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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dirty work has its rewards

    Adam Raczynski
    Adam Raczynski

    It’s easy to run down the list of guys who’ve made an impact at Arizona in the last four years: Hassan Adams, Channing Frye, Salim Stoudamire, Andre Iguodala.

    But what about the few who sit on the bench in suits, bring Lute Olson statistics sheets, run on the court to wipe the floor, work long hours to break down tape and through it all get noticed about as much as an insect in a grand ballroom? Arizona’s three senior managers are in a small fraternity, which is an “”integral part”” of Arizona basketball, according to assistant coach Josh Pastner.

    The only difference: they mostly work behind the scenes. But don’t feel too bad for them.

    Even though senior manager Ryan Hennick had to wake up at the break of dawn to help UA forward Marcus Williams with his workouts, he loved every minute of it.

    “”(For) a lot of people that might be a pain in the butt, but I know that it’s getting him better and it’s going to help our team better and it’s working out an NBA guy,”” said Hennick of his one week of two-a-days in the summer with Williams starting at 6 a.m.

    Hennick, senior video coordinator Adam Raczynski and office manager Daniel Corrales have been Arizona’s go-to guys.

    Corrales deals mostly with the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts, organizing data, keeping a contact list for the coaches, giving reports on whom to contact and sending out mail and e-mails about anything positive written about Arizona basketball.

    This year, Corrales has also begun typing Olson’s practice schedule.

    “”I’m actually pretty good at reading his handwriting,”” he said.

    Raczynski watches game film on all of Arizona’s opponents and breaks it down to a “”a point that allows the coaches to do a scouting report.””

    He also makes highlight tapes, breaks down tape to help Arizona’s players develop individual skills and helps scout individual opponents. A few times this year, Raczynski stepped on the practice court and scrimmaged because the Wildcats were lacking practice players.

    “”It was incredible being out there,”” he said.

    Hennick, who is considered a floor manager, is responsible for setting up the practice court, bringing out the baskets and the towels and helping the players with drills. Hennick passes into the post, plays dummy defense and does “”basically anything”” to help out during practice.

    Their jobs do come with some perks. Corrales was answering phones in the office one time when ESPN analyst Dick Vitale called.

    “”I’m like ‘Arizona basketball,’ and it’s like ‘I’m Dick Vitale asking for coach Olson’ and (I thought) ‘are you serious?'”” Corrales said in his best Vitale voice.

    Corrales, a self-proclaimed “”die-hard”” basketball fan who was at the 1997 Final Four with his mom and sister, has also received calls from UCLA legend John Wooden and ESPN analyst Andy Katz.

    When he was in North Carolina, he took a picture alongside Olson, Dean Smith and Roy Williams. For Corrales, who was born and raised in Tucson and played basketball at Pueblo High School, that was a moment he’ll never forget.

    “”I’m some kid, I went to Pueblo High School on the south side of Tucson and here I am in the Dean Dome with coach Olson, Dean Smith and Roy Williams. That was probably one of the best moments of being a basketball manager,”” he said.

    For Hennick, there’s nothing like going into Pauley Pavilion and beating UCLA, like when Arizona beat the Bruins 97-72 in 2004.

    “”Being able to go into Pauley for shootaround and practice look up, there’s so much history there for me as a basketball junkie, it was just amazing,”” he said. “”And to go in there later and just crush them and then stand up and look up at the student section and talk a little crap to them.””

    Hennick’s duties, however, also include the odd job here and there. Sometimes he’ll get a call from one of the players and hear, “”Hey, can you go take me to get a haircut?””

    “”Sure, I’ll do it, more as a favor, not like we’re required to,”” said Hennick, who added that the job “”could be a 24-hour thing.””

    When he took over for his brother Sean, a former UA manager, Ryan knew what he was in for. But he still couldn’t help being intimidated standing next to former Wildcats Rick Anderson, Luke Walton and Channing Frye.

    “”I always felt like I had an immediate rapport with the guys, I was a big basketball guy, I knew the game, and I just tried to do my job and not try to do too much and I ended up kind of jelling with them,”” he said. “”Originally there was but as the years went on, they’re just like my other friends.””

    Raczynski, who went to Lute Olson basketball camp for 10 years starting when he was 7 years old, remembers meeting Olson and the players when he first became a manager.

    “”It was tons of intimidation, I just felt like this small little guy and these guys are obviously going to play at the next level, and the names are what’s probably the scariest thing,”” he said.

    “”To this day, coach O still kind of has this aura about him where you have to step back and just go wow, this guy is really incredible,”” he added.

    The prestige of working for Arizona basketball isn’t lost on the managers. They get the calls saying “”Oh, I saw you on TV”” from their friends.

    Raczynski’s dad saved a picture of his son from a game he saved on DVR. Hinick saw himself and Raczynski going crazy after Budinger’s 3-pointer to give Arizona a seven-point lead against Oregon Saturday.

    Associated head coach Jim Rosborough wondered how they weren’t called for a technical as he watched the tape with Hennick.

    When Corrales’ mom talks about him and his sister Jody, a lawyer, her friends usually focus on one thing.

    “”My mom was talking about her kids and said, ‘Oh Jody is a lawyer and Daniel is an undergrad, he’s a basketball manager,’ (and the response is) ‘Oh, your son is a basketball manager?'”” Corrales said.

    As the three get ready for Arizona’s last two games in McKale Center, a large chapter of their lives is coming to a close.

    Raczynski will go on to a masters program in civil engineering, Corrales hopes to get into the NYU sports business masters program and Hennick will be sending out letters across the country hoping to land a basketball operations job. But whenever they think back to their days at Arizona, they’ll have the same thought: It was the chance of a lifetime.

    “”Obviously the basketball program itself being able to be around on a day-to-day basis is a dream come true and it’s by far the best four years of my life,”” Hennick said.

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