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The Daily Wildcat

 

The Walk-On: David Bagga

The Walk-On: David Bagga

It was the perfect twist, movie-like almost.

David Bagga and his Mater Dei Academy team were squashed like bugs in the California State championship game. Bagga was feeling dejected as a third-string player who rarely saw court time in high school, and he had no clue where he was going to college. On the ride home, his father, Steve, gave him some words of wisdom.

“”When one door closes,”” he said, “”another door opens.””

Bagga opened the door of his home in Southern California to a banner that read “”Congratulations”” hanging on the wall. His mother, Liz, was crying and handed him a framed acceptance letter to the UA. He was officially a Wildcat.

This is one moment Bagga, the hoopster-gone-author, has shown in his newly released book, “”The Walk-On,”” which is expected to be available on Amazon.com today. The self-published book can also be purchased through the publisher on AuthorHouse.com.

Of any former UA men’s basketball players from the past decade, Bagga probably has the most interesting story to tell. He walked onto the team in 2005 without the coaches ever seeing him play, in person or on film, and he endured some of the more dramatic years in the history of Arizona hoops. Because Bagga, 22, was so well-liked as a player who hardly played in games, it’s almost a given that his book will sell well.

And that’s why he should have showed readers more.

Written as more of a chronological diary than a book, “”The Walk-On”” is 99.9 percent about basketball, journaling his life from a senior in high school to his pro tryouts after graduating last May. The book is full of praise for Lute Olson, though we don’t learn too much about Bagga the person.

Because Bagga was such a popular member of the team for the past four seasons, people already know about him as an athlete. He’s the inspirational walk-on who cared more about his team than his own stats. In reading “”The Walk-On,”” I wanted to know a lot more than Bagga gave me.

Though limited, there are some juicy points in the book:

•About teammate Marcus Williams: “”Marcus was cocky. From the day I met him, I could tell he was into himself; there’s nothing wrong with that but I had never met anyone who was that into himself.””

•Bagga accidentally tripped former teammate Jesus Verdejo in practice while getting a rebound. Verdejo responded with a punch to Bagga’s jaw.

•His freshman year, the team prayed together before games.

•Bagga and Jordan Hill often roomed together on the road last season. Hill used to fall asleep with the TV on every night in the hotels.

These tidbits into Bagga’s life are great, but they’re minimal and buried in blow-by-blow wrap-ups from each game of Bagga’s UA career from his perspective.

The book, which is just less than 200 pages, is also raw, literarily speaking. In some instances, random words are capitalized in the middle of sentences and the names of Jerryd Bayless, Laval Lucas-Perry and Kevin O’Neill are misspelled. Bagga also mentions a number of people by their first names without ever giving their last, which is bound to confuse anyone unfamiliar with Arizona basketball.

Bagga touches on many subjects that are very engaging on the surface, but he leaves plenty of questions to be answered. For example, Bagga contemplated quitting the team during O’Neill’s 5 a.m. preseason practices, but there are virtually no details about O’Neill other than he was “”tough.”” And this is a coach that we know once kicked and broke a grease board in the locker room.

Pull the curtain down and tell us more, Bagga, tell us more.

As an author, Bagga’s on the right track in his first attempt, and his book is at least worth giving a read-through as an Arizona fan. But it’ll need a revision before it’s a slam dunk.

— Lance Madden is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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