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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Basketball begins with McKale Madness

    UA senior Ivan Radenovic splits the defense of freshman Jordan Hill, right, and sophomore Marcus Williams in the 20-minute scrimmage that was a part of McKale Madness Friday evening in McKale Center.
    UA senior Ivan Radenovic splits the defense of freshman Jordan Hill, right, and sophomore Marcus Williams in the 20-minute scrimmage that was a part of McKale Madness Friday evening in McKale Center.

    Chase Budinger stole the show Friday night at McKale Madness.

    The freshman made a grand entrance wearing sunglasses as he walked in holding a volleyball with a beach towel over his shoulder. He then proceeded to win the dunk contest and help lead the underclassmen to a 51-44 win in the team’s scrimmage in front of about 7,100 fans.

    “”If we can get Chase to play without sunglasses and a beach towel over his shoulder, we should be all right,”” UA head coach Lute Olson joked to the crowd.

    On a night featuring introductions, an autograph session, a two-ball contest mixing the men’s team with the women’s basketball team, T-shirt giveaways, a $10,000 half-court shot attempt and a dunk contest in addition to the scrimmage, it was clear by the scowl on Olson’s face after miscues that though the night was all about having fun, the following practice on Saturday was going to be less than exuberant.

    “”It was good way for the guys to get out there and have the crowd there,”” Olson said. “”We’ll get to work (Saturday, but) tonight was a lot of fun.

    Sophomore Marcus Williams led all scorers with 16 points, which included two circus shots in the span of two minutes, as Williams twisted in the air and threw up two answered prayers with his back to the basket, drawing the foul each time.

    Budinger, who played alongside Williams instead of matching up against him as he has throughout pickup games and the 10 pre-Canada-trip practices, knocked down the first 3-pointer of the game en route to 12 points for the winning Red Team (underclassmen). Fellow freshmen Nic Wise and Jordan Hill added nine and six points, respectively.

    “”I think the three freshmen gave people the opportunity to see what we’re excited about,”” Olson said.

    Junior Jawann McClellan led the Blue Team with 12 points, and seniors Ivan Radenovic and Mustafa Shakur scored 11 and nine points, respectively.

    Olson described McClellan as “”still having a way to go conditioningwise,”” as the guard continues to recover from a right knee injury. He played in only two games last season before fracturing his wrist in his second game against Oregon in January.

    Sophomore J.P. Prince was in attendance but did not participate in the events because of what Olson called “”a personal thing.”” Olson said Prince’s absence from the court was not due to an injury or a disciplinary measure, and that he would still practice today.

    Junior Daniel Dillon played sparingly because doctors told the coaching staff he could only play for five minutes. Dillon fractured his foot in the summer but has been medically cleared to practice, which he did for more than a third of the session Saturday,

    “”He’s had no pain at all, but they’re just being very, very cautious with that foot,”” Olson said.

    Senior Kirk Walters was limited to judging the dunk contest because of a concussion he suffered in practice. Olson said it was unclear when Walters would be cleared to practice.

    Williams and women’s team captain Joy Hollingsworth, a redshirt senior, took home the 2-ball title over Wise and junior Jessica Arnold after a 30-second shoot-off that included a half-court 10-point shot from Williams.

    Budinger won the dunk contest over forward Fendi Onobun prior to the scrimmage. Budinger scored big with the judges and the crowd with a between-the-legs, left-handed jam as well as a two-handed windmill dunk.

    “”Those dunks are really amazing,”” Olson said.

    Sophomores Mohamed Tangara and David Bagga also participated in the contest.

    “”The guys really enjoy going out and hamming it up a little bit with the introductions and the dunk thing,”” Olson said. “”They enjoy it, so I enjoy it.””

    Bofia falls in dunk contest

    The scare of the night came when junior college transfer Beatrice Bofia, the women’s team’s 6-foot-7 center, awkwardly fell after attempting a two-handed dunk in the contest.

    She was helped to her feet by members of the men’s squad and came away unscathed from the incident, but not before giving women’s basketball head coach Joan Bonvicini quite a scare.

    “”It was an accident,”” Bofia said. “”You never know what’s going to happen in your life.””

    Bofia, who threw down a dunk before being mobbed by teammates at the opening of McKale Madness, attributed the fall to not warming up enough before the contest rather than nervousness in front of more than 7,000 fans.

    Don’t expect this to keep her from dunking in the future.

    “”This little accident won’t stop me from dunking in the contest,”” Bofia said. “”It makes me stronger.””

    – Michael Schwartz contributed to this report

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