UCLA Men's Basketball to Honor 1972 Team on March 5
The UCLA men's basketball program will honor the 50th anniversary of its 1971-72 team winning the NCAA Championship, when the Bruins close their regular-season schedule at home on Saturday, March 5.
Members of the Bruins' 1972 NCAA Championship-winning team will be honored during a special halftime ceremony as UCLA hosts USC that Saturday evening.
The 1971-72 squad won the eighth NCAA men's basketball title in program history, posting a perfect 30-0 record. The Bruins defeated Florida State, 81-76, in the championship contest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on March 25, 1972.
The NCAA title-winning team in 1972 was coached by the late John Wooden, who helped UCLA win 10 NCAA titles during his final 12 seasons as the program's head coach. Wooden guided the Bruins to perfect seasons (30-0 record) in 1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973.
UCLA's 1971-72 team included just one returning starter from the previous season, in senior Henry Bibby. Junior Larry Farmer had been a top reserve for UCLA the previous season and took over one of the vacated forward positions, averaging 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
But the big story for the five-time defending NCAA champions was the team's three sophomores, led by 6-foot-11 center Bill Walton. On his way to establishing himself as one of the game's premier players, Walton led the Bruins in scoring (21.1 points per game) and tied Lew Alcindor's school record by collecting 466 rebounds (Alcindor is now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).
Two other key sophomores included Keith Wilkes (now known as Jamaal Wilkes) and Greg Lee. Wilkes averaged 13.5 points, second only to Walton and Bibby (15.7 ppg). Lee had assumed UCLA's point guard responsibilities, averaging 8.7 points per game while running the team's fast break.
The starting unit also received help from Larry Hollyfield (7.3 ppg) and Tommy Curtis (4.1 ppg). Swen Nater, an eventual first-round NBA Draft selection, was also a key contributor from the bench (6.7 ppg).
UCLA's game against USC, scheduled for Saturday, March 5, will be nationally televised ESPN. Game time is 7 p.m. (PT) in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.