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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Athletics summer recap

Tyler Baker
DaVonte’ Neal goes for a catch during the second half of a game versus USC at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, October 11, 2015. Arizona lost the game with a final score of 26-28.

It was a busy schedule for Arizona Athletics this summer. Arizona gymnastics published a YouTube video of the hit song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”, catching the attention of SportsCenter and racking up more than 320,000 views.

It helped that the video featured Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez dancing and was picked up by Bleacher Report. The GymCats also began their next chapter with head coach Tabitha Yim taking the reigns of the Wildcats.

Arizona football found themselves ranked in the AP Top 25 preseason poll for the first time in 16 years. Preseason camp made the Wildcats stronger, more experienced and ready to come back with vengeance, especially after their poor finish to last season.

But the highlight moment for the Wildcats during preseason camp was when Rodriguez canceled practice. He gathered every player, coach and manager onto the practice field in full pads and equipment, and without telling anybody, canceled practice. The players went ballistic.

Arizona basketball had its ups and downs this summer, especially with recruiting. The Wildcats lost the 2016 5-star forward T.J. Leaf to decommitment.

The Wildcats also missed out on 5-star shooting guard Markelle Fultz, who chose Pac-12 Conference foe Washington over the Wildcats.

But as any true Wildcat fan might know, trust in the system and especially in Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller.

Arizona baseball found a new head coach in Jay Johnson in June. Johnson brings experience to the feild as he was the head coach of the University of Nevada for the previous two seasons and has served in a coaching role since 2002.

The Wildcats finished 31-24 last season, but struggled in their conference and finished with a 12-18 record. Moving forward, Johnson and UA baseball must push themselves in one of the more difficult conferences in the country.

Arizona volleyball has much to prove after losing their senior captain and star Madi Kingdon to graduation. Nonetheless, the Wildcats enter the season ranked No. 17 in the preseason poll, their highest since 2005.

Returning just one senior in Halli Amaro, the Wildcats bring in the No. 14 ranked class in the nation.

The biggest loss for the team is 6-foot-8 outside hitter Ashley Harris, who left the program and the university.

Arizona Athletics administration staff also found their summer a success. The division reworked their partnership with Nike, that now lasts until 2025.

The Wildcat Club member count has increased to 12,900, setting a record for the second straight year.

The UA also picked five individuals and four NCAA championship teams for induction into the UA Sports Hall of Fame. Most notably, former Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez, who coached the Wildcats for 14 seasons.

With the summer officially in the books and fall classes underway, it is time to see all the summer preparation officially pay off.

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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