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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Something that kids dream about’: Wildcats’ senior duo

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Sydney Richardson
Gabe York (1) and Kaleb Tarczewski (35) share a smile while playing against California in McKale Center on Saturday, March 5. The two will look to finish their collegiate careers on a high note in March.

Before every tipoff in McKale Center, Arizona men’s basketball 7-foot center Kaleb Tarczewski lowers his head toward 6-foot-3 guard Gabe York and screams, “Let’s go.”

York and Tarczewski, two of the five graduating seniors this season, did the unthinkable in the world of college basketball. The duo stayed for four years at the same university and will each graduate with a college degree.  

With so many Wildcats taking their talents to the next level over the past few seasons, it’s out of the ordinary that Tarczewski and York have held on for the entire ride.

“When you look at a four-year window of time, when you are the all-time winningest player in Arizona history, you’ve been involved in some amazing moments,” head coach Sean Miller said of Tarczewski. “You are comparing these four years to some great times. In Kaleb’s case, he’s really been a starter since day one.”

Tarczewski has amassed 110 career victories to become the winningest player in Arizona program history. He was selected for a spot on the second team All-Pac-12 and the Pac-12 All-Defensive team this season. 

Before the Pac-12 Conference Tournament started, Tarczewski managed to rank in the top 10 in UA history in five different statistics including wins, games played, games started, rebounds and blocks, according to Arizona Athletics. 

York, on the other hand, had a rough start at Arizona. Instead of transferring, he honored Miller’s process and saved the Wildcats multiple times this season. When he plays well, Arizona plays well. 

“When you are one of the best players, you get blamed for a lot of things,” Miller said. “He’s learned through that. I can’t tell you how many positive things I can say about this group and, as a fan, you should feel tremendously comfortable with them. They are going to go on and do some great things.” 

York evolved during his time in an Arizona uniform, even just from last season. York has confidence in his shot, nobody can doubt that; but maybe his confidence started to drain earlier in the season when he turned the ball over or missed potential game winning shots. 

Then, York caught the ball with less than 25 seconds to go and hit the shot of his life against California in his second-to-last game in McKale Center. During the next game against Stanford, he hit nine more big shots just like it. 

If you search the name Gabe York on YouTube, the first video that pops up is from three years ago and has more than 1 million views. The video features York as a senior at Orange Lutheran High School, hitting stepback jumpers and showboating dunks. 

York’s transition as a college freshman did not go as he may have hoped. He finished his freshman season averaging just over three minutes per game. 

“It’s been a long journey, something that kids dream about,” York said. “For me, going through what I did freshman year and sticking it out, it couldn’t have ended any better.” 

Few can comprehend York’s struggles throughout his Arizona career. 

York and his mother were involved in a car accident in 2012, in which first responders were shocked to see anybody live, according to the Arizona Daily Star

York said back in 2012 how much he learned from the incident and continues to grow from it. 

His moment pounding his fist center-court in McKale Center and kissing the floor as he walked off one final time will remain in his mind for years to come. The scene has almost become a tradition, as T.J. McConnell did it last season. 

For York and Tarczewski, there is still more to come, even if the end for their being in Arizona uniforms is near. The duo can only keep playing hard and put it all on the line if Arizona is to reach its goal. 

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