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Bruce Walton had Bill's Back in High School
As a junior and senior, Bill Walton and Helix won back-to-back California Interscholastic Federation-San Diego Section championships (section championships were the highest level in California at that time). Over the course of those two years, the Highlanders won their final 49 games.
During his first part of his varsity career, Walton had the opportunity to play in the same frontcourt with older brother Bruce, who was a strong, tough and burly 6-6, 300 pounds. Whenever the slender younger Walton brother was getting knocked around by opponents, big brother was always there to restore order, justice and sense.
“When those opposing teams would try to get physical with me, Bruce would do whatever it took to protect me,” Walton said. “He went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Bruce and I are the only brother combination in history to ever play in the Super Bowl and to win the NBA championship.”
The starting line-up during Walton’s senior year at Helix (1969-70) included 5-10 senior guard Mike DuPree, 6-2 senior guard Randy Madsen, 6-3 junior forward Mike Honz, 6-2 senior forward Butch Paddock and 6-11 Walton at center.
That year, Walton averaged 29 points and an amazing 25 rebounds a game as he led the team to a spotless 33-0 record. He was also noted for his prodigious defensive ability with numerous blocked shots to his credit, as well as textbook outlet passes that deftly ignited Helix’s devastating fast break.
“We had tremendous skill and were a fast-breaking, pressing team,” Walton explained. “We had great ball movement and a lot of guys who could all really play, and shoot the ball.
“I’ve been very lucky that I’ve won national championships at UCLA, and NBA titles with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Boston Celtics. However, winning the San Diego Section titles was equally great. That meant everything to win those championships.”
During his senior year, Walton made 384 of his 490 field-goal attempts (78.3 percent). In very oversimplified terms, in a sport in which shooting 50 percent from the field is considered to be successful, that means that Walton converted nearly four of every five shots he attempted. According to the NFHS’ online National High School Sports Record Book, that still ranks as the all-time national record an amazing 44 years after the fact. In addition, Walton’s 825 rebounds that same season still ranks No 3 all-time, and his 25 rebounds per game in a season ranks No. 7.
Walton also was featured in “Faces in the Crowd” in the January 26, 1970 issue of Sports Illustrated – a longtime popular section of the magazine in which many great athletes are first introduced to the national sports audience.
Following high school, Walton attended UCLA, where he was part of another great record-setting team. The Bruins won 88 consecutive games and two NCAA national championships while Walton was eligible for the varsity. Both of those title teams were undefeated. Walton is quick to note that one of the most gratifying aspects of his time at UCLA (1970-74) was the opportunity to play for legendary coach John Wooden, himself a 1991 inductee into the National High School Hall of Fame.
- #05 (Walton)
- #08 (Wedman)
- #12 (Sichting)
- 1971-72 Lakers
- 2007-08 Scores
- Banner 17
- Grassy Knoll Network
- Green Mile
- Larry & Magic
- NBA Scoreboard
- Russell v. Chamberlain
- Walton Gang (1977)