William T. "Bill" Walton
Bill Walton was one of the greatest college basketball players in history. The team leader on defense, Walton was a superb rebounder and outlet passer to start the fast break. Offensively, Walton developed a deadly jump hook that he shot with either hand. Above all, the big redhead set the tone for his teammates. He was all business on the court and his success is well-chronicled. Walton was an outstanding student-athlete at UCLA where he led the Bruins to two national championships and an 88-game winning streak. In the 1973 national championship game, Walton scored 44 points on 21 of 22 shooting. His deft passing, shooting, jumping, and running skills helped the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship. He was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player the following year and made the All-NBA First Team. Although chronic foot and knee injuries prohibited Walton from enjoying an extended professional career, he still managed to capture one more NBA championship in 1986 with the Boston Celtics.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR