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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Time will help Judkins heal

    All Madden

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The smartest thing for Garland Judkins to do right now is look toward the future. He’s no oracle, but he must work in a time zone referred to as CMT -ÿCentral Move-forward Time.

    Dwelling on the past won’t get him anywhere.

    Even though he’s averaging just 5.2 points per game, Judkins could have played a large role on his first road trip Friday night at Texas A&M, just 105 miles from his hometown. Instead, he stayed in Tucson for “”failing to meet team obligations,”” likely pacing and gnawing at his fingernails like ears of corn.

    And boy, did it hurt Arizona.

    When Nic Wise fouled out of the 67-66 loss with 7:33 to go and the Wildcats up by nine points, there was no Judkins – who played on the same AAU team with Wise in high school – to turn to as a ball handler. Instead, Chase Budinger felt the absence firsthand, acting as the team’s point guard, taking shots away from himself in the act.

    Even Texas A&M’s Josh Carter said he felt Judkins’ absence.

    “”We knew between (Judkins) and Nic, they were the two main guys who were going to be handling the ball,”” Carter said after the game. “”Since one of them didn’t make the trip, we tried to pressure Nic more.””

    And it worked.

    That Brendon Lavender wasn’t placed in the game is still a mystery, but interim head coach Russ Pennell most likely had his reasons for making that call.

    Or not making it, however you look at it.

    It’s true that Judkins isn’t Jerryd Bayless. He’s not O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love or Michael Beasley -ÿall players who were the face of their respective programs as freshmen last season.

    He’s just Garland Judkins, a humble kid from Humble, Texas. He’s a soft-spoken young man who often answers, “”Yes, sir,”” to questions and pats reporters on the back after interviews.

    But the fact is, he’s still a big part of the team and could have helped the Wildcats get their sixth win heading into a December stretch of games in which wins won’t come easily. On a team of 12 players -ÿ10 if you don’t count walk-ons – every player is important.

    It’s up to Judkins, who has started in four games, to understand that.

    Pennell didn’t start Wise and Jordan Hill for the first exhibition game of the season because they were one minute late to practice. The coach said in the long run it will make them better players, and so far it has.

    Judkins must take into account Pennell’s actions of leaving him in Tucson, and saying he didn’t miss the freshman when Wise went down on fouls.

    “”He’s just – he’s gotta show up in practice better,”” Pennell said of Judkins after the A&M game.

    It’s probably a safe bet that Judkins has become a new man from this. Wednesday’s contest against San Diego State should be the only thing on his mind. Nostalgia can’t be a part of Judkins’ thought process.

    From now on, he’s in a new time zone.

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

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