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ESPN analyst Skip Bayless explains disputed claims about basketball career

SKIP BAYLESS: Three days after a post from disputed Skip Bayless' claims about his high school basketball career, Bayless and fellow analyst Jalen Rose got into a heated exchange about the matter on ESPN2's “First Take.”
by Mel Bracht Published: April 11, 2012

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose criticized fellow commentator Skip Bayless on Tuesday for overstating his high school basketball skills at Northwest Classen High School, referring to him as “Water Pistol Pete Junior.”

In a March 31 Tweet, Bayless claimed he had started for a state championship runner-up team. Norman defeated Northwest 47-42 in the 1970 state finals.

“Did you average 1.4 points as a senior in high school? Rose asked Bayless on ESPN2's “First Take.”

“Yep, I did,” Bayless replied.

“All that Pistol Pete stuff,” Rose said, referring to Bayless' claims that he was a good shooter. “Water Pistol Pete Junior.”

Responding Wednesday on “First Take,” Bayless said his “nightmarish” basketball career at Northwest drove him into the media to discuss basketball. “I only talk about this because now my integrity and credibility has been questioned by many of my Twitter followers,” he said.

Bayless said his starting career was short lived because coach Don Van Pool transferred in his son, Donnie Van Pool, from Southeast High School. “I did start for that team, but not for long,” he said.

Bayless' basketball knowledge has been criticized by some of his critics, including Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, who said Bayless “doesn't know anything about basketball” in defending teammate Russell Westbrook, who is regularly criticized by Bayless for shooting too much as a point guard.

Sports Animal broadcaster Craig Humphreys, who graduated with Bayless from Northwest Classen in 1970, said he remembered Bayless as a seventh man as a senior.

“He probably did start some games,” he said. “His senior year he was like the No. 7 man. Coach (Don) Van Pool and Skip were never really on the same page. I love Coach Van Pool. He was a Henry Iba disciple, but he was more of a slowdown guy and Skip was more get up and down the floor. Skip could really shoot. He really could.”

Bruce Scott, a 6-2 guard on that team who went on to play at OU, said he remembered Bayless starting a “handful of games.” “He got lost in the shuffle there. He would have scored 18 points a game at John Marshall.”

In a Monday post, disputed Bayless' claim that he was a starter after searching through Northwest yearbooks from that period. The website posted a document the showed he only scored 21 points in 15 games for a 1.4 average.

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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