Dawn Staley has earned her ﬁrst NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship by leading the South Carolina Gamecocks to a thrilling victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The ﬁnal score was 67-55. Mississippi State seemed ready to win it all, since they had deli shopping lost to previous champion, the University of Connecticut.
Staley became the second African-American woman to win an NCAA Basketball Championship. Carolyn Peck, who coached Women’s Basketball at Purdue University, was the ﬁ rst African-American woman to win a National Title.
Jim Hill, the great television broadcaster for CBS deserves an award for his excellent coverage of last seasons collegiate basketball teams. He gave a great television salute to the Trojans. This team has rarely been seen on local television, and that is a shame. They now have an excellent team, and they play an exciting game of up-tempo basketball. However, last season, they played before a lot of empty seats.
When you consider the success that Gonzaga has had, it makes you wonder what’s wrong with USC, UCLA, and other local schools. All of the schools have better opportunities to recruit the best players. Also, Gonzaga has a student body of only 8,000 students. A young athlete could ﬁ nd a lot of reasons not to go there. The Gonzaga campus is located in Spokane, Washington. This little city is in the middle of nowhere, and to make things worse, it rains there most of the time. What I am trying to say is that there are more reasons not to go to Gonzaga than there are to enroll there.
The information that Georgetown University has ﬁ red John Thompson III, as their head basketball coach made me sad. His father, John Thompson II put Georgetown on the collegiate basketball map. He had these great teams, which were primarily African Americans, who played the game at a very high energy level. They may not have been the best basketball players in the world, but no one worked harder at the game than they did.
During those days, it was rare to see so many African American athletes on the same team. As a result, the Georgetown Hoya’s were kind of adopted by the African American community. Some of their least informed fans thought that Georgetown was a Historically Black University, which is not.
There are a great number of collegiate basketball stars. However, most of them will not do well at the professional level. So, if I could pick only one player for my team next year, it would be the Gonzaga point guard, Nigel Williams-Goss. I think that he is the kind of player that the Lakers, or even the Clippers for that matter, could use. He has great basketball leadership, and at the height of 6’5″, his body is built to withstand the rigors of playing in the NBA.
Sports is playing a big part in changing the culture of the United States. There are more opportunities now for minorities than there ever was before. Therefore, this should provide us with a great incentive to intensify the early training of African American students. This is a serious national issue, and it requires the immediate attention on a national basis.
[Email: Johnr@ PasadenaJournal.com]