Younger Walton Honors Wooden on the Court

Bill Walton is among the greatest college basketball players in history, and if you've ever watched a game he was broadcasting, he'll tell you where the credit lies for his success.

John R. Wooden.

The former UCLA coach, often referred to as the "Wizard of Westwood", won 10 National Titles while he was at the helm of the Bruin program, all while teaching his players the importance of the team-first approach and being a well-rounded player.

Bill Walton parlayed Wooden's teaching into three National Player of the Year awards and three National Titles during his stay in Westwood. Bill's son, Wildcat forward Luke Walton, might never receive the same accolades that his father did, but he is doing his best to honor Wooden's teaching while he's playing.

"I listened to everything (Wooden) told my dad when I was growing up," Luke said after leading Arizona to a 79-66 victory over Purdue in the Wooden Classic. "It's an honor to be involved in anything that involves him."

Walton played another great all-around game against the Boilermakers by scoring 17 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and handing out a game-high six assists.

"Luke is exactly the type of player Wooden loves to watch," Wildcat head coach Lute Olson said. "He's so unselfish and plays well in all aspects of the game."

Olson said that because Wooden has been so important to the collegiate game, he is always honored to be a part of anything associated with the Bruin coaching legend.

Lately, Olson has said how important both the play and leadership of Walton and the other two Wildcat juniors has been to his own team.

As Jason Gardner has received the majority of the national attention for his early play, it's been Walton who acts as the glue for the Arizona team with his versatility and playmaking skills.

"I've always taken the approach that it's a team game," Walton said. "You do as much as you can to help your team win.

"Ever since I was young I played and tried to be good all-around. I had older brothers who didn't always let me shoot so I had to grow up passing."

As a 6-8 point forward, Walton might be one of the best passing big men in the country. He has shown the extent of his all-around game by improving his rebounding and scoring numbers as well.

"Coach Wooden has said that the real superstar players are the guys who make everyone around them better." Walton said.

With five freshmen in Arizona's rotation, Walton has definitely played a huge role in making this young team better.

Both Bill Walton and coach Wooden would be proud.


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