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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Brothers making ’87-’88 UA hoops film

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr during a news conference at the team's practice facility in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Arizona head coach Sean Miller was hired by the school in 2009 and emphasized being “A Player’s Program.” Players from the past, present and future all belong to a rich tradition of Arizona basketball. Two brothers will create a documentary that will show how Arizona basketball became a blue blood program.

Sean and Brad Malone grew up watching basketball in Tucson and remember McKale Center vibes as if it were yesterday, which is why they will create a documentary about the loaded 1987-1988 Arizona team.

“We were just kids when that team was playing, but we remember how crazy it was to see an actual fan base for Arizona, basketball-wise,” said Sean Malone. “For that period of time, people were crazy about the Wildcats, and there was so much energy pumped into Tucson all because of that Arizona team.”

Currently, Arizona’s dominance in college basketball is mostly talked about, but it took Sean Miller more than a year to reinstate the Wildcats into national prominence. Then-Arizona head coach Lute Olson came into Tucson in 1983, but just like Miller, it took a few seasons to finally grease the wheels. Like the current team in the past two seasons, the ’87-’88 team went undefeated at home. Olson, however, has one accomplishment that Miller has yet to achieve, and that’s leading Arizona to a 31-2 record and Final Four run.

Arizona had a roster consisting of players such as current Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, NBA color commentator Sean Elliot, Tom Tolbert, Jud Buechler and Matt Muehlebach. Current guard Trey Mason’s father, Harvey Mason, was on the ’87-’88 squad as well as 2013 baseball Hall of Fame candidate Kenny Lofton.

Nobody knew at the time that this cast would go on to achieve big accomplishments. To Sean Malone, this cast would be one of the deepest basketball teams at the time.

“I remember reading somewhere at the time that the second-best team in the Pac-10 was Arizona’s bench. That team was made for success, and seeing those guys play was an unbelievable experience, and that’s why my brother and I are making this film,” said Sean Malone. “Our angle on this documentary is to capture the moments of what brought the basketball culture to a town like Tucson.”

The Malones have support from both Kerr and Elliott, who will be featured in the documentary. The duo would be considered pioneers of Arizona basketball, especially after their success in the NBA—with Kerr winning five championships as a player with the Chicago Bulls, playing alongside Michael Jordan and the San Antonio Spurs, and winning a championship as a coach in June with the Golden State Warriors.

Elliott will be one of the most interesting features, considering he is from the Old Pueblo and played at Cholla High School.

“Sean and Steve were very cooperative with the making of our film, and they will be our two primary players,” said Sean Malone. “We also will feature Lute Olson, and him willing to work with us was great.”

The film is still in the fundraising stage, so it’s unclear when it will be available.

“We are still trying to get through the kick-starter phase, but once we are through all of it, this film will really show how Arizona basketball became the centerpiece of sports at the UA,” said Sean Malone.


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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