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Original Issue


Hooping It Up

I find it hard to believe you feel there are 27 college
basketball teams better than the Maryland Terrapins (COLLEGE
HOOPS PREVIEW, Nov. 25). In an era when a senior-led team from
any baby conference can make a run to the Elite Eight or Sweet
16, you manage to disrespect the defending national champions,
who now have four tournament-tested seniors returning, including
a four-year starter at point guard. See you in March.
Adam F. Niedelman Pawtucket, R.I.

Who picked Indiana 37th? Was it Private--he's been
demoted--Knight? Nah, it couldn't be. He would have had them
lower than that.
Gary Hayes, Wyoming, Pa.

Do the Right Thing

Alexander Wolff's Just Do It Right (Nov. 25) hits nothing but
net. Today's players are fundamentally challenged, lack teaching
coaches and believe their own hype. They strive to emulate Magic,
Michael and Larry, but they miss the point: These men were among
the most fundamentally sound players of all time. It is time for
more basic coaching at all levels. Even this die-hard Los Angeles
Lakers fan enjoyed watching the New York Knicks of the
1970s--because they rarely made a mistake.
Jim Grigsby, Irmo, S.C.

I guess style still wins out over substance, because you put two
behind-the-back passers on your cover.
Dan Hansen, Madison, Wis.

The biggest reason that kids have no basketball fundamentals is
that they play for too many noncoaches in the off-season. The
state athletic associations need to give the players back to
their high school coaches year-round so they can develop a sense
of team play. When the associations restricted the time school
coaches could spend with kids in the off-season so a kid wouldn't
specialize in one sport, it didn't change a thing. They are still
specializing--only now it's with someone who is not teaching them
how to play. Many high school coaches spend the first month of
their season undoing the wrongs that have been learned in the
Jeff Pafunda Seffner, Fla.

I disagree with Wolff's assertion that the "dribbling is as good
as ever." If Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich or Oscar Robertson were
allowed to palm the ball like the players now do with every step
down the court--and especially on every move around a defender--I
can't even begin to imagine what their numbers would have been.
Judging by the way youth and rec leagues allow the practice to
flourish as the kids mimic what they see on TV, it's only going
to get worse. Since, as Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings points
out, the game is now "played more off the dribble" than off the
pass, this must seriously be addressed at the earliest ages.
Mac Joiner, White Marsh, Md.

Wolff's Five Terrific Teachers (Nov. 25) left out the greatest
fundamental basketball teacher of all time. Bob Knight will
always hold that title.
Keith Seelbach, Farmersville, Ill.

Good Sport

Ian Alan Naismith (The Olden Rules, Nov. 25) admirably followed
in his grandfather's footsteps this summer. While I was in
Indianapolis for a bone-marrow transplant and high-dosage
chemotherapy for testicular cancer, I visited the NCAA Hall of
Champions. Ian was there with his one-man Naismith Sportsmanship
Tour. He talked with me about his grandfather and the wholesome
roots of basketball. He showed me the wonderful original 13
precepts of basketball. Whether he suspected that I was dealing
with cancer I do not know. What I do know is that at a time of
great challenge in my life, Ian's enthusiasm for life and the
game of basketball gave me much needed inspiration.
Douglas R. Beam, Melbourne, Fla.

Play School

Your story on IMG Academies is just another sad example of
parents trying to live their unfulfilled athletic dreams through
their children (The Ultimate Jock School, Nov. 18). Does it make
sense to spend $120,000 on a high school education for the chance
of getting a $60,000 college scholarship? It sounds like finance
classes were not offered at the IMG Academies this semester.
Mark Almeda, Seattle

Here's a news flash for all those highly motivated parents paying
for a sports education at IMG. If you can afford the Academy,
your kid does not need a college scholarship.
Kerry Rifkin, Orange Park, Fla.

So, are we really supposed to believe that there is a school out
there called IMG Academies for kids ages nine and up where sports
come first and classes are worked in around training regimens?
That this school is owned and operated by the world's largest
sports agency? That parents can buy on-campus condominiums (for
as much as $500,000) so they never have to miss watching a single
training session? Where the focus for the team sports is on
individual development rather than on the team? And the annual
tuition is nearly $70,000 per year? I'm not falling for this one.
I have been reading SI long enough to remember the Sidd Finch
gag. This story is even more far-fetched. Nice try, but how dumb
do you think we are?
Todd Coghi, Aspen, Colo.

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