USF’s storied history makes resurgence welcome
level of the game. Starting three African American players — K.C. Jones, Hal Perry
and the incomparable Bill Russell — Woolpert engineered back-to-back NCAA titles (1955 and ’56) and had a 60-game winning streak along the way.
It’s fairly common knowledge that the USF teams of the late ’70s and early ’80s, featuring Bill Cartwright, James Hardy, Winford Boynes and Quintin Dailey, were as troubled as they were talented, leading to NCAA-enforced probation, individual run-ins with the law and eventually a three-year shutdown of the program (1982-85). But there’s so much more to the story.
Over the years, the Dons sent Fred Lacour, Joe Ellis, Phil Smith, Kevin Restani and Eric Fernsten to the NBA, among many others. Oakland-raised Don Lofgran,
the high-flying star of Newell’s ’49 team, had a one-handed jump shot that struck many as pure innovation. Russell’s teams represented the pinnacle, but USF reached the NCAA Tournament three straight years in the Sixties (1963-65) and eight times between 1972 and ’82.
Excitement has returned to the Hilltop. It’s a cool place to be — and for those with the seasoned view, that is pleasantly familiar.
Change in the air
Admiring Smith’s clever schemes, and alarmed by the disappointing Cal program under head coach Wyking Jones, Bay Area insiders wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith in charge of the Bears’ program before long ... Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura is an interesting player not just by the numbers (20.8 points per game). The son of a Beninese father and Japanese mother, he grew up in a coastal town outside Tokyo, didn’t start playing basketball until he was 13, and began speaking English only three years ago. “We get a lot of tapes” on the recruiting trail, said Few, “and here’s a guy from Japan. But then you put your eyes on him, and you’re like, We’d better look into it.” With Tokyo due to host the 2020 Olympics, he’s the centerpiece of that country’s quest to qualify for the basketball competition for the first time since 1976 ... With the Premier League soccer season so substantially covered by the NBC sports networks, it’s great to hear that Christian Pulisic is transferring from Borussia Dortmund (Germany) to Chelsea. He’s only 20 and surely will be the highestprofile American ever to play overseas. Chelsea invariably fields a top-level squad, and there could be pure magic if Eden Hazard sticks around (he’s rumored to be leaving for Real Madrid) and teams with Pulisic ... For those who missed “Split End: The Curious Case of Warren Wells”
Saturday night, take note that there will be an encore presentation at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 24 on NBC Sports Bay Area. Among the fascinating stories told: Wells and Otis Taylor, two of the greatest deep threats the game has ever known, were together in Kansas City camp in 1967. The Chiefs let Wells go and Raiders owner Al Davis
didn’t hesitate to pick him up.
It’s probably not wise to suggest that Kyler Murray
could be part of a revolution in the NFL, featuring quarterbacks who rely heavily on their running ability. Fran Tarkenton and Roger Staubach were mind-blowing scramblers, but
“It defies common sense,” Stokesbary said. “Why can an athlete be paid by one governing body and not another?”
The distinguishing characteristic of Stokesbary’s proposal is that it doesn’t require a school or any other party to pay college athletes, and thus doesn’t threaten non-revenue sports (to anticipate one concern). It simply allows the athletes to be compensated by any party for their services up to the fairmarket value of those services, and to retain an agent. Both are prohibited by NCAA rules
To use Stokesbary’s example, under his bill a shoe company would be able to pay a University of Washington running back $50,000 to appear in a television commercial. And if the NCAA or Pac-12 tried to prohibit such payment, it would be a violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act and state antitrust laws.
Could the school itself pay athletes, if it so chose? Stokesbary is open to that. He points out that non-athletes in college have the opportunity to find paying jobs in their field, so why not athletes?
Christian (10-4, 1-3), No. 11 Bellarmine (11-3, 2-2) travels to No. 20 St. Francis (8-6, 0-4) and No. 10 Serra (11-3, 3-1) plays at No. 16 Sacred Heart Cathedral (1-3).
Riordan is coming off an 84-40 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday in which Je’Lani Clark had 20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Bryce Monroe added 14 points and Justice Turner and Chime Ugbaja added 10 points each.
St. Ignatius, after beating Sacred Heart Cathedral 65-45 on Tuesday in the BruceMahoney game, took a 17point lead into the fourth quarter in a 61-49 home win over Serra on Thursday. Wrenn Robinson scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Neal Begovich added 12 for the Wildcats. Cade Rees had 17 of his 24 in the fourth for Serra. there’s no future in that. Michael Vick inspired a lot of young running quarterbacks, but he wasn’t an instrument of change. There was talk of Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and
Russell Wilson revolutionizing the position when they entered the league, but the old ways — run only when necessary — eventually prevailed. Now there’s Baltimore’s
Lamar Jackson, who reminds many of Murray with his blinding speed, but his quarterback rating (84.5) ranked with the worst among starters this season ... Enjoyed this take from ESPN’s Keith Law ,on his Hall of Fame ballot: “We can put in inferior players because their friends are on the various committees. We can put in Bud Selig, who oversaw a work stoppage that nearly killed the industry, then happily looked the other way while performance-enhancing drugs appeared in the game and the owners counted their money. We can certainly put in
“The way the bill is written, it’s intentionally very openended and permissive,” he said.
Stokesbary believes that in such a system, premier athletes would stay in school longer, because they no longer would feel pressure to turn pro to cash in on their talent. That would enhance both the fan experience and their educational experience.
Stokesbary can hear you screaming, “But what about their scholarship? Isn’t that compensation enough?” His counter-argument is that yes, it’s indeed valuable, but if you are providing services that result in earnings that far exceed the value of that scholarship, you should be able to get a share of it.
“There are a number of people, high-profile cases, who are contributing to the university and NCAA far more than the $50,000 value of tuition,” he said. “It seems kind of unfair that at the end of the day, the people in charge get to say, ‘We’ll keep all the money, and you don’t get any.’ ” GIRLS
#1 Mitty 69, #15 St. Ignatius 50: Haley Jones had 22 points, Ania McNicholas 12 and Marley Langi 10 for the visiting Monarchs (12-2, 3-0 WCAL), who went on a 28-5 run starting late in the second half after the Wildcats (11-5, 1-2) tied the game 25-25. Rachel Harviey, Soon Ja Elzie and Maddie Ennis combined for 25 points for St. Ignatius.
#16 St. Francis 48, #12 Sacred Heart Cathedral 44: The visiting Irish (7-6, 2-1), coming off an overtime win over St. Ignatius, had a 10point lead with five minutes remaining but couldn’t hold off the Lancers (13-2, 2-1).
Head coach Mark Few and Gonzaga are ranked fifth.
USF senior point guard Frankie Ferrari leads the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6-to-1).
Russell (left) and team captain K.C. Jones led the Dons to their second straight national title in 1956.