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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona basketball Red Blue game more than just a scrimmage

Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tucson loves its basketball. On Sunday, the Wildcats will hold their annual Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage in McKale Center, and for the second straight year the game is sold out.

“It’s great [for] our guys out in McKale in front of 14,500 people, a super-charged environment,” head coach Sean Miller said.

“It only continues to get their feet wet and remind them of how important winning is and how much people care and support our program. Every time they are out there in front of our crowd that is to their advantage.”

In recent years, Miller has used the Red-Blue game as an opportunity to woo recruits with the regular season-esque, sold-out atmosphere.

“With that type of atmosphere on that weekend that we have here in Tucson, we really target some of the best prospects in the country, future players who can help us do great things,” Miller said. “To have them here during that weekend and experience that, that says it all.”

Freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski visited Arizona, along with the Wildcats’ two other (already committed) freshmen, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett, during last year’s game. At the time, Tarczewski was undecided on what school he’d be attending. He was choosing between Kansas and the UA.

“Coming out here and seeing all the fans, the players and how they played together, it was great,” Tarczewski said. “After that, seeing a little bit of the school, hanging out with some people, it was a great experience.”

This time around, the Wildcats will try to attract top forward prospect Aaron Gordon, ranked the No. 5 recruit in 2013 by, top 2014 and 2015 recruits Justise Winslow and Parker Jackson-Cartwright and 2015 standout guard Isaiah Briscoe, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

UA committed players Elliot Pitts and Rondae Jefferson will be in attendance as well.

The game will provide a good case for why the prominent recruits Miller is bringing to the game should come to the UA. Last year, in the midst of a NBA lockout, professional Wildcats like Jason Terry, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Derrick Williams and others were there.

Iguodala, who won’t be in McKale due to a preseason game, will be honored at halftime for winning a gold medal this summer with the U.S. Olympic team.

The main event will be the Arizona 1987-88 Final Four team, which will be honored on the 25th anniversary of the UA’s first-ever final four berth.

Sean Elliott, Anthony Cook and Steve Kerr, along with former head coach Lute Olson, led the Wildcats to a 29-4 overall record, and their Final Four appearance was the first in school history.

“For us to have the 1988 Final Four team here [that weekend] says it all,” Miller said. “If you think about those three players [Kerr, Cook and Elliott], that’s what a true program has and that is what we want to represent.”

Other former Wildcats from that team who are confirmed to attend include 12-year NBA veteran Sean Rooks and six-time MLB all-star outfielder Kenny Lofton.

“There may not be one group, in terms of one team, that is more accomplished than that group right there,” Miller said. “To be able to bring them back in front of our group, where our own team can be around them and the future of Arizona recruiting and to see their reaction — to me it is a really important weekend.”

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