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Mills Heads 'All-Woodard' Team as City Section's Premier Player

January 24, 1988|JOHN LYNCH

A day later, Taft Coach Jim Woodard stands by his assertion that Fairfax's Chris Mills is the best City Section player he has seen in 33 seasons.

Woodard, who is 48 and has been watching City games since he was a junior high student in Venice, proclaimed Mills the best after Fairfax's 87-76, Valley League victory over Taft on Friday night. Mills, a 6-7 senior forward who has signed a letter of intent to play at Kentucky, scored 37 points and had 12 rebounds.

"I always knew Mills was an athlete and a half but I didn't realize he could shoot so well from the outside," Woodard said Saturday. "He just killed us."

Woodard ranked Mills slightly ahead of John Williams, who starred at Crenshaw and LSU and now plays for the Washington Bullets of the NBA. Both Williams and Mills made the All-Woodard team that also includes Marques Johnson (Crenshaw), Sidney Wicks (Hamilton) and Gail Goodrich (Poly), all of whom played on national championship teams at UCLA before playing in the NBA.

Woodard had trouble limiting his selections to five and insisted on adding four honorable-mention picks headed by Kiki Vandeweghe (Palisades) and Curtis Rowe (Fremont), both of whom also played at UCLA. For the old-timers, Woodard selected Billy McGill of Jefferson, who played for the New York Knicks in the NBA and in college averaged 38.8 points a game for Utah in 1962. He also named Bobby Odom, a 1956 star at Jordan.

Woodard's fondest memories as a City basketball fan trace back to his days as a student at Venice High, the annual site of the City basketball tournament in the '50s.

"The top 16 teams would meet on a Saturday and play the first eight games of the tournament from 10 o'clock in the morning to 10 o'clock at night," he said. "We would pack a lunch and watch these great players from around the City and see these phenomenal games."

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