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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Time is ticking for Rodgers, Adams”

    Senior guards Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers are seen here in action earlier this season. Adams, the teams leading scorer, began practicing with the team Sunday after being suspended for the Pac-10 tournament.
    Senior guards Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers are seen here in action earlier this season. Adams, the team’s leading scorer, began practicing with the team Sunday after being suspended for the Pac-10 tournament.


    For senior guards Chris Rodgers and Hassan Adams, the upcoming week could be an emotional test, but they’re not going to cry. Through the trials and tribulations, Rodgers and Adams will accomplish what they set out to do all the way back in the summer of 2002.

    “”We came in together both freshmen, and we’ve always been close,”” Rodgers said. “”That was our feeling, to end our careers here together.””

    Adams said he remembers his freshman year at Arizona like it was yesterday. His 22-point outburst in his first career game against Western Kentucky made Arizona head coach Lute Olson not just a believer but a fan. Along with classmate Andre Iguodala, who left Arizona after his sophomore year and became a lottery pick in the NBA Draft, Olson called the duo the best combo he’s ever brought to Arizona.

    Before long, Adams would get his chance to crack the starting lineup, with his first career start coming Dec. 3, 2002 against St. Louis, a moment Adams said is his favorite basketball memory.

    “”That was probably the cream of the crop,”” Adams said. “”That was the best feeling, just having an opportunity to start your first collegiate game.””

    Adams, Iguodala and Rodgers had one other freshman teammate that year. Chris Dunn never played a game in a Wildcat uniform, yet Adams still wishes all four could be together Saturday for Senior Day.

    “”I would have loved to finish with all of us who came in with ‘Dre and Chris Dunn, when we came in,”” Adams said. “”We had a great bond and a great friendship and obviously ‘Dre went on to better things. If I came in with somebody, I wanted to end with them if they were going to be here.

    “”We built like a brother friendship, and that’s what this program is like – family.””

    For Rodgers, the feeling hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

    “”It’s life, it’s a phase that you go through, and you have to be happy about your future,”” Rodgers said.

    He expressed having mixed feelings about playing in McKale Center for the last time.

    “”The importance of this last home stretch, we know how important it is, and it’s a bittersweet feeling,”” Rodgers said.

    When Rodgers was dismissed from the team Jan. 18, Adams was unofficially his strongest supporter. Though sometimes shy, Rodgers is appreciative of the support he received from his fellow classmate.

    “”For the guys that have been here the whole time I’ve been here, it’s been good,”” Rodgers said. “”We’ve grown tremendously, and it’s a good feeling when you can have a teammate who can be your good friend.””

    “”He knows I would have done the same for him if the situation came and he was out,”” he added. “”I would be right there waiting for him to hopefully come back as soon as possible.””

    While his relationship with the Wildcat head coach has been rocky at times, Olson said he believes Rodgers has turned the corner.

    “”It’s a team game and some guys take longer to adjust to that,”” Olson said. “”I think Chris recognizes that, and he’s going to be more ready to face that once he moves on to wherever he plays next year. His abilities are such that he can be an outstanding player on the next level, whatever level that may be.””

    Just like Luke Walton and Jason Gardner, who served as role models for Adams as seniors when Adams was a freshman, the Los Angeles native said he is trying to give back his knowledge. On the road, Adams rooms with impressionable freshman forward Fendi Onobun.

    “”I really get a chance to talk to talk him a lot about (the end of his career),”” Onobun said. “”He said, ‘It goes by like water.'””

    Adams said he understands what it’s like, having gone through the often-tough transition period from high school to college.

    “”I just try to school them on as much as I can just because I was in their same shoes,”” Adams said. “”Like I told them, it’s gonna go by fast because I can remember when I was a freshman in the same predicament when you’re kind of lost and just out there playing. You’re going to blink, and it’s going to be over.””

    The freshmen return the sentiment, knowing that the game means more to the seniors then they are willing to let on, Onobun said.

    “”As far as him, Chris and (senior forward) Isaiah (Fox) having their last games at home, I just feel like as a team, we owe it to them to get the win,”” Onobun said.

    Freshman forward Marcus Williams said he knows Adams will be more excited than usual.

    “”Knowing him, he’ll be emotional, but he won’t show it,”” Williams said.

    The Washington Huskies will have to deal with Adams, who went for a career high 32 points against them in the first meeting this season, in the home finale Saturday.

    “”I’m scared for Washington,”” Williams said.

    Rodgers may not put up 32, but just playing on Senior Day will be an accomplishment. For junior forward Ivan Radenovic, who Rodgers calls his best friend on the team, it will be even more special.

    “”Seeing Chris (on) Senior Day playing, and hopefully getting a win, it’s going to be a great day for him, but at the same time a great day for me to see him playing again,”” Radenovic said.

    Adams and Rodgers have gone through three Senior Days, observing from the sidelines as former Wildcats like Walton, Gardner, Stoudamire and Frye received their farewells.

    “”I’ve been through a couple of them,”” Adams said. “”It’s just great to see the seniors before with Salim (Stoudamire) and Channing (Frye) and how they went out, and I just want to go out on top.””

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