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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Less (weight) is more

    Arizona guard Nic Wise drives to the hoop in the Wildcats 96-73 exhibition win over Team Georgia on Nov. 8 in McKale Center. The sophomore shed about 15 pounds in the offseason.
    Arizona guard Nic Wise drives to the hoop in the Wildcats’ 96-73 exhibition win over Team Georgia on Nov. 8 in McKale Center. The sophomore shed about 15 pounds in the offseason.

    It’s not the easiest thing in the world to eat right when you’re 20 years old.

    But with time and dedication, it’s not unrealistic – especially if it potentially means more playing time. Nobody knows this better than Arizona men’s basketball players Nic Wise and Fendi Onobun.

    Wise, a sophomore guard, dropped to 178 pounds from 203 during the offseason. Onobun, a junior forward, shed about 10 pounds from 239.

    Toss in the 10 pounds that guard Jawann McClellan lost this summer and the three Houston natives lost a combined 45 pounds.

    “”You know everything’s bigger in Texas,”” Onobun said with a laugh. “”Us three Texas guys are the people who lost weight.””

    To shed his excess weight, Onobun went back to Houston for part of the summer.

    “”I was eating good, nothing in particular,”” he said. “”I was getting mom’s home cooking.””

    For the 5-foot-10 Wise, it took a little more work.

    “”My whole summer was geared toward getting ready for this season and dropping off my fat and weight,”” Wise said.

    To do that, Wise frequented the hardwood, the weight room and the grocery store.

    Neil Rampe, UA’s associate director of performance enhancement, guided Wise down the path of a healthier diet that included more fruits and vegetables and fewer fatty meats, Wise said.

    His diet now consists of four smaller meals per day and nothing after 7:30 p.m.

    Though they

    I still have my strong frame, but I’m also a little quicker. That gives me the advantage against big guys. That’s how it’s going to be as far as the physical game.

    -Fendi Onobun,
    junior forward

    changed their eating habits, Wise and Onobun never lost touch with basketball in the offseason. They scrimmaged in McKale Center nearly every day with their teammates and played in games in the Tucson Summer Pro League along with McClellan and forward Jordan Hill.

    But most the offseason work focused on developing speed and agility.

    “”I still have my strong frame, but I’m also a little quicker. That gives me the advantage against big guys,”” said the 6-foot-6 Onobun. “”That’s how it’s going to be as far as the physical game.””

    After averaging nearly 10 minutes in 16 games after his redshirt was pulled his freshman year, Onobun averaged only 4.3 minutes per game in 14 outings last season. He had mental struggles and even contemplated transferring.

    Onobun’s coaches and his father, James, played a role in his staying, Fendi said.

    “”I’m an upperclassman and I know the system now,”” he said. “”I’m a lot more mature.

    “”As far as having the emotional highs and lows, I think that’s really out the door.””

    As a 215-pound prom king his senior year at Alief Taylor High School, Onobun played small forward. After switching between the three and the four at Arizona, UA head coach Lute Olson said that Onobun will be a power forward exclusively this season.

    “”I’m excited about playing the four,”” Onobun said. “”I know what I need to do. I know what’s expected of me and it’s clear.””

    Though his mid-range jumper and outside shot have improved since last year’s campaign, Onobun, who suffered from shin splits during the preseason and is out indefinitely, said he’ll be asked to work more in the paint.

    Interim head coach Kevin O’Neill said that before the injury, Onobun was competing against freshman Jamelle Horne for a starting spot.

    “”So many questions have come up about Fendi Onobun,”” Olson said at media day last month. “”Fendi has made great progress from last spring to this fall. He’s really impressed me.””

    Meanwhile, Wise has impressed coaches and teammates with his ballhandling, his aggression up and down the court and his shooting from behind the arc. Looking to boost his 8.2 minutes in 22 games last season, Wise may take on a role alongside freshman Jerryd Bayless in the backcourt, with both of them switching off as point guards.

    Wise compared the duo comprised of him and Jerryd to Oregon guards Aaron Brooks and Tajuan Porter last season.

    “”As everybody saw last year, Oregon had the two little guards, and they got (to the Sweet 16) in the (NCAA) Tournament,”” Wise said. “”We could be a pretty hard combo to guard. Somehow, we always feed off of each other’s energy.

    “”We have a lot fun playing together.””

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