Friday, June 4, 2010

R.I.P. John Wooden

LOS ANGELES -- Former UCLA basketball coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden died of natural causes on Friday at age 99, the school announced.

Little had been released regarding his condition.

Earlier in the day, former UCLA and Los Angeles Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes told The Associated Press that he visited Wooden in his hospital room twice this week and they chatted briefly.

Wilkes said Wooden recognized him and that the coach's mind remains "sharp as a tack," although he said the 99-year-old Wooden's body is "very, very frail."

During his second visit on Wednesday night, Wilkes asked Wooden if he recognized him.

"His glasses fogged up and he had to clean his glasses," Wilkes said. "He looked at me and said, 'I remember you, now go sit down."

Wilkes teamed with Bill Walton to help UCLA win NCAA titles in 1972 and '73. He was part of UCLA's record 88-game winning streak under Wooden.

Besides his grown son and daughter and other family members, Wilkes said Wooden has had several visitors since being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on May 26, including Walton.

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