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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Horne embraces role as ‘glue guy’

    Last year the Arizona men’s basketball team had a glue guy named Jawann McClellan, a senior who was far beyond his years as far as maturity was concerned. The guard, who was once a five-star recruit, endured multiple injuries and family trouble that resulted in academic struggles, but he was always emotionally strong and did his best to keep the team together, even in the hardest of times.

    In short, he was the glue guy.

    But even without McClellan, the Wildcats still have their glue guy. This year it is sophomore Jamelle Horne.

    “”More than anything, I want to be the team guy,”” Horne said, who was also a five-star prospect. “”I want to be the glue guy. We got our stars. We need a glue guy.””

    Horne came to Arizona from San Diego, Calif., as a promising 6-foot-6 forward with extreme athleticism, but was very inconsistent in the system that then-interim head coach Kevin O’Neill ran. He’d start one night, then wouldn’t play again for several games.

    In all, Horne saw action in 26 games last season, starting nine and averaging 3 points per game.

    “”Last year was a reality TV show we deserved to have. We had a guy who had his own philosophy,”” Horne said. “”I want to thank Kevin O’Neill for making me mature as a man, not as a player. I never want to sit on that bench again.

    “”I respected Kevin O’Neill,”” Horne added. “”A lot of people trash talk him, but I respect him for what he does.””

    After contemplating a transfer out of Arizona last season, Horne spent three-and-a-half weeks in the offseason working with Robert Baxter of the BX Player Development Group in New York – the same thing McClellan did last year.

    Then Horne went to San Francisco with teammate Alex Jacobson to work with Frank Matrisciano, better known as Crazy Frank, who has trained the NBA players Gilbert Arenas, Leon Powe and Kareem Rush.

    Matrisciano’s athletes run over hills while holding a 30-pound ball over their heads and run through sand pits while wearing weight belts, among other torturous workouts.

    “”Just crazy stuff,”” Horne said. “”But it was legit.””

    Horne isn’t the only sophomore forward trying to prove himself this year. Zane Johnson was pulled from his redshirt last January at ASU. He averaged just 4.9 minutes over 15 games throughout the rest of the season.

    Johnson spent part of the summer working with former roommate and current NBA guard Jerryd Bayless in Phoenix. The sharpshooter got kudos from Lute Olson before the season. The Hall of Fame coach said Johnson was one of the finest shooters on the team.

    “”Definitely, that’s my main thing. A big part of my game is to shoot the basketball, and I work on it all the time,”” Johnson said. “”So when (Olson) says that, it’s definitely a confidence booster, as well as the reassurance that he believes in me as a shooter.””

    Horne’s confidence as a shooter has also improved. That could be from the fact that he’s been compared to former Wildcat and current Milwaukee Buck Richard Jefferson, who is now in his eighth year in the NBA.

    “”Some people say it’s true, some people say it’s not. Of course, I’m going to take that with open arms,”” Horne said. “”People think I’m comparable to him. He made it to where I want to be.””

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