Dons Invade NCAA — No Losses, No K.C.

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Caption from March 20, 1956: Remarkable Russell floats by UCLA’s Willie “The Whale” Naulls, to score one of his many field goals against the Bruins. Big Russ, the tournament’s most valuable player counted for twenty-one points in the Varsity’s 72-61 drubbing of the UCLAns in the first game of the NCAA Western Regionals on last Friday night in Corvallis, Oregon. Instrumental on defence, Willyum [sic] blocked numerous Bruin shots and controlled the backboards. FOGHORN/GLEESON LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

Note from the Sports Editor: College basketball season is right around the corner. In the spirit of the season, we’re revisiting the Dons undefeated national championship run in 1956. We have retained the original formatting to maintain the story’s original voice. The article was published with no visible author.

 

1956 San Francisco Foghorn

The University of San Francisco minus K.C. Jones, but plus 250 eager voiced students trudge to Corvallis, Oregon next weekend to do battle with the UCLAns of the PCC in the National Collegiate Athletic Association regional playoffs.

The Dons leave by train on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Pressure is equally distributed on both the Hilltoppers and the Bruins: the Green and Gold enters the tourney without their caption and floor leader, while the Southerlanders fear that the men from the Bay City have their number.

Each has a mental block to knock aside.

 

Only One Cure

A remedy for USF’s ail- ment has already been found in 6-2, 170 lb, Eugene Brown, who replaces Casey’s cool defensive tactics with hot shooting and tremendous board play, but UCLA has yet to find a cure-all for its dastardly headache—fear of the Don’s smooth and flawless play.

Gill-Coliseum will be jammed as it was last year; Utah and Seattle will play in the event as they did last year; people will oh-ah-ah at the Green and Gold as they did last year;—and the Green and Gold will, win it again. When the starting fives are put face to face the Dons hold the advantage.

At the guards the Blue and Gold has 6-3, Jumping Jack Maurice Taft who is second in scoring in the Pacific Coast Conference. Hev is not a flash on defense but his hanging jump shot is almost unstoppable.

The other guard will be Skeeter Banton who is a standout board man and shooter. He is a tough man to have against you.

Now the Dons, on the other hand counter with 5-11 Harold Perry, a smooth ball handler and defensive man. An excellent outside push shot, and inside jump shot make him feared on offense.

 

Long Shot

Sophomore Gene Brown, 6-2, untested and untried in the NCAA tournament, is the second guard. His long arms and deadly jump shot will be invaluable to the Hilltoppers and his board play will be added strength.

The Bruins offensively have the better of it at the post position, as Naulls is the PCC’s leading scorer who can hit from any place.

The Dons have Bill Russell, who is no slouch on offense, but is the game’s greatest defensive player, and causes the opposition’s game to be shaky.

At the forwards is where the game will be decided with the Bruins boasting of Allen Herring, 6-3, of any great playing ability.

Don Burke usually handles the other spot, and has a good shot from the side. But both are poor on the boards.

 

Forwards Finest

The Dons on the other hand have two good board men in Mike Farmer and Carl Boldt, who has begun to shine defensively.

Their offense lies in Farmer’s outside shooting with his booming jump shot while Boldt’s one handed set is phenomenal and a thing of beauty (when he’s on).

The way it stacks up is that the Bruins have the guards, it’s even at the center, but the Dons have more power at the forwards which tends to tip things in their favor.

The Dons won the NCAA Championship in 1956. They have not won it since. On that team were future NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Both were drafted to the NBA two months after this article was written. Russell was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks then traded to the Boston Celtics, who drafted Jones as well. Jones finished his nine-year career with 5011 career points and eight NBA championships. Russell is considered one of the greatest players of all time, winning five MVP awards, 11 All-NBA awards, 11 NBA Championships, and is second all-time in career rebounds with 21620.

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