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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Arizona sports final exam, summer semester 2008”

    Bobby’s World

    The end of second summer session means one terrible thing: finals, and therefore lots of studying.

    While I was sitting in the library trying to get an early start on cramming, my eyes began to glaze over from staring at my scribbled notes on electromagnetism and my mind began to wander.

    Being a sports fan, and with the view of Arizona Stadium directly through the fifth-floor window, I began to dream about sports, specifically Wildcat sports. Then I got to thinking. With all that has gone on this summer in Arizona athletics, what would a final exam in this subject look like?

    Here’s my vision. The answers are filled in, but feel free to cover them up and test your own knowledge of the summer in Arizona sports.

    Wildcats (WILD) 241
    UA sports summer ’08

    I. Fill in the blank (20 points)

    1. Arizona track athlete Liz Patterson won the NCAA Championship in the high jump.

    2. Former Arizona softball players Taryne Mowatt and Callista Balko played professional softball for the Washington D.C. Glory this summer.

    3. Two former UA golf standouts, Alison Walshe and Lorena Ochoa, finished this year’s women’s U.S. Open tied for 27th with a 5-over-par.

    4. The Wildcats sent 23 athletes, four coaches and three athletes with UA affiliations to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

    5. Leuven, Belgium will be the new home for former Arizona basketball star Jawann McClellan this year as he begins his basketball career in Europe.

    6. The Arizona baseball team fell to the Miami Hurricanes in three games in this year’s NCAA Super Regional.

    7. After being selected 11th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, former Arizona point guard Jerryd Bayless was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers.

    8. Out of the 11 Wildcats drafted in the 2008 MLB draft, only pitcher Preston Guilmet and infielder Brad Glenn have not signed professional contracts.

    9. Former UA catcher Nick Hundley made his MLB debut with the San Diego Padres July 4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    10. The Arizona football players placed on preseason watch lists are quarterback Willie Tuitama, receiver Mike Thomas and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

    II. Short Answer (25 points each)

    1. Why is a new $650,000 curtain being erected in McKale Center and where did the idea come from?

    The theory behind the enormous, pricey, navy-blue curtain is that it will create a more intimate atmosphere for volleyball, gymnastics and women’s basketball games. Volleyball head coach Dave Rubio introduced the idea after his previous plans for making Arizona’s new practice facility into his team’s game day arena fell through. The curtain will shrink McKale’s capacity to just over 4,000 and will be ready for use when the volleyball team opens its 2008 season Aug. 29 against Weber State.

    2. What was basketball forward Chase Budinger’s decision on whether or not to return to Arizona and how did he arrive at that decision?

    Possibly the only good news Arizona basketball had this summer, the junior flirted with the NBA draft early in the summer, but ultimately decided to make his return to Arizona’s lineup. In early April, Budinger declared for the draft, but never hired an agent, making a return to college a possibility. The former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year went through workouts with several teams in hopes of raising his stock to a top-20 pick. Unhappy with the feedback on his draft status, Budinger withdrew from the draft just before the deadline, much to the delight of Wildcat fans and sorority girls everywhere.

    III. Essay (30 points)

    1. Describe in detail the Brandon Jennings saga as it progressed throughout the summer.

    What a long, ridiculous series of events this was. The summer began with Arizona basketball recruit Brandon Jennings apparently committed to the Wildcats for the 2008-09 season. The top high school point guard in the nation was expected to be a crucial leader of a team that lost seven players from last year’s squad.

    However, due to the inconsistencies of the UA coaching situation over the past year and his apparent lack of book smarts, the flaky Jennings – he had already retracted one commitment from USC prior to Arizona – began admitting skepticism toward being a part of the program.

    Then the central issue arose, which would ultimately decide his fate with the Wildcats. After a failing grade on the SAT on his first attempt, and a suspicious improvement on his second, Jennings was required to take a third test to become academically eligible by NCAA standards. It was then that the 18-year-old from Oak Hill Academy began his long, steady road of backing out of his commitment as the idea of playing in Europe instead of attending college was pitched.

    For the next few weeks, as his SAT results were continuously put on hold, this idea grew into more than just a consideration. The McDonald’s All-American began dropping hints to ESPN.com that his heart was moving farther and farther away from Tucson and soon enough it became official. Jennings tore up his commitment and packed his bags for Italy.

    While the decision appeared puzzling and infuriating at first for Arizona fans, justification came a few days later when news surfaced that Jennings had failed his third SAT, which would have left him unable to attend Arizona should he have remained committed.

    But either way, Jennings’ departure meant one less addition for Wildcats basketball. So head coach Lute Olson made an attempt at filling the void by getting a much less-hyped point guard, Garland Judkins, to commit for the 2008 season. Hooray for Arizona basketball.

    I suppose that covers everything for Arizona sports this past summer. But now it’s back to reality and physics. The real final exams are on Wednesday, so you better start studying.

    -Bobby Stover is a materials science and engineering junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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