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Flashback to Oregon's 1939 NCAA Championship Team

History of The Delta

Editor's Note: With the University of Oregon Men's Basketball Team in the 2017 NCAA Final Four, we looked back into our archives to bring you a story from the last time, and thus far only time, Oregon won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. This story is special to Sigma Nu because that 1939 Championship team featured three Gamma Zeta (Oregon) brothers on the roster. It is being reprinted here in its original state from the May 1939 issue of The Delta (Volume 46, Number 4).

Oregon Wins National Basketball Championship

Three Sigma Nus on First Team

By John Charles Koppen (Oregon)

Oregon’s 1939 national champion basketball team is now history. Their story is ended—and what a story it was.

In their season’s play they dropped five games out of 33 to win all the titles available for a collegiate team. Seven straight games were won in play-offs culminating in the one game deciding the N.C.A.A. championship against Ohio State. California was beaten in two straight games giving the coast championship to Oregon. Next they met the University of Texas on Treasure Island at the San Francisco International Exposition three nights later to win the western regional title, and beat Oklahoma the next night to set themselves up as champions of the United States west of the Mississippi. Thus, they won five straight championship contests in 12 days, with two long rail trips in between, bettering four great opponents, each best in its section of the country.

Sigma Nus at Oregon proudly claim three men on the first string and another on the first-string substitution list. Bobby Anet, captain, and Wally Johansen filled the two guard positions, having played championship basketball together since their high school days. They completed nine seasons this year. Captain Anet was the smallest member of this year’s Oregon team, and is considered by many to be the team’s most under-rated performer. His fiery floor leadership and ability to set the dazzling fast-break pace made him an invaluable player. He was an able scorer but usually assumed the role of principal “feeder” for his mates. He stands only 5 feet 8 inches.

Wally Johansen is the taller, more slender guarding mate of Anet, and like him, is a tireless, catlike ball hawk and “feeder.” He also has been a consistent scorer, and in the Northwest Conference accounted for 184 points. He was selected on the all-coast team last season, and is renowned as a ball “stealer” and close guarder able to jockey most any opponent out of a shooting notion.

John Dick, as forward, the third Sigma Nu on Oregon’s team, is the only member of this year’s team who will return next year. Standing 6 feet 4 inches, Dick broke into the varsity lineup as a sophomore when regulars were injured.

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