Here is the statement St. John's basketball coach Steve Lavin released on the passing of the great UCL coach John Wodden, 99, who died of natural causes on Friday:

St. John’s mentor Steve Lavin forged his coaching career over 15 years in head and assistant roles at both UCLA and Purdue University; the former is the program with which Wooden is most-closely associated, and the latter is Wooden’s alma mater. Lavin served as the head coach of UCLA from the 1996-97 to 2002-03 seasons and spent 12 years with the Bruins as a head or assistant coach.

"Coach Wooden leaves all of us a lasting legacy from a lifetime devoted to goodness,” Lavin said. “Coach believed the court was his classroom and basketball was a metaphor for life. He was an eternal learner and teacher. He was the best friend and mentor one could hope for. It is difficult to imagine a college basketball season without John Wooden being with us."

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