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March 26, 1998|ARA NAJARIAN

What: HBO's "City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal."

When: Friday (4 p.m.), Saturday (8:30 a.m.), Monday (3 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.), April 3 (7 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.) and April 12 (7 a.m.).

Simply said, "City Dump" is a terrific piece of television.

The City College of New York basketball team was at one time a source of civic pride in a city that had five nationally ranked teams that often played home games at Madison Square Garden. When CCNY won the then-more prestigious NIT and the NCAA tournament in 1950, it was the toast of the town.

But then point-shaving crept in. Amazing footage of turnovers, mistakes and illogical decisions clearly show CCNY players shaving points against overmatched opponents.

As seems the case with all of HBO Sports documentaries, the footage is exceptional, the writing and narration are first-class and the research thorough. Interviews with Al McGuire, Marty Glickman and Dave Anderson, among others, add to quality.

As for its relevance to today's game, one only needs read a newspaper to see that a Cal State Fullerton player was allegedly approached to shave points and the 1994 Arizona State basketball team had two players plead guilty to conspiring to shave points.

HBO does a fine job of pointing out that it's not only a game, it's a part of life and all its trappings.

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