The UCLA Basketball All-Time Team

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UCLA Basketball Championship display inside Pauley Pavilion

Photo Credit: Mike Regalado

3. Don Barksdale 1946-47

Similar to what Jackie Robinson did for baseball, Barksdale did for basketball as he helped break the color barrier in another collegiate sport. Because of racial beliefs back in the mid-20th Century, Barksdale was not allowed to play high school ball. That forced him to work on his game at local playgrounds and did he ever develop those skills.

Barksdale was a big man that could run the floor. He had a long reach which made him a fantastic rebounder, he was fast and had a beautiful shot which he could pull off almost anywhere in the floor.

After high school, the 6’6″ center was able to secure a spot at Marin Junior College where he played for two years. His efforts got the attention of the UCLA Basketball program and was able to earn a scholarship in 1945.

At UCLA he dominated his competition as one of the most athletic players on the team. In 1947 he helped lead UCLA to a Pacific Coast Conference Championship. Because of his production that season, Barksdale was the first African American to be named a consensus All-American.

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