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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bayless leads Arizona’s freshmen fivesome

    Jerryd Bayless will have his last name spelled across his back for a very long time – as a block-letter tattoo and on his basketball jersey.

    It’s almost as if he’s always got his uniform on.””Pretty much all I do is play basketball,”” he said.

    A star since his first varsity game as freshman at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, in which he scored 37 points, the two-time state Player of the Year now leads a group of five freshmen on the

    Arizona men’s basketball team that rated No. 5 nationally as a class.

    Bayless is accompanied by another guard in Laval Lucas-Perry, forwards Jamelle Horne and Zane Johnson and center Alex Jacobson.

    “”We have a lot of young guys to mix in with a good nucleus of older guys,”” said guard Jawann McClellan, one of four seniors. “”All the freshmen on this team are very basketball-savvy, and they all bring something different.””

    Bayless brings quickness, strength and athleticism, not to mention a potent offensive game.

    “”I’m very, very impressed with Jerryd Bayless,”” said forward Bret Brielmaier. “”For just a freshman and (having) never led a college team, he’s really mature in his ways and understands the game really well.””

    Bayless, who will start at point guard, enters the lineup a year after forward Chase Budinger won Pacific 10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors.

    Budinger said he’s warned Bayless about the hardships that come with the first year.

    “”He kind of has the same kind of stuff I had coming in last year,”” Budinger said. “”I’m trying to tell him the time’s going to come where he’s going to hit the wall, and … you have to mentally just stay focused and just try to grind and get through it, because it’s going to happen. It happens to every freshman.””

    Horne will likely join Budinger and Bayless in the starting lineup by Horne. Bayless’ starting nod was all but assured from the moment he stepped on campus, but Horne’s wasn’t likely until he showed his ability in the first preseason game, putting up seven points, five rebounds and four blocks off the bench against Concordia on Nov. 4.

    Lucas-Perry brings a uniqueness to the court as a former basketball, football and tennis player in Michigan. He and Johnson are a threat from the outside.

    The giant of the group at 7-foot-1 Jacobson is a beast down low. Redshirting is a possibility, with a similar player in senior Kirk Walters returning from a medical-redshirt season.

    “”All the freshmen, we’re all pretty close,”” Bayless said. “”Everyone can contribute in different ways. Everyone has come to this team to help out in some way or another.””

    – Michael Schwartz contributed to this report

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