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The Daily Wildcat’s team and player of the week: Jan. 21, 2024

Oumar+Ballo+celebrates+a+Wildcat+win+over+the+UCLA+Bruins+in+McKale+Center++on+Jan.+20.+Ballo+scored+17+points+during+the+game+and+helped+close+the+point+gap+in+the+second+half.%0A
Jay Corella
Oumar Ballo celebrates a Wildcat win over the UCLA Bruins in McKale Center on Jan. 20. Ballo scored 17 points during the game and helped close the point gap in the second half.

Through this past week of Arizona sports, we witnessed a dominant performance from the No. 12 Arizona men’s basketball team as it defeated both USC and UCLA in its home game stretch. Despite it being far from football season, the football team achieved something spectacular. An announcement was made during the men’s basketball game that the majority of the team would be returning next season under the new head coach, Brent Brennan.

Player of the Week

Oumar Ballo – Center, Men’s basketball

Oumar Ballo has been crucial for the Arizona team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. This was exemplified in his dual performances this weekend, especially when Arizona was down 19 points to UCLA.

Ballo, the worst free throw shooter for the Wildcats in their starting five, with a free throw percentage of only 47.3% for the season, turned things around Saturday night. Ballo made an impressive 7 for 8 from the free throw line, sealing Arizona’s comeback.

Ballo continued to showcase his dominance in the paint with 17 points and 13 rebounds in the game against UCLA. As the season progresses, expect to see Ballo continuing to step up and meet challenges when the Wildcats are down.

Team of the Week

Football

Despite being far from football season, the team achieved something tremendous, showcasing their individual loyalty and leadership for the entire program. Just a week ago, Jedd Fisch announced he would be accepting the head coaching position at the University of Washington, leaving Tucson and hoping to move both his staff and majority of players over to the new team. This is what terrified Tucsonans and Wildcat fans; the fear the team that reached and won the Valero Alamo Bowl game was going to be stripped and taken to Seattle.

With several players entering the transfer portal, the hope for success in this coming season looked scarce. However, the swift hiring of Brennan has been able to keep the team morale as high as possible  and has already started bringing in people who will help him hold this program together. This is where the football team comes in, led by returning players Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan, the majority of the Arizona roster rushed in McKale Center.

These young men announced their commitment to the program and new guidance, headed by Brennan. The early careers of Fifita and McMillan have already shown the leadership qualities that any program would desire. Fifita and McMillan also attended a toy drive the day prior further demonstrating their commitment to the program and community.


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