Date: Sunday, Nov. 5, 2000
Time: 5 p.m. MST
Location: Lute Olson Court at McKale Center (15,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: KWBA-TV (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: The top-ranked Arizona Wildcats face outside competition for the first time this season as the squad hosts the EA Sports/California All-Stars, a collection of former West Coast college players ... It's the second consecutive season in which the UA has hosted the All-Stars in an exhibition match-up ... The Cats defeated the All-Stars, 86-83, last season ... UA will have a 12-day break in the schedule after Sunday's game, as the next exhibition game, vs. Marathon, is scheduled for Friday., Nov. 17.
The Rankings: UA carries the nation's No. 1 ranking into the contest, as the Cats earned the preseason No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll, which was released Thursday. Arizona is also the top-ranked team in five other preseason basketball polls (ESPN.com, Street & Smith's, Lindy's, CBS/Sportsline, Athlon Sports).
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 18th season at Arizona and his 28th overall as a head coach with a career record of 614-219 (.737) and 422-127 (.769)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47)... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 17-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), gone to three Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997), won nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 16 years in a row, which is the second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 26)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year six times (1986, 88, 89, 93, 94, 98), the Big-10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & 81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 13 years... In his collegiate career, he has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona 15 alone on the 1990s... He has led Arizona to 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 22 overall in his career, making him one of only six head coaches in NCAA history to record 22 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 259-26 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 187 of their last 198 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner.
Pac-10 Conference Media Day: For those with satellite capabilities, the Pac-10 is providing a feed that features interviews with all Pac-10 men's basketball coaches, selected student-athletes (Loren Wood, Arizona, Sean Lampley, California, and Brian Scalabrine, USC) and highlights from last season. Here are the specifics: First feed is Wednesday, November 8, 2000 (Telstar 6C, Transponder 12 (C-Band), Audio 6.2/6.8, 11:00 am PT to Noon PT/2:00-3:00 pm ET). Second feed is Wednesday, November 15, 2000 (Telstar 6C, Transponder 12 (C-Band), Audio 6.2/6.8, Noon PT to 1:00 pm PT/3:00-4:00 pm ET).
Last Time Out: Michael Wright scored 29 points and added 11 rebounds to lead the Red Team to an 84-83 win over the Blue Team on Wednesday in McKale Center. Wright tallied 19 points and nine rebounds in the second half, as the Red erased a 42-35 halftime deficit and pick up the one-point win. Wright was one of four Red-Teamers in double figures and led the squad to a 45-33 rebound advantage. Gilbert Arenas led the Blues with 30 points (on 10-of-14 FG shooting), but missed a free throw with 0.7 seconds remaining that could have tied the game. Eugene Edgerson came up big as well, collecting 22 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Scouting EA Sports/California All-Stars: In it's current 13-game tour of the Western U.S., the All-Stars have an 0-3 record (through Thursday) after a 101-85 loss at Pepperdine. The squad is shooting a cumulative 44.2 percent from the floor (80-of-181) and averages 37.3 rebounds per game. Individually, the team is led by Larry Abney's (Fresno State) 13.7 ppg average. Corey Andrews poured in a tour-high 21 points in Wednesday's 94-88 loss at Cal State Northridge.
Preseason Picks: The ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll was released Thursday afternoon and the Wildcats earned the preseason top ranking for the second time in school history. Arizona received 19 first-place votes and a total of 756 points to finish as the coaches' pick as the best team in the nation. It is just the second time in UA history that the Cats have earned the preseason No. 1 ranking. The 1997-98 squad also opened the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. That year's defending national champions were No. 1 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls.
Call Them Favorites: In the league's annual poll of media members, the Arizona Wildcats were a unanimous choice to finish first in the 2000-01 men's basketball race (see poll at left). Arizona received all 29 first place votes and 290 points overall to finish ahead of runner-up Stanford. In the last 11 years, the preseason winner of the poll has won or shared the actual league title nine times. UA has been the preseason favorite six other times.
Back to His Old Self: In shaking off the rust of his springtime back surgery, Loren Woods put up some decent numbers in the Red/Blue scrimmage. The senior hit 7-of-14 shots from the floor, grabbed six boards and blocked three shots, all while playing 40 minutes. He was one of three players (Gardner/Arenas) to register 40 minutes of playing time.
A Brief, But Solid, Appearance: Redshirt freshman Michael Schwertley made the most of his 16 minutes in Wednesday's scrimmage. The Phoenix native collected a rebound, three assists, a block and a steal. Not a bad way to fill up a boxscore.
Sharing the Wealth: Guard Lamont Frazier shined in his efforts as the Blue Team's point guard. Not only did he tally six points and grab four boards, but Frazier collected a game-high seven assists with just one turnover in 36 minutes of action.
Finding the Range: Despite the one-point loss, the Blue Team did a pretty good job of hitting it's shots. For the game, the team was 31-of-59 from the field (52.5%), including a 55.6% ,mark in the opening half. In leading all players, Gilbert Arenas hit 10-of-14 shots (71.4%). Incidentally, UA was 9-0 last season when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor.
All That and He Dives for Loose Balls, Too: After taking a year off to finish his undergraduate degree requirements, it was good to see Eugene Edgerson back in action. Maybe he learned something from those kindergartners, because the 6-foot-6 forward poured in 22 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Had it been a regular-season contest both of those figures would have been career bests and added up to his 10th career double-double.
When It Rains...: In reaching the 30-point plateau, Gilbert Arenas blistered the nets by pouring in 10-of-14 FG attempts. He also connected on 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Although just an exhibition, Arenas was the first UA player to score 30 points in a game since Feb. 20, 1999, when Jason Terry collected 32 points vs. Oregon.
1999-2000 In Review: Arizona concluded the 1999-2000 basketball season with an overall record of 27-7 and was crowned co-champions of the Pacific-10 Conference after recording a 15-3 league mark. It was the program's ninth Pac-10 title and 13th consecutive season with 20 or more wins. The Wildcats made their 16th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament (second longest streak in NCAA history) where they were the No. 1 seed in the West Region before losing to eventual Final Four participant, Wisconsin, in the second round. Individually, three players were named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team Michael Wright, Loren Woods and Jason Gardner, who was named the National Freshman of the Year by two outlets. Gilbert Arenas joined Gardner on the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team, and Woods was named the Pac-10's Newcomer of the Year.
Who's Returning in 2000-01: The Arizona roster is once again loaded this season... The only player lost from 1999-00 is Josh Pastner (and he's on the bench as an undergraduate assistant)... In all, Arizona returns 99.3% of its scoring from this past season players who accounted for 2,582 of the team's 2,599 points and 99.7% of the rebounding from this past year 891 of the 894 boards... The 2000-01 roster includes players who have combined to play in 582 games in their collegiate careers and start 265 times. Loren Woods, Michael Wright, Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner lead a group of 10 letterwinners returning for the 2000-01 campaign. Each were named to the Wooden Award Preseason Watch list. The Cats added three incoming freshmen, Travis Hanour (6-6, 200,G, Laguna Beach, Calif.), Jason Ranne (6-4, 200, G, Tulsa, Okla.) and Andrew Zahn (6-8, 245, F, Redondo Beach, Calif.).
NBA Update: With the NBA season underway, here is a list of former Wildcats currently on active rosters in the National Basketball Association: Mike Bibby (Vancouver), Jud Buechler (Detroit), Michael Dickerson (Vancouver), Sean Elliott (San Antonio), Steve Kerr (San Antonio), Chris Mills (Golden State), Sean Rooks (Los Angeles Clippers), Damon Stoudamire (Portland) and Jason Terry (Atlanta).
Wildcats on TV in 2000-01: Once again, the University of Arizona men's basketball program will receive extensive television coverage, as 29 games are scheduled to be televised live in 2000-01. Twenty-nine of the Wildcats' 31 games are scheduled to be televised, including its preseason scrimmage and two exhibition tilts. The schedule features 14 national appearances with seven games offered nationally on Fox Sports Net, four games slated for CBS-TV, two on ESPN and one on ABC-TV. Fox Sports Net Arizona will also produce 16 games to be shown in the Arizona market, including three appearances on Tucson's KWBA-TV 58.
Up Next: The Cats return to action for its final exhibition contest on Friday, Nov. 17, vs. Marathon. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. MST start and will be televised on Fox Sports Net Arizona.