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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats focus on discipline

    Arizona forward Jordan Hill, center, bodies forward/center Chinemelu Elonu in a 67-66 Texas A&M win in Reed Arena on Friday. Hills physical play and a verbal comment cost him a technical foul in the game.
    Arizona forward Jordan Hill, center, bodies forward/center Chinemelu Elonu in a 67-66 Texas A&M win in Reed Arena on Friday. Hill’s physical play and a verbal comment cost him a technical foul in the game.

    When Jordan Hill picked up his second foul of the game against Texas A&M on Friday, the UA forward swung his arms in frustration, stormed to the bench and sat for the final 13:08 of the first half.

    Later on, Hill picked up a technical with 6:33 left in the game, allowing the Aggies to inch even closer to an A&M victory with a five-point swing.

    Hill and UA interim head coach Russ Pennell talked after the game, but the coach didn’t give Hill a chance to explain himself.

    “”That was a one-way conversation,”” Pennell said, “”because I felt like that was just a lack of discipline, and he knew that. He was sorry. I was pretty tolerant of a mistake one time. Hopefully he learned his lesson on that.””

    After the game, Hill expressed remorse to the media for the incident in which he said something to an Aggie on the court.

    “”I just need to ignore what other opponents are saying,”” Hill said after the game. “”When I’m on the court, I’ve got a lot of fire. I like to intimidate other opponents. I just like to talk a little bit. Tonight just wasn’t a good time to talk.””

    Added Pennell: “”You got to play a little bit of poker. Don’t even let them know they’re getting under your skin.””

    Such a sense of discipline is what Pennell searches for in his team – a tall task for a team facing its third head coach in as many years. During that time, the Wildcats have been forced to adjust to a new set of regulations under each regime, from Lute Olson to Kevin O’Neill, and now Pennell.

    Although they may seem irrelevant to the actual game itself, Pennell has imposed rules to keep his team in check and disciplined. For example, players are not allowed to wear headphones while walking through airports or wear baseball caps on the road.

    It’s not his preference to wear ties, but as a college basketball coach, Pennell knows that it is the expectation, and uses the same mindset for toward his own rules for players.

    “”It’s part of the way society works and systems work,”” he said.

    Judkins practicing again

    Freshman guard Garland Judkins, who did not make the trip to A&M this past weekend for failing to meet team requirements, has returned to the court, practicing with the team.

    It’s still undetermined whether Judkins will play Wednesday against San Diego State, as Pennell stated that he “”never says anybody’s going to play”” for sure.

    “”He and I have had discussions,”” Pennell said. “”We talked and it’s about what he does on the floor.””

    Although Judkins’ actions have not been disclosed publicly, Pennell said all instances will be treated the same way in order to develop a sense of accountability.

    Pennell said he feels his message got across to the freshman, who would have made a return to his home state for the game against the Aggies.

    “”The situation I am in, being an interim head coach, it’s not an ideal situation,”” Pennell said. “”It doesn’t matter if I had a lifetime contract here or interim coach. I’m going to coach the same way.

    “”If you do the right things, you get to play. And when you don’t, you don’t,”” Pennell added. “”I think it deters other kinds of incidents that can arise.””

    Vegas weekend features hoops, football teams

    The UA football team’s 31-10 win over ASU on Saturday clinched the Wildcats’ first bowl berth since 1998 and a trip to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Bowl.

    UA head coach Mike Stoops earned the first winning season with the program in his fourth year – effectively cooling down questions about job security.

    It’s something Pennell can relate to.

    “”I’ve been in those situations before where you need that breakthrough year,”” Pennell said. “”People don’t understand what it takes to get to that kind of year. Then all of the sudden, when you do, it’s huge.

    “”It’s not only big for the university but it’s going to be big for his recruiting,”” Pennell said. “”I’m happy for them. Them being in Vegas, I was hoping our fans try to get tickets to our game.””

    The basketball team will play the University of Nevada-Las Vegas at noon on Dec. 20, and the football team will take on No. 17 Brigham Young University at 6 p.m. the same day.

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