Hail to John MacLeod
Did you see our story in today’s paper on Clifford Ray, the old Oklahoma center who played in the NBA in the 1970s and now is an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics? Very interesting update on big Cliff.
And think about this. In the 1976 Western Conference Finals, Golden State played Phoenix in a great seven-game series. The Suns won, then went on to play the Celtics in a classic six-game series won by Boston. But in that Warrior-Sun series, three former Sooners played huge roles. Ray for Golden State, Garfield Heard and Alvan Adams for Phoenix.
That’s a wonderful collection of talent recruited by John MacLeod, who rarely gets the credit he deserves. MacLeod never made an NCAA Tournament in his six years as OU’s coach, but those were the days when only one team from a conference qualified. Put those MacLeod teams in today’s environment, and not only would the Sooners have qualified, they would have made a deep run or two in the tournament.
Think also about this. Kelvin Sampson coached 12 years for the Sooners and did an excellent job. But he placed just ONE player in the NBA, Eduardo Najera. Billy Tubbs coached 14 years at OU and put eight players in the NBA, including some stars. Mookie Blaylock and Wayman Tisdale.
But the shining moment of OU basketball’s contribution to the NBA were those 1976 Western Conference Finals.
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