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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Horne to start vs. Team Ga.

    UA forward Jamelle Horne (42) defends a shot during Arizonas 68-50 win over Concordia Sunday in McKale Center. Horne, a freshman, will join the Wildcats starting lineup for tonights 7 p.m. exhibition game against Team Georgia.
    UA forward Jamelle Horne (42) defends a shot during Arizona’s 68-50 win over Concordia Sunday in McKale Center. Horne, a freshman, will join the Wildcats’ starting lineup for tonight’s 7 p.m. exhibition game against Team Georgia.

    UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill believes the greatest teacher is the bench.

    After a strong first exhibition contest, freshman forward Jamelle Horne will not need that lesson tonight when he takes the floor as the No. 17 Wildcats’ starting power forward against Team Georgia at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

    Horne – who impressed with seven points, five rebounds and four blocks in Arizona’s exhibition game Sunday – will join expected regular-season starting guards Jerryd Bayless and Jawann McClellan and forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, taking over the one spot that seems most unsettled in the Wildcats’ lineup.

    From the beginning of this year, he’s improved tremendously,”” Bayless said of Horne. “”I think everybody just got a glimpse of him the other night, just how active he is and how big of a presence defensively he can be for us if he plays the way he did. If Jamelle keeps on doing the things he did, he definitely can help us a lot, and, hopefully, he will continue to do that.””

    O’Neill conceded that Horne would compete for a regular starting spot, but he worried about the inconsistent nature of freshmen in general, something the Wildcats saw last year at times with Hill.

    I’m never ready to anoint anybody as anything until they’ve proven it for a long period of time,”” O’Neill said, “”but with (forward) Fendi (Onobun) out, he’s obviously one of the candidates to play and possibly start.””

    O’Neill said the Wildcats like the 6-foot-6, 204-pound Horne at power forward in part because it’s the position he’s most comfortable with, having played it in high school.

    Horne stepping up at a big man spot could be important with center Kirk Walters still working his way back into game shape.

    Walters did not score and grabbed one rebound in seven minutes against Concordia but felt like he ran better than in the Oct. 30 Red-Blue Game, when he scored five points and collected three rebounds in 20 minutes.

    I felt pretty good,”” Walters said. “”Ever since Red-Blue, I’ve been feeling better. It’s good to have just going into the season and (to) sort of remember how I used to be.””

    Walters missed all but three minutes last seasons and received a medical redshirt for a second senior year after spending the season battling mononucleosis. He clearly was not himself during practice in the early part of the preseason, as the 6-foot-11 performer could not even dunk.

    Forward Jordan Hill saw the old Walters coming back at a practice a few days before the Concordia game, even admitting that Walters dunked on him.

    “”This past week I’ve seen improvement,”” guard Jawann McClellan said Sunday. “”Last week, he couldn’t even dunk a basketball. He bombed on (Saturday) like the old Kirk, and the whole team got excited. That just goes to show you how important he is to this team. We need him.””

    At the start of preseason practice, UA head coach Lute Olson said it seemed like Walters dragged something behind him when he ran, which the center called a very good analogy for his conditioning.

    I just felt heavier and just lethargic in my legs,”” Walters said. It’s just one of those things where you just keep on playing and your body adapts to it, and you just get back to what you were.””

    Walters will continue to get back into the swing of things against Team Georgia, a squad Arizona has beaten by an average score of 113-78 the last three years in exhibition contests, including last year’s 125-74 win.

    Team Georgia is made up of former college players based in Atlanta and coached by Linzy Davis, who was UA forward Mohamed Tangara’s legal guardian when he committed to Arizona.

    The contest represents the Wildcats’ final chance to work out kinks before regular-season play begins Tuesday.

    “”I think it helps us all out, just because on defense you’re playing the same guys on defense every day and you’re running our plays against each other,”” Walters said. “”As soon as you get another team, it sort of wakes you back up to what you have to do of the fundamentals on defense, because you’re not seeing the same plays, you don’t know guys’ tendencies, and it really re-reminds us what we need to do.””

    And 1

    Forward Zane Johnson will miss the game with a head injury, but he expects to return to practice Monday. He suffered the injury running down the court before getting tripped up and falling on his head. For now he said he’s “”just trying to survive.””

    -Lance Madden contributed to this report

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