Lew Alcindor at UCLA
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Uploaded on May 29, 2008
Heavily sought by collegiate basketball programs, he played for the UCLA Bruins from 1966 to 1969 under coach John Wooden, contributing to the team's three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses, one to Houston (see below) and the other to crosstown rival USC who played a "stall game" (i.e., there was no shot clock, so a team could exploit the rules by, basically, holding the ball as long as it wanted before attempting to score). During his college career he was twice named Player of the Year (1967, 1969), was a three-time First Team All-American (1967-69), played on three NCAA Basketball champion teams (1967, 1968, 1969), was honored as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969), and became the first-ever Naismith College Player of the Year in 1969. In 1967, 1968 he also won USBWA College Player of the Year which later became the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Note: Freshmen were not eligible to play, so Alcindor only had 3 years to play, not four. The 1965-1966 UCLA Bruin team was the preseason #1. But on November 27 1965, the freshmen team led by Alcindor defeated the varsity team 75-60 in the first game in the new Pauley Pavilion. This defeat had no effect on the varsity's national ranking. It was still number one the following week.
The dunk was banned in college basketball after the 1967 season, primarily because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot.
While playing for UCLA, he suffered a scratched left cornea on January 12, 1968 at the Cal game when he got struck by Ted Henderson of Cal in a rebound battle. He would miss the next two games against Stanford and Portland. This happened right before the momentous game against Houston. His cornea later would be scratched again during his pro career and he would then wear goggles for protection.
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