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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

One more for Horne

Originally we wanted to talk to Jamelle Horne earlier this week.

The UA senior who went through it all — coached by Kevin O’Neill, Russ Pennell and now Sean Miller — calls McKale Center home one last time tomorrow.

The UA senior played 397 minutes as a freshman, 1,006 minutes as a sophomore, 876 minutes as a junior and so far 553 minutes this season.

We wanted to write a sappy and nostalgic narrative about Horne’s journey of the five-star recruit who has played virtually every role and virtually every style.

We asked nicely, but he didn’t want to talk.

“”Unfortunately, Jamelle has told me that he will not sit for interviews (postgame not included) until we win the Pac-10 title,”” UA spokesman Rich Paige wrote us in an email. “”Yours was not the only request he turned down this week.””

His request to keep quiet spoke more than anything. Whether it was out of frustration, friction or focus, Horne has kept a low profile all season and has seemingly been alright with it.

Then he broke the silence.

At 9:19 p.m., almost simultaneously as Washington beat UCLA following Arizona’s victory over Oregon State, Horne walked into the post-game interview room and sat down.

“”It’s just me (talking to the media),”” he said. “”Let’s do it.””

Washington’s win meant Arizona secures a No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament and win the league title outright with a victory against seventh-place Oregon tomorrow afternoon on CBS national coverage.

Had Horne been told that on Senior Day he would’ve been able to cut down the white nylon nets in McKale Center, he wouldn’t have just taken it.

“”I would’ve stole it,”” he said. “”I’m loving where I’m at right now.””

Guaranteed, nobody wants to stand on that ladder and let out a scream more than Horne. We hadn’t heard from him in weeks, so the questions were simple:

Will the senior show a little extra emotion in his final game at McKale?

“”I doubt it. I’m pretty even keel,”” said the San Diego kid. “”I keep it cool, calm and collective.””

Any extra family or friends traveling out for the ceremony?

“”Just my mom and my dad,”” he said. “”That’s all that matters.””

But wait, Horne is one win away from Arizona’s first league title since the 2004-05 season. Fans on Twitter have already erupted in celebration.

“”I don’t think it’s hit us yet,”” he said in that calm, cool manner. “”As a player you don’t want to look ahead — that’s the worst thing to do. We know that there’s something big on our hands, something special we can do.””

The Wildcats watched the Washington game from their locker room. Most of them realize a loss against the Ducks wouldn’t change anything: Not in their game plan or confidence, not in their Pac-10 Tournament top seed and probably not much to their NCAA Tournament seed.

Miller even admitted Saturday’s game will be played more freely knowing no statistical losses are at stake.

The only thing left is fulfilling the intangibles of clinching a league title outright and cutting down the nets on national television on Senior Day.

“”That’s what we’re after,”” Sean Miller said.

—Bryan Roy is an intradisciplinary studies senior and can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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