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How I see it

March 29, 2001

Alex Leon

It always happens this time of the year. With March Madness in full

swing and college basketball fans from across the country in a state of

ecstasy, some people can not resist asking the same questions over and

over.

But Carl Boldt is only too happy to offer his opinion, a firm

handshake and a nod of his head. For 11 months and several days out of

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the year, he is just a 67-year-old businessman quietly living in Arcadia.

On those few days when it matters most to college basketball fans and

the 64-team NCAA men's basketball tournament has been pared down into

it's final-four match-ups like it is for this weekend, Boldt answers the

same questions over and over.

Yes, the 1956 University of San Francisco Dons was one of the greatest

teams ever. Yes, it was a great experience to play on an undefeated NCAA

Championship team that year. Yes, USF center and NBA legend Bill Russell

was one of the greatest players ever, in his opinion.

Boldt, a former player at Verdugo Hills High and Glendale College as

well as the head coach at St. Francis High, was a starting forward on the

1955-56 Dons team that went undefeated at 29-0 to win the NCAA title. He

also played on the 1956-57 team that advanced to the final four and was

22-6.

"This time of the year rolls around and inevitably, a lot of questions

from the media come my way about the USF teams and what I think about the

game today," Boldt said. "I'm proud of what those teams accomplished and

what I was able to contribute as a starting forward.

"Some guy even remarked that Michael Jordan and I each scored 16

points when our teams won the championship and I had to laugh. I may have

got 16 but I wouldn't be talking to anyone if we didn't have Bill Russell

playing center and K.C. Jones playing guard for us." Visiting Boldt at

his Arcadia home is not like taking a trip down memory lane. Framed

photographs don't line the walls and there is not a basketball in sight.

Any trophy he won over the years or ring or watch that he was presented

with has long been given away.

What does remain is the man himself, a 6-foot-5 inch man with a shock

of gray hair and a story for everything he has done in his life.

He grew up an orphan and landed in Tujunga with a foster family as a

12-year-old. He said he was a better player at Sunland Park then he was

at Verdugo Hills, because he only played one year for the Dons, as a

junior. He was ineligible for his senior year because he had played on an

AAU team.

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