Paul Westphal played college basketball in Los Angeles at a time when an area university dominated the sport. Westphal, however, didn’t play for the UCLA teams that won the national title each of his four years. He played for the Bruins’ conference rivals, the USC Trojans. Though his squads could never get past their crosstown rivals, Westphal performed at a high enough level to earn himself induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Hall inducted him Sunday in Kansas City, along with Houston’s Otis Birdsong, Arkansas’ Sidney Moncrief, North Carolina’s Sam Perkins, Morgan State’s Marvin Webster, Arizona’s Sean Elliott, former Charleston coach John Kresse, and former Oregon Tech coach Danny Miles. In this post’s video interview, we asked him about the honor and about competing against that UCLA juggernaut.
I also talked to Westphal about his pro career. I didn’t ask him about his All-Star appearances, or the title he won in Boston, or serving as an NBA head coach. No, I wanted to know about his approach to the schoolyard game of H-O-R-S-E. In 1977-78, the NBA staged a H-O-R-S-E contest among its players, with a round being played out each week at halftimes of the league’s national telecasts. Westphal won, and I wanted to know his secrets. Watch the video to find out his approach and also how to defeat the author at the game, just in case we ever find ourselves matched up on the playground.