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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Underrated Anderson leads big, mature squad”

    Opponent Analysis

    With young guns in the Pacific 10 Conference likeÿO.J. Mayo, Kevin Love and Jerryd Bayless, it’s easy to see how players above the freshman class could put up monster numbers and not get noticed much.

    Forward Ryan Anderson, one of eight different players that have started for the California men’s basketball team this season – none of them freshmen – is a good example.

    The 6-foot-10 sophomore has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week this season, as well as the ESPN.com, The Sporting News and FoxSports.com National Player of the Week. Last week he became the first Golden Bear to score 1,000 career points as a sophomore.

    “”Ryan Anderson is a very, very tough player,”” said Arizona forward Chase Budinger. “”He can shoot the ball and is very good down low.””

    But much like his self-described, “”old beat-up truck,”” that he is known to have bought from his grandfather for $1, nothing is flashy about Anderson. Instead, he lets his numbers do the talking.

    He’s first in the Pac-10 and 12th in the nation in scoring (21.9 points per game), third in the conference in rebounding (9.9 per game) and shoots .462 from beyond the arc – second in the conference to only Arizona’s injured Nic Wise (.491).

    Riding under the radar, Anderson is not alone. He is just one of the mature, not to mention big, men on the squad. The size of the lineup is likely to present matchup problems to the smaller, injury-plagued Wildcat lineup.

    “”Cal’s front line – Anderson, (6-foot-11 center DeVon) Hardin, (6-foot-8 forward Harper) Kamp, (6-foot-8 forward Jamal) Boykin and those other 7-foot dudes – that’s big-time front line depth,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”So for us to think that we can play them straight up with a smaller lineup is going to be difficult to do.””

    Hardin, who returned to the Golden Bears’ lineup last weekend after missing the Jan. 31-Feb. 2 Washington road trip because of a viral infection, said that he’s healing quickly.

    “”Sometimes (Cal head coach Ben Braun) would call a play out in practice and I’m like, ‘I don’t remember that one,'”” Hardin said with a laugh at Cal’s media session this week. “”But yeah, for the most part, I’m back. Timing, I feel like I’ve gotten much better. I’m getting to the point where even though we’re moving at a high speed, things are slowing down for me.””

    The Bears are coming to Tucson having lost 79-75 in the teams’ last matchup in Berkeley, Calif., and with a dry spell of not having won in McKale Center since 1995.

    “”It seems like we always get Arizona at a tough time,”” Braun said. “”If you go back over the years, it seems like we’ve always caught them in either of two places: either when their team is playing at an all-time high, or they just took a loss and now all of a sudden we’re catching them there.””

    – Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.

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