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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Men’s Hoops Notes: Wildcats’ day off pays off

    Arizonas Marcus Williams reaches for a loose ball during the second half of Arizonas game against Cal, Thursday Feb. 16, 2006 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. Cal beat Arizona 75-66. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s Marcus Williams reaches for a loose ball during the second half of Arizona’s game against Cal, Thursday Feb. 16, 2006 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. Cal beat Arizona 75-66. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    With the Arizona men’s basketball team thinking, breathing and probably dreaming about basketball, it was nice for the squad to get a day off on Tuesday.

    The lay-off between Sunday’s 76-72 win over Stanford and the home game against ASU this Saturday allowed Arizona head coach Lute Olson to give the team some much-needed rest after 26 games.

    “”Right now they need rest more than they need anything,”” Olson said. “”That’s the reason why (when) we play the first go-round against ASU we schedule another game. The second round we want them to get a little more time off.””

    Some of the players played pickup games at the Student Recreation Center, while others took a more relaxed approach to the day off.

    “”We don’t usually get a chance to do absolutely nothing,”” junior center Kirk Walters said. “”(Tuesday) was just relaxing; went to Best Buy, sat around and watched TV.””

    With the players continually on their feet going between practice, class and games, freshman forward Marcus Williams said it was nice to take a load off his legs.

    “”I relaxed, rested my legs, didn’t try to walk around too much,”” he said.

    After the day off on Tuesday, Olson said that yesterday’s practice was going to be short.

    “”We’re only going to go for an hour and 15 minutes and just make sure their legs are still springy, and we’ll start on ASU stuff (today),”” he said.

    Fox ready to trot

    Redshirt senior forward Isaiah Fox looks to be back in the lineup after missing the Northern California road trip due to back spasms, Olson said.

    The Santa Monica, Calif., native, who averages 1.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, scrimmaged with the team Monday.

    “”He had back spasms last week,”” Olson said. “”I think he went on Monday in a scrimmage, but I’m sure (athletic trainer) Justin (Kokoskie) would have told me before we made up today’s practice plan if he wouldn’t be able to go.””

    Dillon is king over Prince

    Freshman guard J.P. Prince might be looking back and wondering if missing a taping session could have led to a cut in his role.

    Prince, who averages 14 minutes per game, has played just two minutes in three games since Olson benched him for Feb. 11’s game against Oregon State after he missed a taping session.

    Sophomore guard Daniel Dillon has picked up the slack, averaging 19.6 minutes in the last three games, while bringing defensive intensity, something Olson said has led to Prince’s lack of playing time.

    “”That’s not all J.P.’s fault,”” Olson said. “”Daniel is playing with a lot of confidence right now.””

    Olson said that Prince will have a chance to gain more time for Saturday’s game against ASU in practice.

    “”He’ll go full-court for 15 minutes (on Wednesday), so (he’ll) have a chance to impress me or not impress me.””

    We’re going streaking!

    In their push to March Madness, the Wildcats are attempting to increase their nation-leading streak of 21 straight years making the NCAA tournament, a streak that may never be matched in Arizona history.

    “”It’s huge,”” Walters said. “”It’s sort of the tradition of Arizona basketball, and we don’t want to be the team that lets this down and the team that didn’t get 20 wins and that berth in the NCAA tournament, so we definitely want to keep that going.””

    Even with the streak up in the air, Williams said he knows what the team has to do to continue it for another season.

    “”We’re aware of (the streak). I think Coach has brought it up like once,”” he said. “”But we’re not playing for records, we’re playing to win games, and if we do that then we don’t have to worry about breaking the streak or anything like that, all we have to do is win games.””

    The Marcus Mix-Up

    Olson said that the recent play of Williams at the point guard has really opened up some things in the backcourt.

    “”I like Marcus at the point,”” Olson said. “”I like his size (and) Marcus does a good job of getting the ball ahead to where we can get angles to get the ball inside.””

    Olson said that even with Williams’ impressive play with the ball, he was still impressed with junior guard Mustafa Shakur running the point.

    “”I thought Mustafa against Stanford played really well as a point guard,”” he said. “”I visited with (Shakur) on Friday, we went through the whole (California) game … I said your job is to really make everybody else on the court better, and he only took one shot on Sunday.””

    Olson said the main thing Shakur and the rest of the point guards need to know is that they can do other things than score to help the team.

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