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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat




    Olson doesn’t deserve full student section

    I am originally from Tucson (kind of) – I moved to town during the summer of 1996 and had the opportunity and pleasure to watch and be a part of the 1997 NCAA basketball championship celebration here in town.

    Why is this important? Because according to coach Lute Olson, who is currently unhappy about the lack of student turnout for games (he should probably be more worried about the fact his team has slipped from a No. 7 ranking to a disappointing No. 20), my seat in the student section should be sold to more “”townspeople”” (T-locs) who will probably fill the seats.

    Where Olson and this ridiculous project of a Zona Zoo go so horribly astray is to once again blame the students. Since coming back from winter break, the Wildcats have put on quite the show for our student body, going 3-6 with wins against the impressive 1-10 (Pacific 10 Conference) Oregon State, 0-11 Arizona State (good thing we didn’t blow this one), and most recently, as a special birthday treat to me, we managed to pull one off over 4-7 Washington.

    The reason students are no longer filling up our glorious student section is because we don’t want to commit the massive man-hours that come with the games, just to watch the horrible basketball we Arizona fans have been forced to stomach.

    Why should we get into line three to four hours early just to watch the UA basketball team play horrible basketball? Do I really need to sit for that long just to watch the UA put five selfish basketball players on the court who have trouble performing?

    Let’s be real: I will still show up at the games sporting my home 1-5, my boy, Mustafa Shakur jersey, I will still be screaming and praying for our team, but I think it’s despicable that the students again and again bear the blame for not showing up.

    Why are people not outraged about the team not showing up? Why does freshman Chase Budinger think he can roll around campus like the pope when he can’t even make his shots on the court? If Olson and the Arizona

    basketball team want some respect and support, they should take a moment to watch the meg-a-tron, embody the spirit of Arizona basketball and stop whining when they play like ASU. To quote Old School Arizona basketball: “”Arizona fan? Yes, I still am.””

    Joshua Offenhartz
    pre-business freshman

    Q & A with Jud Buechler

    Editor’s Note: Former Arizona Wildcat and NBA player Jud Buechler, who also starred in volleyball in high school, is helping promote Alltel’s “”My Circle Mania”” shootout, which comes to Arizona at halftime of its game against UCLA on Feb. 17 in McKale Center. The contest will give one fan and his or her circle of 10 friends a chance to shoot for $100,000, plus Kyocera phones, game tickets and VIP treatment. Fans can enter by texting UAZ to 84353 or by logging on to

    Buechler checked in with the Wildcat to talk about playing with Dennis Rodman, finding Chase Budinger and life in retirement.

    Wildcat: What was your favorite college moment?

    Buechler: Favorite college moment was probably going to the Final Four in (1988). That was something really special. Looking back, I wish I would have soaked it up a little bit more. I was a sophomore and playing a little bit but not very much and a little naive at that point to really soak it all in, and looking back, that was just a super year for us. We were ranked No. 1 most of the year and going to the Final Four, that was awesome.

    W: You’ve played with a lot of interesting players in your career, none more so than Dennis Rodman. What was that like?

    B: It was an awesome experience. Dennis was into the entertainment part of basketball. He was a great teammate. He was one of those guys when he was on an opposing team you hate his guts, but when he was on your team you loved the guy because with all of his antics off the court. Whenever he came to the games, he worked really hard, he brought it into the games. He’s a guy who averaged 20-plus rebounds and was a huge reason why we won. He was a lot of fun to be around. He’s a lot of fun to go out with down in Chicago because he was the king of the underground.

    W: You also played with Michael Jordan. Is that something you’ll be telling your grandkids about when you get older?

    B: That was like the dream come true. I was very fortunate to be there when Mike decided to come back from playing baseball. When he came back, that pretty much changed everything. It put us right where needed to be as a contender and a chance to win the whole thing. Just being around him all the time in practice and on the planes, he was just the ultimate professional. He was the first one there, last one to leave most of the time. He was obviously the best player in the NBA. His work ethic was just something to admire. Nowadays there aren’t too many guys that handle themselves quite like Michael did.

    W: You played under Phil Jackson and Lute Olson. Who would you rather take as your coach?

    B: That’s a very good question. Phil later on in my career was perfect for the NBA. In terms of developing, when I went to Arizona, coach Olson was totally responsible for developing my skills as a young player. The combination of the two really worked out. I don’t know how good Phil would be in college, and I’m not sure how good coach Olson would be in the NBA, but they’re definitely two of the best in their own element, and it would be really hard to pick one or the other.

    W: You were a great volleyball player back in your prep years. Do you still play?

    B: I play a lot during the summer, I play a lot of fun tournaments here on the West Coast. I’m not playing in the AVP events, but there’s quite a few volleyball tournaments up and down the coast here in California. I play a lot with my friends, and we try to keep it up pretty light. It’s not too serious, but during the summer, I definitely play quite a bit of volleyball.

    W: How responsible was your dad for recruiting another volleyball and basketball player (Chase Budinger)?

    B: My dad here in San Diego, he goes to a lot of games, he’s super on top of the high school sports here for every sport, for volleyball, basketball, football. That’s one of his passions, is knowing what’s going here in San Diego. I think my dad saw Chase play his freshman year and started telling me about him. And funny story, after one of his sophomore games, my dad actually called Arizona and talked to one of the coaches there and was like, “”There’s a kid here in San Diego,”” and they were like, “”Chase Budinger? We already know all about him.”” So they already knew about him, but Stevie Kerr and I went to a lot of Chase’s high school games. Chase is a local kid, lives about 15 minutes away from Steve and I. … We were really happy to see him decide to go Arizona.

    W: Was it tough to make the decision to give up competitive volleyball?

    B: It was early on. My decision-making early on, I was just like Chase, I wanted to go some place that offered both sports at a high level. My recruiting trips were just like Chase. I went to UCLA, Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, they all have great volleyball programs as well. But then it just hit me, I’m gonna go try basketball first, give that my all and if that doesn’t work out I could always later on pick up the volleyball and continue playing like that. It was very similar with what Chase went through.

    W: What are you doing nowadays aside from this promotion?

    B: I’m retired. I’m really fortunate, I’m spending a lot of time with my kids right now. I have two daughters. They’re 10, 8. I’m coaching all of their teams. I’m actually coaching both my daughter and Steve’s daughter in volleyball. That’s really fun. … I do run a few basketball camps with former Arizona player Bruce Fraser. Besides that, I’m just enjoying the time with the kids, and then maybe down the road I might want to get into coaching or something like that, but this time right now is just too valuable with the kids.

    W: You and Steve Kerr each have a chance to make the $100,000 shot. Who makes it first?

    B: I make it first, that’s out of his range. He’s good up to the 3-point line. He’s not strong enough to get it there (laughs).

    – Interviewed by Roman Veytsman

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