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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

The website also posted The Oklahoman's box scores from the 1970 state championship and a 1969 first-round state tournament game in which Tulsa Hale defeated Northwest Classen 64-60. Bayless was listed with all zeroes, indicating he had gotten in the game but had not taken a shot.

Bayless' Tweet posted March 31 to his hundreds of thousands of followers, stated, “I started for high school team that lost in the state finals. Coach didn't like me b/c I shot too much and he wanted me to be more of a PG (point guard).”

In a later Tweet, he said he was an MVP of a summer basketball camp after ninth grade. “Tall for 9th grade, chosen MVP of state-wide basketball camp over several future D1 players. Decided I was Maravich. Coach disagreed.”

On “First Take” Wednesday, Bayless called the Tweets “100 percent accurate, but thanks to the 140 point character limit was only 5 percent of the story.” In retrospect, he said he should have expounded on his comments with additional Tweets.

Bayless admitted he played on the junior varsity “B Team” as a junior to learn how to play point guard. “He (Van Pool) wanted me to be a point guard. I felt I didn't have the aptitude or the desire to distribute the basketball.”

As a senior, Bayless said he was scared to shoot. “I lived in fear of ever taking a shot. By two-thirds of the season, I got into his doghouse again. I clashed. I rebelled. … It killed me. It was the worst experience of my sports life.”

Van Pool, who died in December at age 83, led the Knights to state championships in 1964, 1965 and 1968 and an overall record of 250-95.

Bayless, 60, who attended Vanderbilt University, has had a successful career as a sports columnist with several newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald. He joined ESPN in 2007.

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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