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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pennell hired as Grand Canyon coach

    Russ Pennell won’t continue coaching at the UA, but he won’t go very far either.

    Pennell was hired as the coach of Division II Grand Canyon University in Phoenix on Wednesday.

    A news conference is expected today or Friday.

    The former interim head coach who led the Arizona men’s basketball team to a 21-14 record and Sweet 16 appearance this past season will replace Dan Nichols as head coach.

    Grand Canyon – which will join a D-I conference in two years and will be able to participate in the NCAA Tournament in four years – went 13-14 this past season, losing its last three games. The team is also expected to get a new 6,000-seat arena by the end of the year.

    Pennell, 47, will be closer to family in Phoenix and will be in the area where he coached under Rob Evans at ASU and ran the Premier Basketball Academy.

    Pennell could not be reached for comment as of press time Wednesday.

    Wise to test NBA waters

    Arizona point guard Nic Wise said he will enter his name in June’s NBA Draft, something Aran Smith, president of, said isn’t a terrible decision for Wise.

    “”I don’t think he has any shot of being drafted this year, but I think the one advantage that players have, particularly in their junior year, is that they can get in front of a few scouts, and get some input on what they can improve upon to become NBA players,”” Smith said. has pegged Wise as the No. 48 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

    Wise averaged 15.7 points, 5.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game during the 2008-09 campaign.

    As long as the 5-foot-10, 177-pound point guard doesn’t have any poor performances in front of NBA scouts and doesn’t hire an agent, Smith said Wise’s move is a positive one.

    “”I think doing what he’s doing has helped a number of guys,”” Smith said.

    Hoops team cracks Top-25 list

    Not that it matters anymore, but at least the Wildcats can say they didn’t go the whole season without being in the nation’s top 25.

    The final edition of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, released Tuesday, featured the Arizona men’s basketball team at No. 24. It was the only time the Wildcats were ranked all season.

    The ranking continues a prestigious streak for Arizona. The team has been in at least one polling period for 22 straight seasons, finishing the season with a national ranking 17 times in those 22 seasons.

    The Wildcats have been part of the top 25 for more than 80 percent of the combined polling periods (629 or 778) in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls since the streak started in the 1987-88 season, when Arizona went to a Final Four.

    Arizona finished the season 21-14 and was a Sweet 16 contender in its 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

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