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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Day by day’ for Judkins

    Garland Judkins
    Garland Judkins

    Hoops Notes

    The Arizona men’s basketball team doesn’t have a deep bench, and Garland Judkins’ antics haven’t helped.

    The freshman guard didn’t play against Oregon State last weekend because of a “”coach’s decision,”” marking the second time this season interim head coach Russ Pennell disciplined him for undisclosed reasons.

    Judkins sat on the bench in street clothes against the Beavers, nine games after he was forced to stay in Tucson while the Wildcats traveled to Texas A&M on Dec. 5.

    Pennell said Judkins will practice this week in preparation for Arizona’s games at No. 9 UCLA and USC this weekend in Los Angeles.

    “”We’ll just take it day by day,”” Pennell said. “”He’s just got to show me something all the time.””

    While Pennell wouldn’t make it clear what Judkins did or didn’t do to set the coach off, Pennell was clearly upset at Judkins after both the A&M and Oregon State games.

    He put his emotions on the table in a press conference on Monday in what he called a general statement.

    “”Anything that detracts from the team bothers me,”” Pennell said. “”Whether that’s an uninformed fan, a player not doing right -ÿanything that takes away from this basketball team.””

    Judkins started four games for Arizona before the A&M game but none since.

    On the surface, a recent emergence of Kyle Fogg, Jamelle Horne and Zane Johnson has helped make up for the absence of Judkins on the floor. But in the end, Judkins is just as important as any of his teammates, Pennell said.

    “”It matters a lot because he’s one of my guys,”” Pennell said. “”Any guy on this team is one of my guys. And I really do look at these guys as our own kids.

    “”… I wouldn’t turn my back on one of my own kids, and I won’t turn my back on one of my own players,”” Pennell added. “”So it does matter. It matters from a personal standpoint.””

    Judkins was not available to the media this week.

    With Judkins’ playing time not being constant, his teammates have been forced to play that much harder. Pennell said the Wildcats looked worn out against OSU.

    But in the end, the Wildcats showed Pennell they can fight through fatigue.

    “”I thought they showed some mental toughness and some grit, and that’s one thing that we’ve really been trying to get across to them,”” Pennell said. “”We’ve just got to become a tougher-minded team.””

    The team took Sunday off and used Monday as a “”mental practice,”” said forward Chase Budinger.

    “”It feels good,”” Budinger said. “”It feels good to rest the body, get extra sleep and just recharge.””

    Having a week with more rest is important for the Wildcats, who head into Los Angeles for contests against the Bruins and Trojans. And this weekend, Pennell has high expectations for his team.

    “”I want to see us compete for the entire two games. For 80 minutes, I want to see us compete as hard as we can,”” Pennell said. “”I don’t even want us to necessarily get caught up in the winning and losing. To me, the winning comes when you do things right – when you’re playing hard and you’re executing and the whole bit.””

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