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Question of the Day: Which four people would be on college basketball's Mt. Rushmore? [updated]

March 25, 2011 |  9:22 am

Rush_600 Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

 Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

The Mt. Rushmore of college basketball should be carved into a hill in North Carolina and include the same types of faces of leaders and forward-thinkers that the one in South Dakota is home to.

Without Dr. James Naismith, Mt. Hoopsmore would be like Mt. Rushmore without George Washington. It could not possibly be considered accurate if it did not include the man who invented the game, wrote the original rulebook and founded the University of Kansas' program. John Wooden, who won 10 national championships at UCLA, would be carved where Thomas Jefferson is placed. Wooden is an icon who developed fundamentals that are stressed to this day. North Carolina’s Dean Smith was revolutionary, making him a legend worthy of the honor. He was known for running a clean program, graduating his students and promoting desegregation in the sport. In place of Abraham Lincoln, Mt. Hoopsmore would include Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has won four national titles and is two victories away from matching the all-time win record.

[Updated at 10:42 a.m.

Tom Housenick, The Morning Call

UCLA’s John Wooden is the standard by which all coaches are judged. The greatest teacher of the sport, his methods have influenced every good coach since he guided the Bruins to 10 national titles in a 12-year period.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) simply was the most dominant player of that fabulous Wooden era at UCLA.

Pete Maravich was the most skilled basketball player I’ve ever seen. In addition to averaging better than 40 points per game at LSU, he was a master of the no-look pass and slick dribbling skills.

Michigan State’s Magic Johnson helped the college (and, eventually, the pro) games transcend into their most dynamic eras. He brought a huge smile and a pass-first attitude to a sport that needed an injection of energy. Johnson showed that Wooden’s team concept was the best and most satisfying way to championship success.]

Photo: Mt. Rushmore. Credit: Greg Latza / Associated Press.