ability to recruit, and to relate to black players. He replaced Herrerias, whose background as the coach at SI, it seems to me, left him uniquely poorly prepared to work with the athletes of the late 60s. Padgett was a great recruiter, although my understanding is that his recruitment didn't exactly emphasize the academic records of his players. On smoking, Newell supposedly smoked as well, including at practices. This is discussed, I think, in Feinstein's A Season Inside, where Newell said he gave up coaching because his doctor said he had to give up coffee and cigarettes, which Newell said he couldn't do without because of his nerves while coaching.


I think you are right about Padgett’s hiring. There was a lot of racial turmoil on campus at the time, and especially on the basketball and football teams where blacks had united and threatened boycotts because of their perception that white players had the ball too much, or black players weren’t getting enough playing time. Herrerias had continued Newell’s attempts to recruit black players. The first was Bill Carter, the AAA high jump champion in high school, and later Bob Presley. Jim Padgett, Herrrias’ assistant coach, recruited other black players. It did not help that Herrerias was a stickler for rules and discipline, like trying to get Bob Presley to show up for practice or trim his Afro. I don’t know that Herrerias was any worse prepared to deal with the black players than other coaches of the day because he had coached at SI. He was Newell’s only assistant for 6 years, head coach of the freshman team, and he had to have worked with all of Newell’s black players, of which there were at least 4 that I remember. One was Dub Washington, from Galileo, and Dub played out the season, and never told me anything about having any trouble with Herrerias as a coach. But that was 1960, and not 1968. Newell was a pioneer of sorts in recruiting black basketball players, bringing the first ones to Cal and to Michigan State, was not well prepared to deal with the turmoil either, and he was the Athletic Director during the Herrerias tenure. The whole University was having to deal with this. In 1955, there were less than 100 blacks on campus. At Cal in 1962, I had a black roommate, a friend from high school, who did not play sports, and was an intellectual. He dreamed of being a history or chemistry professor. He later went to medical school at the insistence of his parents, and ended up a suicide He couldn’t stand the sight of blood, and overdosed on narcotics he was able to obtain at a hospital during his residency as a doctor. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided, if his parents had cut him some slack, IMO. Many blacks who arrived on campus in those days were trying to adjust to a practically all-white world, and find a way to fit in and make their way, and it was a trying time for them. Bob Presley was also a tragic figure, and also committed suicide like my roommate Charlie did.

Not only was Herrerias unprepared to deal with the black players, but Newell himself was unprepared for the challenges in recruiting these players. Many prominent alumni did not want Cal to recruit them, and many University administrators provided no tutors or special help, and no relaxing of admission standards at first. Newell was unable to recruit these players to USF as far as I know, but Phil Woolpert, who followed Newell, did bring in some black players, as did Jim Weaver at St Marys, but both USF and St Marys did not have the academic standards that Cal had, and they did not flunk students out at a high rate, like Cal did. In those days, a lot of players left the Cal teams to concentrate on studying so they would not flunk out. The Cal frosh of 1960 started out the season with 18 players, but was down to 12 or so after a few weeks, as players quit the program. You sure don’t see that today. Newell recruited 4 black players and two flunked out. One returned two years later. The other one finished school in Missouri, and later came back to chair an Ethnic Studies program at UC Berkeley. Ironic.

I would say the early black players were not prepared to deal with the University and the life there either. My friend Charlie, even though he went to Lowell High, which was mostly white, Jewish, and Asian, with few blacks, prepared him better to deal with being black at Cal, but he was not able to deal with the very high expectations his parents had for him. I can only guess at what it meant to a kid like Bob Presley, where he had to struggle to survive in a very tough Detroit ghetto. Being in Berkeley, at Cal, and playing basketball for a disciplinarian who expected far more maturity from his players than Bob was able to accept, must have really tormented him, IMHO. By the way, Newell could not deal with what was going on at Berkeley either, as I remember it. As soon as he hired Padgett as head coach, Newell also resigned as athletic director and took a job as GM of the San Diego Rockets.

As to Pete Newell smoking, I had heard that, but I went to dozens of practices and never saw it at practice anyway.
SFCityBear
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Jeff82;842841173 said:

I'm not sure I agree with your thesis about the quality of players, or maybe it changed just after Newell's era. Case in point, one of Padgett's strategies against Kareem (nee Alcindor) was to start Clarence Johnson, a seldom-used reserve who mostly came to Cal as a high jumper, as I recall. Since Johnson was on the team, but rarely played, it's not clear to me that your thesis about schools stockpiling players is correct as of the late 60s. Maybe it was something specific to Newell's era in the 50s?


I don't know if it was stockpiling. When I think of stockpiling, I think of USC football, which for many years attracted so many great players, and often the NFL was drafting their 2nd stringers. One reason they may have done it was to keep other schools from getting them, and of course, football is a contact sport with a lot of injuries, so you need more bodies, and the better the bench is, the better your team should be, theoretically.

Newell's reasons for having a big program with 45 players in it was not injuries, because in those days, serious injuries that would cause a player to miss games or a season were very rare. I think it was because he lost so many players due to academics. Players flunked out, or quit the team to concentrate on their studies, so they would not flunk out. Most who quit or flunked out were freshmen. I lived in a dorm my first year, and several freshmen students on my floor flunked out that year. I moved to a fraternity for a year, and several more flunked out there as well. I went to Lowell, a supposedly good school. We sent 98 students from my class of 300 to Cal in my freshmen year, and several of us flunked out or transferred to other schools, the work was so difficult.

The other reason was that Newell was a teacher. He was not allowed to play freshmen, and he rarely started a sophomore. Most of his starters were seniors, starting for the first time. Newell had brought them along slowly. The best freshman were brought up to the varsity for their second year, but others were sent to the junior varsity for more coaching and experience, like Bob Dalton, who was later brought up to the varsity and began starting. Bill McClintock was a 24 year old JC transfer, and clearly seemed like he should start as a soph, but Jack Grout started most of the games, until later in the season when McClintock had learned enough to become the starter.

Scholarships were not restricted (Pappy's football teams suited up over 100 players for home games). One difference with Newell was that all players who got a scholarship had to have a 20-hour job to keep the scholarship. This irritated me, because jobs were not plentiful for students, and the athletes were given priority for campus jobs, and many were given jobs by alumni with nearby businesses, leaving the rest of us to compete for the jobs that were left.

I don't know what recruiting or the size of the program were like in 1968. I'm not sure when Cal and other schools discontinued their JV programs, or when the NCAA began to limit the number of scholarships. In 1972, the NCAA changed the rules and allowed freshmen to play on the varsity, which I guess must have eliminated frosh basketball teams in the conference. With Title IX coming into being and scholarships were limited to 13 players, college basketball programs changed even further. They might want to reconsider that, since injuries play such a big part in the game now.
bearmanpg
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SFCityBear;842841398 said:

I think you are right about Padgett’s hiring. There was a lot of racial turmoil on campus at the time, and especially on the basketball and football teams where blacks had united and threatened boycotts because of their perception that white players had the ball too much, or black players weren’t getting enough playing time. Herrerias had continued Newell’s attempts to recruit black players. The first was Bill Carter, the AAA high jump champion in high school, and later Bob Presley. Jim Padgett, Herrrias’ assistant coach, recruited other black players. It did not help that Herrerias was a stickler for rules and discipline, like trying to get Bob Presley to show up for practice or trim his Afro. I don’t know that Herrerias was any worse prepared to deal with the black players than other coaches of the day because he had coached at SI. He was Newell’s only assistant for 6 years, head coach of the freshman team, and he had to have worked with all of Newell’s black players, of which there were at least 4 that I remember. One was Dub Washington, from Galileo, and Dub played out the season, and never told me anything about having any trouble with Herrerias as a coach. But that was 1960, and not 1968. Newell was a pioneer of sorts in recruiting black basketball players, bringing the first ones to Cal and to Michigan State, was not well prepared to deal with the turmoil either, and he was the Athletic Director during the Herrerias tenure. The whole University was having to deal with this. In 1955, there were less than 100 blacks on campus. At Cal in 1962, I had a black roommate, a friend from high school, who did not play sports, and was an intellectual. He dreamed of being a history or chemistry professor. He later went to medical school at the insistence of his parents, and ended up a suicide He couldn’t stand the sight of blood, and overdosed on narcotics he was able to obtain at a hospital during his residency as a doctor. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided, if his parents had cut him some slack, IMO. Many blacks who arrived on campus in those days were trying to adjust to a practically all-white world, and find a way to fit in and make their way, and it was a trying time for them. Bob Presley was also a tragic figure, and also committed suicide like my roommate Charlie did.

Not only was Herrerias unprepared to deal with the black players, but Newell himself was unprepared for the challenges in recruiting these players. Many prominent alumni did not want Cal to recruit them, and many University administrators provided no tutors or special help, and no relaxing of admission standards at first. Newell was unable to recruit these players to USF as far as I know, but Phil Woolpert, who followed Newell, did bring in some black players, as did Jim Weaver at St Marys, but both USF and St Marys did not have the academic standards that Cal had, and they did not flunk students out at a high rate, like Cal did. In those days, a lot of players left the Cal teams to concentrate on studying so they would not flunk out. The Cal frosh of 1960 started out the season with 18 players, but was down to 12 or so after a few weeks, as players quit the program. You sure don’t see that today. Newell recruited 4 black players and two flunked out. One returned two years later. The other one finished school in Missouri, and later came back to chair an Ethnic Studies program at UC Berkeley. Ironic.

I would say the early black players were not prepared to deal with the University and the life there either. My friend Charlie, even though he went to Lowell High, which was mostly white, Jewish, and Asian, with few blacks, prepared him better to deal with being black at Cal, but he was not able to deal with the very high expectations his parents had for him. I can only guess at what it meant to a kid like Bob Presley, where he had to struggle to survive in a very tough Detroit ghetto. Being in Berkeley, at Cal, and playing basketball for a disciplinarian who expected far more maturity from his players than Bob was able to accept, must have really tormented him, IMHO. By the way, Newell could not deal with what was going on at Berkeley either, as I remember it. As soon as he hired Padgett as head coach, Newell also resigned as athletic director and took a job as GM of the San Diego Rockets.

As to Pete Newell smoking, I had heard that, but I went to dozens of practices and never saw it at practice anyway.



Did you by any chance room with Presley too??? (just a joke sfcb)
CalHoopFan
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concordtom;842841299 said:

SFC,
I'll accept your argument that the average player at the average San Francisco high school was better then than today. You've said elsewhere that (the average) kids played more at playground than they do today. OK. On that basis, I'll agree with you.

But what I have said is that the elite today is better, and anybody making a CAL roster is elite. But why? If for no other reason, competition for those spots is much greater, per:

Google says:
Population USA
180.7 million (1960)
321.4 million (2015)


It's much harder to get into elite schools academically just the same. Not only USA population has increased, but we educate the world now, too.


All of the older coaches and broadcasters (70+ years old) agree that todays elite HS talent is light years better than it was 25 years ago much less 50.

More people, better athletic ability, training, nutrition, weights, coaching and they play A LOT more today.

Jay Bilas (not an older guy but a middle aged one) did a full radio show on this and used himself as an example of a kid who was a top 100 player out of HS in the 80's but would now be a top 500 player. Said it's not even close.
concordtom
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CalHoopFan;842841631 said:

All of the older coaches and broadcasters (70+ years old) agree that todays elite HS talent is light years better than it was 25 years ago much less 50.

More people, better athletic ability, training, nutrition, weights, coaching and they play A LOT more today.

Jay Bilas (not an older guy but a middle aged one) did a full radio show on this and used himself as an example of a kid who was a top 100 player out of HS in the 80's but would now be a top 500 player. Said it's not even close.


Well, I agree, as I've made the case for in the past. But, as SFcity has argued against it, I have tried to see his side of things. I said I could agree that the average high school player at the average high school today is potentially no better than 50 years ago.
And in exchange for that admission, I am hoping that SFC can see his way to agree that the elite players of today, either in high school or in college, are much better today than previously. Since he did not did not accept my prir rationale that players today work on their craft more (thru AAU, et al), I'm now just using a near doubling of population as rationale.
I note that I have not yet received a direct response.
UrsaMajor
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As I posted above, there is ample irrefutable evidence that athletes today are better than 50 years ago. Look at track records or swimming records, or any sport with objective records. And it's not just the top elite athletes, but it trickles down. As a high school swimmer, my time in my best event was 2nd best in my school's history; today it wouldn't have even made the team. Now, are the players better? My best take is that in some ways they are (look at shooting %ages, for instance), perhaps there are skills that aren't taught as much anymore, although that may be because of the changes in the game.
RichyBear
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CalHoopFan;842841631 said:

All of the older coaches and broadcasters (70+ years old) agree that todays elite HS talent is light years better than it was 25 years ago much less 50.

More people, better athletic ability, training, nutrition, weights, coaching and they play A LOT more today.

Jay Bilas (not an older guy but a middle aged one) did a full radio show on this and used himself as an example of a kid who was a top 100 player out of HS in the 80's but would now be a top 500 player. Said it's not even close.


That's true, but he's now over 60 years old.
concordtom
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RichyBear;842841982 said:

That's true, but he's now over 60 years old.


Jay Bilas
53 years
December 24, 1963
RichyBear
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concordtom;842842053 said:

Jay Bilas
53 years
December 24, 1963


So I was off a few years. i was trying to paraphrase a quote made by Roger Hornsby in the 1950's. Roger was asked how Ty Cobb would do if he was playing then. Roger answered 'Oh, he be up among the leaders'. The reporter replied, 'Is that all." Roger repiled, 'After all, he's over 60 years old."
barabbas
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UrsaMajor;842835815 said:

Shareef was not a center. I'm glad to see some love for Charlie Johnson, but I'd take Phil Chenier over him. I also thought the Jackie Ridgle never really reached his potential (thanks, Padgett). Al Grigsby deserves a little love, although he wasn't as good as the three Richy lists. If this was an all-defensive team, I'd put Bobby Dalton in there, as well.


Both Jackie Ridgle and Ansley Truitt belong in the Cal Hall of Fame. I don't understand why they have been overlooked for so long. They are so much better than so many others in their respective sports that are in the HOF!
concordtom
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UrsaMajor;842841734 said:

As I posted above, there is ample irrefutable evidence that athletes today are better than 50 years ago. Look at track records or swimming records, or any sport with objective records. And it's not just the top elite athletes, but it trickles down. As a high school swimmer, my time in my best event was 2nd best in my school's history; today it wouldn't have even made the team. Now, are the players better? My best take is that in some ways they are (look at shooting %ages, for instance), perhaps there are skills that aren't taught as much anymore, although that may be because of the changes in the game.


That's a great point.
BUT, did your school build a new "splash free" spillover pool? Dig a super deep pool to further lessen the reverberation splash back? Or are all the swimmers wearing floating fullbody suits to lessen water tension.

No? Okay, valid point!!!

As for track, the new running surfaces make a HUGE difference, in my opinion.
UrsaMajor
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concordtom;842842494 said:

That's a great point.
BUT, did your school build a new "splash free" spillover pool? Dig a super deep pool to further lessen the reverberation splash back? Or are all the swimmers wearing floating fullbody suits to lessen water tension.

No? Okay, valid point!!!

As for track, the new running surfaces make a HUGE difference, in my opinion.


You're right that technology has a significant impact as well (although we swam in a very deep pool, as it happens). Just as a side note, the fullbody tech suits were banned in 2009. Most of us thought that the early 2000's would be like the steroid era in baseball--records that would stand for a very long time. It took about 2 years for almost all of them to fall, as swimmers kept getting faster.

One other factor we haven't mentioned that adds to the argument. In addition to population demographics, the addition of foreign players to the pool further increases the numbers. In the 50's basketball was essentially an American sport; today it is big all over the world. St. Mary's roster, for instance is nearly 50% Aussie, and even Cal has had foreign players more often than not (King currently).
Bearprof
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Hate to raise the issue, but another factor that may have improved sport performance in recent years is PED use. May be more common than we know, even among HS athletes. On this topic, I have long felt that the NBA is probably a major PED scandal waiting to happen. Hard for me to believe it is not widespread. Whenever I see Lebron I have to wonder.....
concordtom
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Bearprof;842842599 said:

Hate to raise the issue, but another factor that may have improved sport performance in recent years is PED use. May be more common than we know, even among HS athletes. On this topic, I have long felt that the NBA is probably a major PED scandal waiting to happen. Hard for me to believe it is not widespread. Whenever I see Lebron I have to wonder.....


I have wondered about this as well. NBA and PEDs - how can they go that hard for that many games?

High schoolers go thru NO testing.
Some might rationalize, "if I can get a scholarship for 4 years, it'll be worth it." If they get one, they can they drop the regimen and just be a benchwarmer with no further adverse affect, if there is one.

My cousin played football for U-Texas. I hadn't seen him in years so when I did it was like OMG - he's my size but was huge, and he won the strong man competition on the team. His eldest brother had done Steroids a dozen years prior just for the looks (texas vanity), and so I'm sure Brian did it, too. He looks a hell of a lot like me now that he's retired from the sport. My uncle and I asked him once and he was like, "oh, no, I'd never do that...." Yeah, right. hahaha...
Sad...

Anyways, I think you're right.
But, some argue it will become an anti-aging drug that is very commonplace, so who's to say.
I wouldn't touch it, but can see the benefits - recovery from injury and such.
SFCityBear
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UrsaMajor;842841130 said:

SFCity:

This is fun. I think part of the problem with comparing eras is that players look (and are) different. I can't recall a 7-foot small forward from the 50's or 60's, but today's game has/had Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, etc.


I would ask you this: Can you name a 7 foot center playing today, who could match Wilt Chamberlain for size, athleticism, strength, basketball skills, and who completely dominated every game he played in? By the way, I like Durant a lot, and his career still has years to go, but for me, I'd still rather have Larry Bird or Rick Barry playing small forward (especially in Barry's early years before he blew out his knee). They were better team leaders, better passers, along with scoring, rebounding, and defense. BTW, the reason there may not be centers today to compare with Wilt might be that so many 7 footers want to emulate players like Durant, wanting to shoot three pointers, develop a handle, and disdain weight lifting like Durant has done. Richard Solomon was like this, and his dream was to be a perimeter player when he came to Cal, and it took him 3 years to learn that he should get stronger and play center. Wilt, said by many to be the strongest man in the world in his day, worked hard at weightlifting his whole career.

Quote:

There is no question that athletes today are much better than 50 years ago. This is not to say that players are necessarily better. The population is much larger and by demographics alone, those who make high D1 are the best of a larger group. They are also better conditioned (in terms of nutrition, types of conditioning, etc.). In my sport (swimming), for instance, the difference is striking. Mark Spitz set 7 world records in the 1972 Olympics. In 2016, he wouldn't have even qualified for Olympic trials. On the other hand, there is some evidence in my mind that players in the 60's (to pick a decade) had better skills, perhaps because they couldn't rely on athleticism as much.


With all due respect, I would be careful making exclusive statements like this. The sentences we use mean things. When you write that "athletes today are better," the English sentence means "all athletes" or "any athletes" are better, which is easily proven to be untrue. You are only looking at the cream of the crop, the best athletes. Many participants in sports in any era are not good athletes. I already listed many players who played basketball for Cal recently who were not very athletic. Without naming players on the current team now, who have not finished their careers, there were some recent players I liked, such as Robert Thurman, Jeff Powers, Rafi Chalian, Garrett Galvin, Bak Bak, Brandon Smith, and on and on. They did not fail to be great players because they did not have enough basketball skills, but because of having less athleticism than their teammates. They were athletes, but not good athletes, and would not have been considered such in any era. If you had written "many athletes", or "most athletes," are better today, I'd have no quarrel with it.

Looking at the best athletes, you chose the sport of swimming as an example of improved athleticism. Swimming is in a special category, because the goal in swimming is to move through a very dense and viscous substance, water, while nearly all other sports are played in air above a surface, where friction is minimal by comparison. Different muscles are used than in say track and field, for example, and none of the movements in swimming are utilized in other sports. Your comparison is good, but it is very limited. I prefer using track and field to compare, and I prefer using the decathlon as defining the best all-around athletes. It is basic athletics: running, jumping, agility, and throwing different objects long distances.

In 1960, running was done on a cinder track, while today the track is a faster composition material. Improving technology has streamlined the design of shoes and uniforms to increase speed and reduce drag. The pole vault depends more now on the inertia provided by the flexible pole than on the athleticism of the athlete. The landing pit of the high jump has been made much softer with thick foam, which permits athletes to flop over the bar, back first, and land on their head or neck and not injure themselves, a superior style to the old scissors style.

I looked at the records of the personal bests of Rafer Johnson who won the Decathlon in Rome in 1960 and Ashton Eaton who won the Decathlon in Rio in 2016:

Johnson's personal bests in the shot put, discuss throw, and javelin throw are all much better than Eaton's records. Eaton's personal bests in the 400 meters, the 110 meter hurdles, and the long jump are all much better than Johnson's. I think with the faster track, uniforms and shoes, Johnson's 100 meter time would be better than Eaton's. Eaton's high jump was done with the modern flop style and Johnson's with the old scissors style, and can not be compared. Likewise the pole vault as Johnson did his with a stiff pole and Eaton's was done with a flexible fiber pole, so the records are not comparable. Johnson ran the 220 yard dash in the 1960 Olympics, but in 2016 that event had been replaced with the 1500 meters run by Eaton, which is also not comparable. So for the 10 events, I have Johnson winning 4 events and Eaton winning 3 events, and 3 events that could not be compared. So I think Johnson proves to be at least as good a decathlete as Eaton. Not only that, but Rafer Johnson was a starter for two years on the UCLA basketball team, for John Wooden. However, looking at two athletes, I would not claim "athletes from 1960 are better," just that we should not assume that "all athletes" from any generation could not compete against another generation.
concordtom
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You mention Eaton....
How would Mark Eaton have done in the 1965 NBA?

And funny you mentioned Bird over Durant, cause they were just talking about that on ESPN - saying that Durant is the taller better overall player, but nobody says so because Bird had that successful run with Boston and Durant has yet to win his first championship. Suggestion being, when it's all said and done, Durant will have some titles and folks will accept him as the better Bird, blasphemy be damned.

I'd have liked to see a Wilt/Shaq showdown.
If you put Shaq in the 1960's low contact, how many points would he have scored?
If you put Wilt in the 1990's pound/pound/pound, how strong would Wilt seem to be? It would have been Hack-A-Wilt, career 50% FT's, and with a lot more 7' beef in the league than 30 years prior. Wilt wouldn't have gotten away with so many of those elegant looking dipper flips, I say. Ewing and Oakley (not to mention Laimbeer and Mahorn) would have shoved him around big time, making it much more difficult. I'm not saying that Wilt wouldn't be a great player today, but he ain't scoring 100, or averaging 50.

You and I are like a tennis match on this, SFC. I'm going to win the rally. :p But I always enjoy a good strong rally with a fun partner on the other side of the net.
UrsaMajor
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SFCity:

Now you're doing it--comparing a single athlete to another single athlete; I disagree that decathlon necessarily should be the benchmark. True, it defines the best "all-around athlete" in T&F, but it involves individuals who must sacrifice performance in one event in order to compete in 10. My point regarding swimming (and the same holds true for T&F) is that at the high school level, records have fallen to the point where today's average high school swimmer/runner would have qualified for Olympic Trials in 1960 in many events. The current high school mile record would have been the world record until 1966. The high school record holder today wins the 100 meters in the Olympics in every Olympic Games until 1976. I could go on, but hopefully you get my point.

Actually, I think it is the opposite of what you say, SFCity. I certainly agree that Wilt was as good an athlete as you'll ever see at his size. Where the real difference is, in my view, is in the average. In part, this is because of demographics. With a population nearly twice that of the 60's, athletes are the best from a much larger pool. The improvements in diet, training, etc. lead to more individuals being better at their sports. There is also something that in psychology is known as the Flynn phenomenon. For reasons that are not at all understood, average IQ (and average physical prowess as well) has been steadily increasing, at least in the States.

A couple more minor points: your sophistry in saying that my sentence about athletes today necessarily meant "all athletes" is, frankly, beneath you. You know full well that is not what I meant. This is an internet forum, not a court of law. If you want to parse sentences, go right ahead, but I expect more from you. Secondly, I reject your dismissal of swimming as a special case because it involves water. I would submit that most sports--if not all--involve specialized skills and muscle groups. As I noted above, track and field has shown similar improvements and--most importantly--not just at the top.
roqmoq
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Bearprof;842842599 said:

Hate to raise the issue, but another factor that may have improved sport performance in recent years is PED use. May be more common than we know, even among HS athletes. On this topic, I have long felt that the NBA is probably a major PED scandal waiting to happen. Hard for me to believe it is not widespread. Whenever I see Lebron I have to wonder.....


No need to wonder about LeBron. He's one of a kind. I saw him at Cal in an AAU tournament when he was a HS Sophomore playing for the Oakland Soldiers. When the game was over, he came to sit in the stands with his mother. I was about 5 people away from him. He was solidly built back then. Compared to the other guys, including an older Marquise Kately, he was a Man and the others were kids. Unless he was doping back then, he was simply a winner in the genes department .
SFCityBear
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concordtom;842841299 said:

SFC,
I'll accept your argument that the average player at the average San Francisco high school was better then than today........


My argument? Where did I say this? I never made this argument, never said it at all. How many times do I have to correct what you say that I said? You drive me nuts. If you don't want to read the posts, don't. But if you comment on them, please read them before you do.

Quote:

But what I have said is that the elite today is better, and anybody making a CAL roster is elite.


No, you did not say "the elite today is better.". What you said is that "the average player today is better" and here is the proof, from your post #102 in this thread on 5-26-2017:

"Regarding the comparison between players of 50 years ago vs players of today... I guess that would be 1967 to 2017, just to pick a year, but go ahead and pick any year you like.... I seem to be saying that the average player today is better than the average player from then."

So do you want to change your mind now? There are different definitions on this board of elite. At least you have provided your definition, but I don't think that you will find many who agree with you that anybody who makes a Cal roster is elite. So Rafi Chalian and Kaileb Rodriguez were elite players? Those two could not have made a Cal roster in 1960, not varsity, not junior varsity, and not the freshman roster, IMO.

Quote:

But why? If for no other reason, competition for those spots is much greater, per:

Google says:
Population USA
180.7 million (1960)
321.4 million (2015)


It's much harder to get into elite schools academically just the same. Not only USA population has increased, but we educate the world now, too.


The population has increased by 78%, but the number of D1 schools has increased from 175 in 1960 to 347 today, or 98%, nearly doubling the number of slots available. If the team size remains the same, say 16 players per team, this means that 2,800 players played on 175 teams in 1960, and 5,552 players played on 347 teams last season. So 0.00155% of the population played D1 ball in 1960, while 0.00172% played D1 ball last season. The percentage of the population playing D1 ball is actually higher today than it was in was in 1960.

Last season, one study showed that 11% of college players were foreign-born, or 611 players. That leaves 4,941 American players playing D1 basketball last season, or 0.00154%, almost exactly the same percentage of the US population as the 0.00155% of the US population playing D1 ball in 1960. The increase in population has nothing to do with whether the average player today is better.
SFCityBear
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UrsaMajor;842843272 said:

SFCity:

Now you're doing it--comparing a single athlete to another single athlete;


So you are allowed to use one player to make a general argument, but I am not allowed to respond to your argument by selecting a different player to make an equal argument for my side?

Quote:

I disagree that decathlon necessarily should be the benchmark. True, it defines the best "all-around athlete" in T&F, but it involves individuals who must sacrifice performance in one event in order to compete in 10. My point regarding swimming (and the same holds true for T&F) is that at the high school level, records have fallen to the point where today's average high school swimmer/runner would have qualified for Olympic Trials in 1960 in many events. The current high school mile record would have been the world record until 1966. The high school record holder today wins the 100 meters in the Olympics in every Olympic Games until 1976. I could go on, but hopefully you get my point.


I chose to use the decathlon as an example, because it is a measure of some of the athletic qualities needed to play modern basketball: running for speed, running for endurance, jumping high, jumping forward, and making movements using great force and agility. It is just like basketball, in the sense that the athlete who wants to excel as a player has to learn to excel in several different types of athletic movements, and can't just concentrate on one athletic skill or event to achieve a record time, height, or distance for that event. If a basketball player only has one athletic talent or skill, he is not likely going to be a good basketball player. If a decathlete wants to win a decathlon, he has to compete well in all or several events.

Quote:

Actually, I think it is the opposite of what you say, SFCity. I certainly agree that Wilt was as good an athlete as you'll ever see at his size.


For the record, I didn't say this at all. What I remember saying was that Wilt was a better or much better center than any center playing today. I expect that maybe someone might come along who is a better center, but it hasn't happened yet.

Quote:

Where the real difference is, in my view, is in the average. In part, this is because of demographics. With a population nearly twice that of the 60's, athletes are the best from a much larger pool. The improvements in diet, training, etc. lead to more individuals being better at their sports. There is also something that in psychology is known as the Flynn phenomenon. For reasons that are not at all understood, average IQ (and average physical prowess as well) has been steadily increasing, at least in the States.


Well, now I am confused. You say that you were talking about elite players, but now you are talking about average players. Which is it? See my response to Concord Tom on demographics. There is a 78% larger pool of Americans, but there are 98% more D1 basketball teams. The percentage of Americans playing D1 basketball today is exactly the same as it was in 1960, after correcting for foreign-born players. The difference is even more drastic in the NBA. There were 8 NBA teams in 1960, and there are 30 NBA teams today. What this means is just what it says, more population, more players, not necessarily better players, elite or average. There is no logic in saying that because there are more people, that the basketball players will somehow get better, is there? I can buy some of the other reasons, but I would quibble on diet, anyway. I've listened to interviews of Cal players and when the subject turns to food, what I hear is cheeseburgers and pizzas, not kale or broccoli. I have a cousin who was just voted the best athlete in his high school, and his sister is ranked nationally in the 200 meter run, and they both live on junk food.

Quote:

.........I reject your dismissal of swimming as a special case because it involves water. I would submit that most sports--if not all--involve specialized skills and muscle groups. As I noted above, track and field has shown similar improvements and--most importantly--not just at the top.


I just said I'd rather use the decathlon. I did not mean to belittle swimming as a sport. I have great respect for swimmers and their records, and for any swimmer such as yourself. I was such an awful swimmer, I could barely pass the simple test to swim the length of a pool in order to graduate from high school. I had severe asthma as a child, and never could learn how to breathe properly in the water. Swimming is a terrific sport. I would give anything to have learned to swim adequately.

Quote:

A couple more minor points: your sophistry in saying that my sentence about athletes today necessarily meant "all athletes" is, frankly, beneath you. You know full well that is not what I meant. This is an internet forum, not a court of law. If you want to parse sentences, go right ahead, but I expect more from you.


Ha! That is a good one. Reminded me of some great literature: Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll:

"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master that's all."

I'm sorry if you took offense to my post. You write "today's athletes are much better," and then tell me I should have known that you meant something different elite athletes. I am a simple man, not a mind reader. How am I supposed to know what you meant, other than from the words you wrote? If you meant "today's ELITE athletes are better," then why not write that? Basketball "players," or "athletes" to me means, and will always mean, both Jaylen Brown and Jeff Powers. Both are players, and both are athletes, aren't they?

I am having a similar discussion with Concord Tom here, where he wrote, "the average athlete today is better." When I mentioned players like Thurman and Powers, et al, he responded that what he said was that today's "elite athletes are better." I guess he expected me to know that when he wrote "average" athlete, he meant "elite athletes". Well, average does not mean elite. And Tom's definition of "elite" is different from yours, I'll bet. If we all are not willing to take the time to actually write what we mean, then we have all wasted a lot of time here. Please don't expect me to be a mind reader. Just say what you mean. I am sure if we had this discussion in person, instead of electronically, we could both explain our points better and understand each other better. So many people misunderstand and even get offended by the written word in blogs or in e-mails, written in haste or not carefully. It is one great failing of modern society becoming dependent on electronic messages for communication, IMO.
UrsaMajor
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I agree that writing these makes it easy to misunderstand. When I said today's athletes, I was speaking generally, not all-inclusively. We can argue forever about Kevin Durant v. Rick Barry, or Jerry West v. Steph Curry, and never get anywhere because they never played against each other and never will.

Athletes IN GENERAL and not ALL are better than 50 years ago, with some exceptions. I cited world records to point out that today's AVERAGE high schoolers are approaching the level of yesterday's ELITE athletes in the individual sports. How that translates to team endeavors such as basketball or baseball is open to debate...and it's a debate that cannot be resolved in part because they can't play against each other and they played against different opponents. How would Steph Curry fare if he were guarded by Bob Cousy? I have no friggin' idea. How would Wilt do against Shaq O'Neal? No idea (although I actually think Wilt was a lot better than Shaq, but that's an unsubstantiated opinion).
SFCityBear
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concordtom;842843266 said:

You mention Eaton....
How would Mark Eaton have done in the 1965 NBA?


Mark Eaton and Wilt Chamberlain (from Wikipedia):

"Eaton transferred to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1980, but did not see much action in his two seasons with the Bruins. In his senior season, he played just 42 total minutes, averaging 1.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11 games. Eaton was initially disappointed with his inability to play effectively as a Division 1 collegiate player. Wilt Chamberlain, who frequently attended UCLA practices after his retirement from the NBA, saw Eaton's frustration and, on one occasion, personally took him under a basket to explain that Eaton needed to focus on protecting the basket, getting rebounds, and passing the ball to quicker guards, rather than trying to compete with smaller, quicker players in scoring. Eaton has cited Chamberlain's advice as the turning point in his basketball career."

So to answer your question, Eaton might have done well in the NBA in 1965, but only if he had already listened to Wilt Chamberlain's advice.

Quote:

And funny you mentioned Bird over Durant, cause they were just talking about that on ESPN - saying that Durant is the taller better overall player, but nobody says so because Bird had that successful run with Boston and Durant has yet to win his first championship. Suggestion being, when it's all said and done, Durant will have some titles and folks will accept him as the better Bird, blasphemy be damned.


Maybe so, but Durant will have to surpass Bird as a passer and clutch shooter in the final seconds for me to agree. Plenty of time left for KD. Did you know that Wilt was Kevin Durant before there was Kevin Durant? Did you know that Wilt played guard for the Harlem Globetrotters? That was because fans wanted to see him handle the ball, score and dish. Think Shaq or any NBA center today could do that?

Quote:

I'd have liked to see a Wilt/Shaq showdown.
If you put Shaq in the 1960's low contact, how many points would he have scored?


Maybe 30 points a game, if you believe this article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/356231-who-is-more-dominating-wilt-or-shaq

Quote:

If you put Wilt in the 1990's pound/pound/pound, how strong would Wilt seem to be?


He'd be the strongest man on the floor, with the most stamina. He bench pressed 500 lbs, and played 48 minutes just about every game, with just as much bumping, grabbing, shoving, holding going on as in any era.

Quote:

It would have been Hack-A-Wilt, career 50% FT's, and with a lot more 7' beef in the league than 30 years prior.


They had already tried the "Hack-a Wilt" as you call it in the '60s and '70s. It was a useless tactic, and it never stopped Wilt, like it never stopped Shaq. Their teams still won games. There was always 7' beef in the NBA. 30 years later, there was more, just because there were many more teams. I've tried to tell you many times that quantity does not mean quality, but your mind is closed to any sort of facts or logic. You would rather hypothesize and fantasize.

Quote:

Wilt wouldn't have gotten away with so many of those elegant looking dipper flips, I say.


There you go again making things up. What is a "dipper flip"? Never heard of it.

Quote:

Ewing and Oakley (not to mention Laimbeer and Mahorn) would have shoved him around big time, making it much more difficult.
.

Ewing was a fine player but Wilt was taller, 20-60 lbs heavier (depending on what stage of Wilt's career they played in), and stronger than Patrick, so how does Ewing "shove him around big time?" Oakley was 5"-6" shorter and 50-90 lbs lighter than Wilt, so you better rethink that one. Mentioning Laimbeer and Mahorn (two of the dirtiest players to ever have played), well, you must be joking. Neither one was even the best defender on their team -- that was Rodman. Both Laimbeer and Mahorn were 240 pounders. Do you know what Wilt would do to a 240 pounder? I once saw Wilt break up a fight between Al Attles and Bob Ferry (who was 6'-9", 240 lbs), by picking Ferry up off the floor, and throwing him 10 rows up into the stands.

Quote:

I'm not saying that Wilt wouldn't be a great player today, but he ain't scoring 100, or averaging 50.


Well, I'll take the word of players who faced Wilt or saw him play, rather than take the word of someone who lives to bash and trash any player who played before you got interested in basketball. Try these videos of players talking about Wilt's strength:





Quote:

You and I are like a tennis match on this, SFC. I'm going to win the rally. :p But I always enjoy a good strong rally with a fun partner on the other side of the net.


This is no tennis match. This is you trying to find new ways to annoy me by bashing and trashing players you never saw play vs someone who is trying to ask for a little respect for older players. Not all older players are good enough to play in your fantasy world, but many are. You may think you are winning these rallies, but you have not made a single cogent point yet.

I've had enough of this pointless exercise. I hate to do this, because you are probably a very nice guy, but you are now on my ignore list. Not because you are mean and nasty, like the others on my list, but because I can't help respond to your ridiculous questions and statements. I always get sucked in, and I have neglected too much of my life already trying to educate you a little. Go find another tennis player to play with.
concordtom
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SFC: I can see you're really upset.
Never my intention for you to be tormented.
I recall talking you out of BI retirement 2 years ago, but now you are at that point again where you must put it down. Okay, no more tennis.
I've enjoyed your company. Be well, my bearly friend.
concordtom
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SFC, here's the roster of the 75-6 Celtics champions.
How on earth do they win with a starting lineup of:
Dave Cowens 6-9 center
Paul Silas 6-7 PF
John Havlicek 6-6 SF
Charlie Scott 6-5 SG
Jo jo White 6-3 PG

Were they the original small ball warriors?
Oh, wait, they Warriors have had a number of 7 footers playing rim protector roles, whereas these Celtics had not one player taller than Cowens.
One example/reason for my dissing eras past. But again, there's no need for you to take it personally!

.... these Celtics beat the Suns, who had one 6-10 player Dennis Awtty. Hmmm. How on earth did they get past Kareem??

ADD: I just went thru mid 70's seasons (when I was not yet 10 and not yet paying attn). The answer is that Kareem was not playoff successful with LA until Magic showed up. He went to LA in 75/76 season, didn't make top 5 to qualify for playoffs that season. In 77 it was Walton's year, then supersonucs in 78 and again 79.
Finally, magic and showtime era in '80.
By that time, Kareem was already 31. Yes, he'd have success in Milwaukee, but this all time great was an also-ran thru much of his prime. Interesting. At least when it comes to contending for "chips"
mbBear
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concordtom;842845233 said:

SFC, here's the roster of the 75-6 Celtics champions.
How on earth do they win with a starting lineup of:
Dave Cowens 6-9 center
Paul Silas 6-7 PF
John Havlicek 6-6 SF
Charlie Scott 6-5 SG
Jo jo White 6-3 PG

Were they the original small ball warriors?
Oh, wait, they Warriors have had a number of 7 footers playing rim protector roles, whereas these Celtics had not one player taller than Cowens.
One example/reason for my dissing eras past. But again, there's no need for you to take it personally!

.... these Celtics beat the Suns, who had one 6-10 player Dennis Awtty. Hmmm. How on earth did they get past Kareem??

ADD: I just went thru mid 70's seasons (when I was not yet 10 and not yet paying attn). The answer is that Kareem was not playoff successful with LA until Magic showed up. He went to LA in 75/76 season, didn't make top 5 to qualify for playoffs that season. In 77 it was Walton's year, then supersonucs in 78 and again 79.
Finally, magic and showtime era in '80.
By that time, Kareem was already 31. Yes, he'd have success in Milwaukee, but this all time great was an also-ran thru much of his prime. Interesting. At least when it comes to contending for "chips"


Kareem isn't all that different than most greats of the era. I did the research, and don't have it at my finger tips but: no one was winning championships without at least 2 All Stars on the team. That wouldn't be all that shocking in this (the free agent) era, but so many teams had at least one terrific player back then...
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