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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Academic crunch hits men’s hoop

    It’s often the most overlooked part of their job description: The “”student”” portion of student-athletes.

    Even through the rigorous nonconference scheduling, NCAA athletes must still go through the schoolwork crunch that all students must face.

    No exceptions for the Arizona men’s basketball team.

    As late-semester exams and finals begin to engulf UA students, the Wildcats are forced to compensate for those additional academic demands.

    It’s not exactly best timing, as an unforgiving nonconference schedule begins heating up with tougher opposition and true road trips.

    “”Man it’s rough; you just have to find a way,”” UA forward Fendi Onobun said Wednesday. “”Thank god I’ve been able to manage my time in a way where I can get things done. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination.””

    Onobun took an exam Tuesday prior to his game against Loyola Marymount that evening.

    While managing afternoons between classes, studying and practice, Onobun will take two exams today before departing to College Station, Texas, for Friday’s game against Texas A&M.

    The team also holds a morning practice before heading out.

    “”I’m up late studying and up early studying,”” Onobun said. “”This has been a rough time for me, but for the most part, I’m in great academic standing.””

    Onobun, a senior, is on schedule to graduate in May after taking 15 units this semester. Because Onobun kept ahead in terms of credits, the forward only needs to take one class (three credits) next semester.

    “”It’s very difficult because they’re stressed; they’re trying to practice,”” UA interim head coach Russ Pennell said Wednesday.

    UA guard Kyle Fogg also has an exam this morning and will be excused from practice during such time, Pennell said. It’s a common trend this time of year, as Wildcats come and go from practice during its duration to make time for exams.

    Instead of building on prior practices, Pennell will use the exam-interrupted time to move back to the basics. The Wildcats will revisit fundamentals and basics of basketball, rather than clogging their already burnt-out minds with more complicated plays.

    Arizona hosts San Diego State on Dec. 10, then travels to Phoenix for a game against No. 5 Gonzaga on Dec. 14.

    Finals wrap up just before the Wildcats head to Las Vegas on Dec. 20 to play UNLV.

    “”As a coach, you just try to understand that,”” Pennell said. “”There will still be enough time to prepare for the game after finals.””

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