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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mail/Blog

    Mail

    Ten years after the title: Arizona basketball

    As an avid Arizona basketball fan and university student, I would just like to take this opportunity to vent for a second.

    It is a common tradition here in Tucson that we constantly assume the highest of expectations for our treasured Wildcats. Even when we are performing below these often impossible standards, many fans will continuously reference our ’97 season in which we also appeared to be nothing particularly special, but in the end walked home with the national championship.

    However, I would like to take this moment to smack these ignorant individuals in the figurative face. Every team is different in college basketball, every season is distinctive in college basketball and every NCAA Tournament is unlike any previous one, so just because we finish fifth in the Pac-10 yet again, that does not mean we should simply shrug off diminishing defeats and draw ridiculous parallels to our exceptional 1997 basketball season.

    As far as this underachieving season goes, I have a few thoughts:

    • Mustafa Shakur: As a loyal fan and spectator, there is not a single person on our basketball team this year that we as Arizona basketball buffs would like to have the ball in their hands more than you. So when you have a wide-open jumper or an open lane, please, please, please quit passing it back outside to the perimeter to start back at point A.
    • Ivan Radenovic: Why do you not have the ball in a conference tournament game following a 37-point performance? Beats me…
    • Marcus Williams: It seems like every time I read your statistics the day following a basketball game, I am always shocked. Williams dropped 22? When did that happen? You put points on the board, but always in a quiet manner. When are you gonna drain that shot or dish that dime that puts us ahead in the crucial seconds of a game?
    • The freshman: As hard as it is to match the expectations placed upon you by the Arizona basketball fans, Chase Budinger has truly stepped up to the plate this year. Despite a lack of defensive determination, Arizona finally has a token white boy to take over when we need that 3 to put us over the top. And the even better news is that it will only get better from here. As for you, Jordan Hill, you and Budinger have combined to supply SportsCenter with more highlights than Arizona has had since those distant days of the Adams/Iguodala duo. Probably more important, however, you two have instilled some hope in us Arizona basketball addicts for the future of this program.

      As loyal fans, we are all looking forward to the NCAA Tournament. Good luck Wildcats, but as far as a 10-year reunion with the national championship goes, it’s a little sketchy.

    Jeffery Hidalgo
    Pre-journalism freshman

    It’s about time

    It’s nice to see that someone has finally written an article on the Arizona baseball fan base (Friday’s “”Big stadium, itty bitty attendence,””). Since the beginning of Arizona’s program, we have been a powerhouse team. However, not too many people recognize the fact that UA baseball is a dominating sport. Seriously, their record is (25-6) this year. It’s a shame that students and other fans do not set aside some time to watch one of UA’s top teams on campus. I mean, we do have two of the best starting pitchers in the Pac-10, and ESPN has said that our baseball stadium is one of the finest in the nation. With free admittance with your ZonaZoo pass and CatCard, it really does not make any sense why people do not attend the games. Sure, there are always going to be the people that go to some of the big games, but it would be nice to see some more regular fans attend the games instead of the scattered crowds that make our fans look careless.

    Some people that come out to the games have never even gone to a baseball game and left the stadium saying that they had one of the best times ever watching the game. So to all you students and other sports fans on campus, come out to a UA baseball game and support another elite team on our campus!

    Colin Apthorp
    Hot Corner member

    Blog

    Crier all alone at punter for now

    Isn’t it supposed to be the time of year when position battles are all the rage in college football?

    For most of the Arizona football team, yes, but at punter, redshirt freshman Keenyn Crier has been given virtually no competition all spring as he is the only one on the roster, for now.

    Two hopeful walk-ons tried out for the team yesterday after practice, but with Crier doing all the punts in practice and in Saturday’s first scrimmage, they can’t expect too much time to showcase their skills.

    Crier had six punts in the scrimmage. There was hardly any pressure in the backfield, but his longest kick was estimated at 55 yards, which he did twice.

    It’s a far cry from Nick Folk’s 74-yarder last season, but Crier still has almost five months to improve his consistency.

    “”I was really impressed with what Keenyn did,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said. “”We all saw what kind of leg he has. If he just works on his consistency, I believe he can be a factor for us this season.””

    Crier has no doubts that he will be the main punter for next season, and said he knows he will be playing next year.

    “”I guess if they bring someone in and I start slacking, then I’ll be pulled,”” he said. “”Other than that, as long as I keep doing what I’m doing now, I should be good.””

    – Mike Ritter

    No worries about lack of commits

    The past few years the Arizona men’s basketball program received commitments for its future classes before even completing its current class, but it’s a different story this season.

    Although Nic Wise committed as a high school freshman and Jawann McClellan, Fendi Onobun and Jerryd Bayless – before changing his mind and re-committing as a senior – did so as juniors, the Wildcats currently have no commits in their 2008 class.

    Should Arizona fans be worried?

    “”There’s zero concern whatsoever,”” said UA assistant coach Josh Pastner, pointing out how early in recruiting season it is. “”We’re involved with the elite-level kids in the ’08 class, and we are in great shape.””

    Signing players early may have cost the Wildcats as well in the past.

    They may have figured that Wise as a high school freshman would grow taller than 5-foot-9 and move higher than Rivals’ No. 120-ranked player, which he was before coming to Arizona.

    This also prevented Arizona from having spots late in the recruiting season to sign other high-rising players like forward Jordan Hill, who did not play high school basketball as a junior and burst onto the recruiting scene late but has become a big part of the Wildcats’ future.

    Also, a number of top programs including North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Texas, Oregon, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Stanford and Washington State have no commitments among Rivals.com’s top 150.

    “”It’s not about commitments, it’s about getting the right people to get in here to win a national championship,”” Pastner said. “”We can go get kids right now, but we want to make sure we’re getting the right kids to get a national championship.

    “”We just had a top-five class this year and top-10 last year,”” he added. “”We’re going to end up with a great class, no doubt about it.””

    Having more time to watch players before signing them may also prevent some of the recruiting mishaps that have led to Arizona’s recent less-than-stellar NCAA Tournament runs.

    – Michael Schwartz

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