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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Leaders emerging for ‘Cats

Point guard Nic Wise begins a half court drill in last Thursday?s basketball practice. The senior has been more of a vocal leader in practices thus far, but he will be out with an ankle injury and sophomore Kyle Fogg has assumed the point guard role in practices.

The Arizona men’s basketball team’s senior leader, Nic Wise, has been nowhere to be found by the local media lately, but he has certainly been there for his teammates.

Before the media, the 5-foot-10 point guard is quiet, humble and reserved.

But when his feet meet the hardwood, he’s a vocal leader.

“”Nic’s definitely a cool, quiet guy off the court, but on the court he’s definitely a lot louder,”” said sophomore guard Kyle Fogg. “”Kind of like two different people. He’s really leading more vocally this year than he was last year.””

With Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill now in the NBA, the only member of last season’s Big Three has his teammates convinced that he wants another push toward the NCAA Tournament, a three-game stretch in which he led the Wildcats with 21.3 points per game during Arizona’s 2008-09 Sweet 16 run.

“”You could tell he just really wants to win a lot this year,”” said sophomore guard Brendon Lavender. “”He’s a great basketball player and he should be good this year.””

Wise hasn’t been available at the last two media interview sessions and left Wednesday for Los Angeles with head coach Sean Miller for today’s Pacific 10 Conference Media Day.

Wise did announce through his Twitter page on Tuesday, however, that he had recently been injured: “”Sprained my ankle today in practice … All bad, out for a couple days.””

In Wise’s absence from the court due to injury and travel, Fogg said he had been moved to point guard in practice — a move he said he is comfortable with, especially with exhibition games starting next week.

With seven freshmen and a Pima Community College transfer,  Nic Wise’s brother Dondre Wise, Fogg said he feels the need to grow as a player faster than he might have otherwise.

“”I’ve kind of had to develop a little bit faster,”” said Fogg, who registered 27 starts last season under interim coach Russ Pennell. “”We’re kind of like veterans even through we’re sophomores.””

Hustlin’ Horne

While Fogg has stepped up as the team’s temporary point guard, the Wildcats are looking for as many players as possible to step up as leaders.

Wise and junior forward Jamelle Horne are technically the only two upperclassmen on the 15-man roster. Lavender said he has noticed a dramatic maturation from Horne, who was dubbed by his teammates as a wild card last season because of the uncertainty of his play at times.

“”He’s improved his game a lot. He’s one of the best players on the team,”” Lavender said. “”I think he’ll do really good this year. He has a set role, and I think he’s real happy with it. He’s comfortable with it.””

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