Former Miners Weigh in on the Best Texas Western Team Ever [VIDEO]
The Golden Anniversary for the 1966 Texas Western National Championship team is underway, with the special panel discussion later this afternoon at Memorial Gym. The 50th anniversary culminates with tomorrow's UTEP vs. Western Kentucky game at 3pm. Fans are encouraged to get to Don Haskins Center early for the pregame lineup introductions and all fans attending the game will receive either a blue or orange commemorative t-shirt.
Yesterday, 600 ESPN El Paso had the opportunity to interview various members of the 1966 Texas Western Miners who arrived in El Paso for the big weekend. Among the questions we asked was who would win a game between the 1966 TWC Miners and the 1964 TWC Miners? Nevil Shed did not hesitate when he picked his team as the best of the two. Basketball Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson, however, had a different response when he was asked that same question.
As everyone knows, the 1966 National Championship team lost only one game and made history with the win over Kentucky. What most people do not know was that two years earlier, Don Haskins led his Miners to a 23-2 regular season record. That Texas Western team was led by Jim "Bad News" Barnes who became the top overall pick in the 1964 NBA Draft. Richardson graduated from Texas Western in 1963, but he played with Barnes his senior season. Four members of the '66 team: Orsten Artis, Harry Flournoy, Jerry Armstrong, and Togo Railey were all sophomores on the '64 TWC roster. After defeating Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Miners lost to Kansas State 64-60. In that game, Barnes got into early foul trouble and the team was not able to overcome his absence from the lineup. If Barnes had stayed on the floor, there are many people that believe that '64 team could have been destined for the Final Four.
David Lattin arrived at Texas Western in 1965 and helped lead the Miners to the national championship that season. We also caught up with "Big Daddy D" to talk about being back in El Paso for Texas Western's golden anniversary.