Wooden, 99, resting comfortably Friday

Updated: June 4, 2010, 8:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Former UCLA basketball coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden is hospitalized at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and resting comfortably, the university said in a statement Friday.

Wooden was admitted to the hospital on May 26 due to dehydration, the school said. He is surrounded by his family and at their, no other information about his condition will be released. In UCLA's statement, Wooden's family and the university thanked Wooden's fans for their prayers.

The school said that there would be no further updates on Wooden's condition on Friday.

Television station KCAL in Los Angeles first reported Wooden's hospitalization, and the Los Angeles Times confirmed it through school sources. Both outlets described his condition Thursday night as "grave."

The university would not confirm the reports.

Former UCLA and Los Angeles Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes told The Associated Press on Friday that he visited Wooden in his hospital room twice this week and they chatted briefly.

Wilkes says Wooden recognized him and that the coach's mind remains "sharp as a tack," although he says the Wooden's body is "very, very frail."

Former Bruins star Bill Walton told The Associated Press from the NBA Finals that he last visited with Wooden two days ago at the hospital.

"He's the greatest," Walton said, his voice catching. "We love him."

Walton also would not comment on Wooden's condition.

Wooden, the former UCLA coach and a Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer, has been confined to a wheelchair after a series of minor health setbacks in recent years. He was hospitalized briefly a month ago and spent weeks in the hospital a year ago while being treated for pneumonia.

UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins told the AP he spoke to a Wooden family member Thursday evening and the family asked that no other information about Wooden be released.

UCLA Medical Center spokeswoman Roxanne Moster said she couldn't confirm whether Wooden was there or not because it would be a "violation of medical privacy laws."

Family members and UCLA staff would not comment to ESPN.com.

Earlier Thursday, former Lakers coach Bill Sharman, with his wife, Joyce, visited Wooden at UCLA Medical Center.

"I talked to him before [Game 1 of the NBA Finals]. He could talk a little bit, and he could see who you were, but you could see it was going downhill," Sharman told ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Though Wooden could barely talk, Sharman said, Wooden said what he needed to.

"We said goodbye today," Sharman said. "I think he realized it."

Wooden led the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships -- at one time winning seven in a row -- during a 27-year run that ended with his team cutting down the nets one last time in 1975.

The Bruins won 88 consecutive games from 1971 to 1974 and 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games from 1964 to 1974, both records.

Before Thursday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, NBA commissioner David Stern was asked about Wooden's contributions to the sport of basketball.

"We decided that we would not declare his obituary now, other than to say that he's the winningest coach in our history, four 30-0 seasons, and the ultimate aficionado of our game," Stern said. "We hope he's in peace right now, and we'll wait on events."

Walton and Stern weren't the only people at the Finals thinking of Wooden.

"My heart goes out to him and his family," Lakers guard Derek Fisher said after Los Angeles' win over Boston in Game 1. "He's meant so much to the game of basketball and to Los Angelenos in particular. I don't think there's anyone other than maybe Magic Johnson who can even come close to being as important in the history of basketball here in Southern California as John Wooden."

Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz, ESPNLosAngeles.com and The Associated Press was used in this report.