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John Wood

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Born in 1910 in the town of Hall, Indiana,[5] Wooden moved with his family to a small farm in Centerton in 1918.[6] As a boy one of his role models was Fuzzy Vandivier of the Franklin Wonder Five, a legendary basketball team that dominated Indiana high school basketball from 1919 to 1922. After his family moved to the town of Martinsville when he was 14,[7] he led the high school team to the state championship finals for three consecutive years,[3][8][9][10] winning the tournament in 1927.[9] He was a three time All-State selection.[3]

After graduating in 1928, he attended Purdue University and was coached by Ward "Piggy" Lambert. He helped lead the Boilermakers to the 1932 National Championship, as determined by a panel vote rather than the NCAA tournament, which did not begin until 1939.[11] John Wooden was named All-Big Ten and All-Midwestern (1930-32) while at Purdue, and he was the first player ever to be named a three-time consensus All-American.[12] He was also selected for membership in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.[13] Wooden is also an honorary member of the International Co-Ed Fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.[14] Wooden was nicknamed "The Indiana Rubber Man" for his suicidal dives on the hardcourt.[12] He graduated from Purdue in 1932 with a degree in English.[4]

After college, Wooden spent several years playing professionally with the Indianapolis Kautskys[15][16] (later the Indianapolis Jets), Whiting Ciesar All-Americans,[16] and Hammond Ciesar All-Americans[16] while teaching and coaching in the high school ranks.[16] During one 46-game stretch he made 134 consecutive free throws.[15] He was named to the NBL's First Team for the 1937-38 season.

In 1942, during World War II, he joined the Navy. He served for nearly three years and left the service as a lieutenant.[4]

In 1961, he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame for his achievements as a player



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