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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hurt Wise leads ‘Cats into final exhibition

    Arizona guard Nic Wise dribbles the ball with his head bandaged in the second half of Thursdays 97-83 exhibition win over Division II Incarnate Word in McKale Center. Wise, who received five stitches above his eye, is trying to recuperate from the head injury, along with knee and ankle ailments.
    Arizona guard Nic Wise dribbles the ball with his head bandaged in the second half of Thursday’s 97-83 exhibition win over Division II Incarnate Word in McKale Center. Wise, who received five stitches above his eye, is trying to recuperate from the head injury, along with knee and ankle ailments.

    Arizona vs. Sonoma State

    The Arizona men’s basketball team will likely ebb and flow with the health and production of Nic Wise this season.

    It happened last season – Arizona went 2-5 without Wise – and with the guard being part of the Wildcats’ big three this year, along with Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger, it’s crucial for Wise to stay healthy.

    Easier said than done.

    The Wildcats go into tonight’s game against Division II Sonoma State of Rohnert Park, Calif., at 7 in McKale Center with Wise still recovering from more than one ailment. He was held out of Monday’s practice after re-injuring his left ankle:ÿHe tried to take a charge from teammate Zane Johnson during Saturday’s practice and Johnson landed on his ankle, which Wise had rolled in practice Nov. 1.

    Wise also received five stitches above his left eye after being knocked to the floor in Thursday’s exhibition game against Incarnate Word.

    “”He’s had quite a bit of swelling. It’s almost a delayed effect,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”The other day it looked like he’d been in a prize fight. His eye was pretty swollen.””

    Added forward Jamelle Horne: “”I was worried he wasn’t going to come back, but the guy’s a trooper, man. He threw a Band-Aid over it, put some Robitussin on it and he got back out there. We love Nic Wise. Great guy.””

    Pennell said Wise should be ready to play tonight, but if he isn’t, more pressure will be placed on freshman guard Garland Judkins to perform.

    Practice has not been slowed with Wise off the court, but has actually had some benefits, the interim coach said.

    “”Would I like to have him out there? Absolutely,”” Pennell said of Wise. “”But it’s allowing us to coach the Garland Judkinses of the world, so to speak, and force them into a bit more of a role. I guess maybe I’m just trying to see it with the glass half full.””

    Judkins scored nine points on 2-of-6 shooting in just 16 minutes in Thursday’s exhibition. He showed a lack of fear by driving to the lane and earning 10 foul shots. But fear is something Pennell said Judkins needs to have more of so he doesn’t turn the ball over as much.

    “”The big thing we want with Garland is to value the basketball,”” Pennell said. “”When he learns to do that, he’s going to be really good for us. Athletically, he’s as good as anyone.””

    Judkins has the team’s best vertical leap, Pennell said, though he did not know just how high the 6-foot-3 freshman could jump. Budinger has been reported to have a vertical leap of 40 to 43 inches.

    “”We’ve just got to get him so he’s solid with the ball,”” Pennell added.

    Judkins said he knows more eyes will be on him if Wise has to sit out, but the guard – who hails from Humble, Texas, about 25 minutes from Wise’s hometown of Houston – said he also feels very comfortable playing with Wise.

    “”Nic and I are good friends, and we’ve played together before,”” Judkins said. “”It’s nothing new for us to be on the floor at the same time.””

    In fact, Judkins said it is beneficial to have two point guards on the floor at the same time, because the team would then have two floor generals – one as a point guard and the other as a scorer.

    “”We can both score from the off position,”” Judkins said. “”And (the coaches) just want us to get out there and run, and create for others.””

    Budinger is also able to bring the ball down court, but by moving Budinger to point guard, it takes away from what the coaches want him to do, which is score, Pennell said.

    “”Yes, we can use (Budinger) in that capacity,”” Pennell said, “”but we need one of these other guys to step forward, and be able to play in that spot so that Chase can stay in his role.””

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