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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    From the Blog

    Bayless’ will to win rare in this era

    The first time I met Jerryd Bayless when he was a junior at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix he said he’s the type of person who always hates to lose, whether he’s throwing paper balls into a basket with his brothers or playing board games with his
    little cousins.

    That competitiveness can be seen every time Bayless heads out on the court, a trait UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill said most basketball players at all levels do not share.

    “”They’ll all tell you that. Like, ‘Yeah I want to win bad.’ OK, sure,”” O’Neill said. “”But the bottom line is it’s very, very difficult to find players that losing really hurts them. … Your best college players, losing hurts, and I think Jerryd’s one of those guys that losing hurts him, and it affects him mentally and makes it harder for him to live until he gets out there again.””

    O’Neill joked that the typical NBA player’s grieving period after a loss is about six beers, an attitude cultivated by parents who would be happy if their child scores 39 for a team that loses by 24. He sees the importance of team unity being lost in this day and age.

    “”There has to be a culture about caring for winning first,”” O’Neill said. “”It depends on the culture you want to form and what you want to get out of that culture.””

    O’Neill said not every contemporary team is that way, as can be seen in the play of the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and through the top college teams linking arms during key moments of the Final Four.

    As he attempts to build a similar culture at Arizona, the coach has seen some positive signs from his program, even if not everybody has the competitiveness of Bayless.

    “”To me we work hard and for the most part we play hard,”” O’Neill said. “”For the most part I’ve been very pleased with the effort our guys put forth and the fact that they support each other probably the best they can.””

    -Michael Schwartz,
    senior writer

    Arizona recruiting a farm system for ASU

    On Sunday the Arizona football team was informed yet again that another one of its coveted recruits will not be playing for the Wildcats.

    Sean Westgate, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior out of Oak Park, Calif., has decided to sign with Pacific 10 Conference rival UCLA after giving a verbal commitment to Arizona in June.

    It finally occurred to me a few weeks ago that it isn’t that big of a deal when recruits retract on their verbal commitments, especially because it happens to just about everyone, whether you are USC or Stanford.

    But recruits going back on their word is the least of Arizona’s concern. The real problem is they are bailing on the Wildcats and turning to other Pac-10 teams, and this year it has been ASU in particular.

    The most recent recruit ASU stole from Arizona may turn out to be the most painful. Running back Ryan Bass, a four-star recruit out of Corona (Calif.) Centennial High School, turned down UA’s offer.

    Bass rushed for 2,351 yards and 36 touchdowns in his senior year. That sounds like the kind of production Arizona could use on its offense, especially without the Pac-10’s worst run game in 2007. Now the Wildcats will focus on trying to stop him rather than utilizing him on offense.

    Gerrell Robinson, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior out of Chandler Hamilton High School, also bolted for the Sun Devils after saying in June that he would weigh his other option if Arizona didn’t win eight games.

    You know what happened. Now he will be suiting up in maroon and gold.

    The Wildcats are left with 21 current recruits, but they might want to watch out, because Dennis Erickson may come down to Tucson and personally escort some of them back to Tempe.

    I guess the new recruiting plan of the Pac-10 is to wait until Arizona gets a verbal commitment and dance on in like Michael Jackson, grab the Wildcats’ kids, and moon walk out of Tucson.

    If Arizona can’t hold on to their recruits, or more importantly keep them away from Tempe, the Wildcats are going to be in trouble … Michael Jackson trouble.

    -Ari Wasserman,
    assistant sports writer

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