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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wise’s return solidifies Wildcat lineup

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Wildcats topped Augustana College 92-76 Wednesday night at McKale Center.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcats topped Augustana College 92-76 Wednesday night at McKale Center.

Nic Wise’s leadership abilities created followers way before the Twitter boom.

His importance to the Arizona men’s basketball team was put into perspective during his sophomore year, and his value to the program’s success has increased tenfold since then.

As the only senior on this season’s young Wildcat roster, Wise’s leadership is immeasurable. He made this statement in Arizona’s exhibition game against Western New Mexico on Nov. 10 when he scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with eight assists and five rebounds in just 23 minutes.

“”I’m real excited about Nic Wise,”” said UA head coach Sean Miller. “”To me, he’s ready to have a terrific senior year. He’s so important to what we do. I like the way he is — he’s ready for the game, he’s very focused, and watching the games, he’s serious about having a good performance.””

Sporting News magazine named Wise the No. 6 college point guard in the nation for this season. CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish ranked him No. 12.

The national exposure isn’t new. In February 2008, during his sophomore year, the point guard underwent knee surgery and was out for four weeks. During that span, the Wildcats went 2-5. But by the end of the season, the NCAA Selection Committee noticed how valuable to the team Wise was, and gave Arizona a postseason bid, even with only 19 wins.

Flash forward to today. Wise is playing for his fourth head coach in as many years. The current coach is a former point guard himself, so naturally Wise has thrived under Miller’s coaching style.

“”The uptempo game obviously fits Nic great,”” said Nic’s father, Greg Wise. “”Coach Miller is really good, but the coaches that he’s brought in are all really good also. The whole staff is great.””

It seemed as if the stars aligned at just the right time to keep Wise in a Wildcat uniform.

If Jerryd Bayless hadn’t gone to the NBA after his freshman season and Brandon Jennings hadn’t gone overseas after signing with the Wildcats, Wise might have left Arizona.

If Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill hadn’t gone to the NBA after last year, or if Wise hadn’t decided to back out of the NBA Draft, Arizona might not have a senior at all this season.

Having his brother, Dondre Wise, on the team with a scholarship this season certainly helps.

There is no doubt that Nic Wise is back, and is ready to be the team’s leader.

“”Nic is really the heart and soul of our team,”” Miller said. “”For any Wildcat fan, Wise definitely shows what a college basketball player is all about.””

Nic Wise spent the past summer expanding his role as a dominant point guard. He attended the USA Men’s World University Games Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. in June. In August, he went to the second annual Chris Paul Elite Guard Camp in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Paul’s camp was brief but powerful: The players had a workout Friday night, two workouts Saturday and a workout and games Sunday morning. There was even a bowling trip Saturday night.

It was a fun camp for Wise, but also a business trip for someone aspiring to get to the NBA after this season.

He returned to the desert with a new mentality as a floor general and a team leader.

“”My job is to be the coach on the floor and make sure the guys are not getting too loose even though we were up 20 points,”” Wise said.

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