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Bill Dutcher: Forever Young
August 23, 2013

NORMAN, Okla. -- Bill Dutcher works out six days a week for most of the year, except during the fall when he takes a break, partly to enjoy the holidays. As soon as mid-January rolls around, it's back to work.

His workouts include twice-a-week visits with a strength trainer, pick-up basketball games and shooting and ball handling drills. While Dutcher may sound like a typical young basketball player, he's not. He's 70 years old.

Dutcher, who was as walk-on on the Sooner basketball team in the early 1960s, came to OU from Bartlesville, Okla., and has lived in the state his whole life, other than during a four-year stint in the Navy. He's always followed OU basketball and football and has been a hoops season ticket holder since the late 1970s.

About 10 years ago, Dutcher started attending fantasy camps, which generally are for participants over 35 years of age. The first camp Dutcher attended was Michael Jordan's in Las Vegas, Nev. At the time, he was just looking for a fun vacation, and he thought it could be nice to play some basketball.

2013 OU Legends Alumni Weekend Information (Aug. 23-24)

At first, Dutcher says he wasn't in good enough shape to enjoy the camps, so he started to work to get in a condition to do so. Now, he tries to attend two or three different camps around the country each summer.

"I see it just as my own one-on-one battle with father time, and the camps kind of give a nice venue to play that out," Dutcher expressed. "They give me the incentive to train in the offseason because the camps aren't any fun if you're not in good enough shape to play."

This year, Dutcher attended a camp at the University of Kansas, the Coach K Academy at Duke University and Dwyane Wade's camp in Miami, Fla. Next on Dutcher's schedule is the third annual OU men's basketball Alumni Legends Game slated for this Saturday at noon. The alumni game is one of the highlights of his year.

"That's a tremendous amount of fun for me because as I said, I've been an OU fan for so long, and to be out there on the court with some of these guys, it's a lot of fun," Dutcher said.

While Dutcher shares a variety of stories about his experiences at the camps, one play from a game in which Michael Jordan was his teammate stands out to him. The game was being filmed by "60 Minutes," and Jordan was wearing a microphone for the broadcast.

Jordan passed the ball to Dutcher, who then faked a pass back to Jordan. Then, Dutcher said he drove baseline, "had a flash from the past or this adrenaline surge," and scored. Jordan then said to not underestimate his teammates, no matter what they looked like.

"That was my all-time great backhanded compliment from Michael Jordan," Dutcher proclaimed.

Other than the actual competition, Dutcher has appreciated the exposure to some of the great coaches in basketball during these camps. Dutcher has played for coaches like Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University and Team USA and Chuck Daly, who led the 1992 USA "Dream Team" to an Olympic gold medal.

Dutcher, who founded a company called Anadarko Minerals 27 years ago, now spends five or six hours a day, five or six days a week at the downtown Oklahoma City office. Basketball continues to be his outlet.

"People ask me why I work so hard at it [basketball], and to me, it's the process," Dutcher said. "It's not work. This is the fun part. Work is back at the computer or worrying about oil and natural gas prices or worrying about finance and interest rates. That's the work. The basketball is all fun."

As far as how much longer Dutcher plans to continue playing basketball, he says it is still up in the air.

"Actually, I don't really know," Dutcher said. "I'm listed as day-to-day, game-time decision. I make plans but not commitments. I'll go as long as I can. It's just too much fun not to."

You can bet he'll be having fun this Saturday when the Legends Alumni Game tips off at noon at Lloyd Noble Center. Admission is free.

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