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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hoops update: Seniors Matt Haryasz and Hassan Adams face-off against the states they grew up in

    Claire C. Laurence/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior guard Hassan Adams shoots over Oregon States Chris Stephens during Arizonas 80-58 victory on Saturday in McKale Center. Adams contributed 8 points and a game high 9 assists.
    Claire C. Laurence/Arizona Daily Wildcat Senior guard Hassan Adams shoots over Oregon State’s Chris Stephens during Arizona’s 80-58 victory on Saturday in McKale Center. Adams contributed 8 points and a game high 9 assists.

    PALO ALTO, Calif. – Stanford senior center Matt Haryasz and Arizona senior guard Hassan Adams grew up worlds apart.

    Haryasz in tiny Page, Arizona, population 6,818, Adams in slightly more than tiny Los Angeles, population 13 million and counting.

    Haryasz grew up an Arizona fan, but his chances of playing for the Cats grew slim when in 2001 the team already had Adams, Andre Iguodala and senior guard Chris Rodgers as well as class big men Dennis Latimore, Channing Frye, and redshirt senior Isaiah Fox.

    So Haryasz and Adams swapped states. Now they’re swapping stats as well.

    Adams began the season as Arizona’s main threat, at one six-game stretch scoring 24.8 points per game, culminating in a 32-point effort in a win at Washington. His production has dwindled as of late though, as over his last five games, Adams’ has averaged 11.4 points per game.

    While Adams was lighting up opponents, Haryasz, who has battled plantar fasciatis, averaged 10 points per game in a three-game stretch in late December. He skipped out on the next game to rest his foot and the rest is history.

    Over the last 10 games, Haryasz has averaged 20.3 points per game, including the Oregon State game in which he played just 13 minutes and the California game when he didn’t start, but still managed to score 18 points and grab seven rebounds in 27 minutes.

    Against California Thursday night, Adams floated around the perimeter, not posting a single point or rebound in the second half aside from one 3-pointer late in the second half.

    “”It’s just a total shock to the entire staff,”” Arizona head coach Lute Olson said of Adams’ decline in production. “”We’ve spent a lot of time talking about it.””

    Adams, who has the ability to be a human highlight film with his fast break dunks, is part of the reason the Wildcats had a big donut in the fast break points column, prompting Olson to say “”This is the first time in 23 years we didn’t score a fast break basket.””

    Olson said the only thing to which he can attribute Adams’ fall is a lack of effort.

    “”He’s not playing as well right now…we can’t figure it out,”” Olson said. “”He’s not giving us effort.””

    Olson also pointed to Adams’ second half stats and said “”When that happens it’s gotta be him, it’s gotta be up to him. He’s to us what each of the top guys are on the other clubs, yet he hasn’t been playing to that level and in my opinion it’s effort.””

    For Haryasz, playing Arizona is not as special anymore, this being Haryasz’s fourth year at Stanford.

    “”This is the eighth time playing them, it’s not anymore special than any other game, especially right now… we just need a win,”” Haryasz said.

    The 6-foot-11-inch Haryasz was in seventh grade when the Wildcats won the NCAA National Championship and he remembers the time fondly.

    “”I was absolutely an Arizona fan growing up in Arizona,”” Haryasz said. “”They won the national championship and they had so many good players go through there.””

    As for the recruiting process, Haryasz understands the situation and harbors no ill will toward the Arizona program.

    “”I have no hard feelings towards anyone in the Arizona program,”” he said. “”That’s a very classy program and they treated the whole situation with a lot of class.””

    Olson called Haryasz the best big man in the Pac-10 last week and surely could use his presence inside.

    “”They just didn’t have a scholarship for me at that position and that’s just something that didn’t work out,”” Haryasz said. “”It wasn’t in the cards.””

    The Cardinal was in the cards, however, and Haryasz and Stanford have won six of their last eight, including an 82-69 win over Arizona State on Thursday, when Haryasz scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds.

    The Wildcats beat Stanford at McKale Center 90-81 in overtime on Jan. 19, a game in which Haryasz’s had a shot to win in regulation but missed, despite a questionable non foul call.

    “”That’s a game that I think we should have won and could have won,”” Haryasz said. “”That was just one play of several at the end of the game and in overtime that did not go our way.””

    Arizona has lost their last two games at Maples Pavillion. Two years ago, in one of the most memorable plays between the two teams, Nick Robinson made a half court shot to win the game for the Cardinal.

    Although neither team has lived to its preseason billing, Stanford head coach Trent Johnson was still fearful of Arizona.

    “”We have to take care of the ball,”” Johsnon said. “”They’re as good defensively as anybody in our league, always have been, always will be, and probably as good as anybody in the country. You look at the rate they cause teams to turn the ball over, it’s pretty impressive.””

    Rodgers, who’s a forced turnover waiting to happen, played 22 minutes against California and figures to be locked up on either senior guard Chris Hernandez or senior forward Dan Grunfeld, who went for 31 points against Arizona State.

    “”He’s a really good defender, and he’s a really good player so it will be interesting,”” Grunfeld said of Rodgers. “”I think we’ve definitely matched up with each other at times, but they have so many guys on the wing that you find yourself matched up in a game against four or five different guys.””

    Olson said he wants Rodgers more involved offensively as well. Rodgers took three shots against California, knocking down one.

    “”You know when he comes back that he’s going to be a little reluctant to be aggressive offensively,”” Olson said. “”We’ve talked to him from the standpoint of we need him to be aggressive right now because of the way we’re shooting the ball from the outside.””

    As for Rodgers attitude at practice and off the court: “”Great attitude, and working very hard,”” Olson said.

    The Wildcats frontcourt once again played well, but for Arizona to avoid their third road sweep of the season, Olson said the backcourt will need to do its part.

    “”We need to move better without the ball, and we need to be much more active,”” Olson said. “”We’re not hard to guard on the perimeter at all.””

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