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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    McClellan: ‘I’m as healthy as I’m going to be’

    Plagued by injuries last season and slowed by a knee injury early in this year’s preseason, Jawann McClellan has a message for those concerned about his health: don’t be.

    “”I’m about 90 percent right now; it’s just trying to get back,”” the junior guard said. “”Everybody asks me how my health is. Well my answer is I’m as healthy as I’m going to be.””

    UA head coach Lute Olson said if the season started today, McClellan could play roughly 20 minutes during a game.

    McClellan compared the injury to one that slowed former UA forward Luke Walton during his senior year.

    “”I could practice a little bit, but it’s just save yourself for the game,”” McClellan said. “”I could go every day in practice, and it’d be perfectly fine.””

    Also on the injury front, center Kirk Walters, who suffered a concussion in drills earlier this month and absorbed another hit to the head last week, will most likely be available to play in the team’s annual Red-Blue Game tomorrow at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

    “”I’m feeling pretty good; I mean I’m not a little bit here and there, but I’ll be back and ready to go,”” said Walters, who hasn’t been able to fully practice since the second hit but has been participating in non-contact drills and running.

    “”They didn’t want to push anything on that and catch another one and be out for a month or something,”” Walters said of the precautions. “”So we’re just kind of holding back on that.””

    Preseason hype

    With all the talent Olson’s accumulated on this year’s version of his Wildcats – from guards Mustafa Shakur and Chase Budinger to forward Marcus Williams – the preseason hype machine has started to swirl.

    A number of national publications – including ESPN’s Jay Bilas and CBSSportsLine.com’s Gary Parrish – have given Arizona national recognition, ranking them in their preseason top 10s. A third publication, the Sporting News, gives the Wildcats a nod at No. 12.

    And though it serves as a good talking point for Wildcat Nation, to the players the preseason hype is just that – hype.

    “”We have a confident team, we’ve got a lot of potential, but we aren’t really worried about that stuff,”” forward Fendi Onobun said. “”We’re worried about one goal – and we say it every day before practice – and that’s getting to Atlanta.””

    Added Budinger: “”We try not to focus on preseason, the rankings and everything, because all that really doesn’t mean anything. Look at George Mason (a No. 11 seed that made it to the Final Four) last year. Stuff like that can happen.””

    – Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.

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