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2000-01 Arizona Men's Basketball Season in Review
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/13/2001
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Season Data: Arizona (28-8, 15-3 Pac-10) overcame quite a bit of adversity and closed the 2000-01 campaign with the school’s fourth trip to the Final Four and second appearance in the National Championship game in the last five years ... With its year-ending No. 2 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll, the Wildcats have now finished the year ranked in the top 10 in five of the last eight seasons ... Arizona won 20 games for the 14th consecutive year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th straight season, the second longest streak in NCAA history ... With Michael Wright earning third-team AP All-America honors, Arizona has had at least one All-America selection in each of the last five seasons ... The Wildcats’ 30 NCAA Tournament wins and 46 games played since 1985 rank fifth nationally ... Arizona ended the year by winning 11 of its last 12 games ... Eugene Edgerson became the first UA player to appear in two Final Fours (1997/2001).

The Rankings: UA finished the season ranked No. 2 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll and No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. Arizona opened the year as the nation’s top-ranked team in the media and coaches polls. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 109 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 236 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . finished his 18th season at Arizona and his 28th overall as a head coach with a career record of 639-225 (.740) and 447-133 (.771)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (250) 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 18-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), gone to four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 17 years in a row, which is the second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27)... 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 since 1990 ... He has led Arizona to 14 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 23 overall in his career, making him one of only seven head coaches in NCAA history to record 23 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 271-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 199 of its last 210 home games.

Another Successful Season: Arizona amassed 28 wins in 2000-01, topping the 20-win plateau for the 14th consecutive season and the 23rd in school history. It was also the 23rd 20-win season for head coach Lute Olson. Additionally, Arizona has now won 25 or more games for the fourth time in the last five years and the 10th time under Olson.

Arizona in the National Rankings: The Wildcats finished the 2000-01 campaign ranked in a number of national statistical categories. Arizona finished fourth in scoring margin (+15.0), 13th in scoring offense (81.3), 14th in rebound margin (+6.6), 15th in field goal percentage defense (.397), 17th in free throw percentage, 18th in winning percentage (.778) and 28th in field goal percentage (.476). Individually, two players cracked the national statistical rankings: Michael Wright finished 12th in field goal percentage (.594), and Loren Woods finished 15th in blocked shots (2.9).

Final Four Facts: 2001 marked Arizona’s fourth Final Four appearance in school history and the second in the last five years. The Wildcats have a 3-3 record in four appearances, including the 1997 National Championship. All told, the Cats have two West, one Southeast, and one Midwest Regional championship. The program advanced to the Final Four twice as a No. 2 seed (1994, 2001), once as a No. 1 (1988) and once as a No. 4 (1997).

All-Tournament: Arizona teammates Loren Woods and Richard Jefferson were both named to the NCAA all-Final Four team in Minneapolis. Woods scored 33 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked seven shots in the two games, while Jefferson tallied 36 points, 16 boards and five assists. At the Midwest Regional, Gilbert Arenas earned Most Outstanding Player honors and was joined on the all-tournament team by Woods, Jefferson and Jason Gardner.

Swat Team: Loren Woods set an NCAA Championship game record with four blocked shots vs. Duke. Woods also set an NCAA Tournament record with 24 blocks in six games. Woods’ efforts helped the Wildcats register 42 blocks in its six games, the second-highest figure in an NCAA Tournament (48, Kentucky 1998).

All-America: Arizona forward Michael Wright was named a third-team All-American in voting released March 13 by the Associated Press. Wright, a 6-foot-7, 238-pound junior from Chicago, Ill., earned the honor after averaging 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting .591 from the field in the regular season. Three other Wildcats, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Gardner and Loren Woods, earned honorable mention accolades from the AP.

All-Conference: Michael Wright and Gilbert Arenas also earned all-Pacific-10 Conference honors in voting done by the league’s coaches. For Wright, it was the second straight season in which he’s earned all-conference accolades and the first for Arenas. Arenas was an all-freshman pick a year ago.

Father-Son Bonding: Arizona sophomore Luke Walton joined his father, Bill (UCLA 1972-74), as a Final Four participant and became part of a very select group in college basketball history. The Waltons are just the third father-son Final Four combination, joining Marques (UCLA 1974-76) and Kris (UCLA 1995) Johnson and Henry (UCLA 1970-72) and Mike Bibby (Arizona 1997).

On the Sidelines: Just how important is Lute Olson’s presence on the sidelines to this team? Since Olson returned to the squad on Jan. 15, UA has been one of the nation’s hottest teams winning 18 of 21 games. Incidentally, Arizona won the last two games under Rosborough’s direction, making it 20 wins in the last 23 starts.

Drawing a Crowd: The University of Arizona is used to playing to full houses in McKale Center, but this season the draw has been almost as good on the road. In addition to the 15 sellouts at home, the Wildcats have played in front of full houses in 11 of 15 road or neutral-site games as well. In 2000-01, Arizona played in front of 143,615 spectators at those unfriendly sites, which is 95.2 percent of capacity. Ironically, none of the six NCAA Tournament games were official sellouts and played to just 85.9 percent of capacity.

Select Company: The trio of Michael Wright (1,491 points), Loren Woods (1,188) and Gilbert Arenas (1,105) each totaled 1,000 career points. It is the third time in school history that Arizona had at least three active 1,000-point scorers on the same roster. Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Craig McMillan and Anthony Cook first accomplished the feat in 1988, while Miles Simon, Mike Bibby and Michael Dickerson did it in 1998.

On Target: Arizona finished the season with a .476 field goal percentage, a figure that ranked 28th nationally. The Cats shot 50 percent or better from the floor 14 times in 2000-01 and were undefeated when accomplishing the feat.

Off Target: The Arizona defense also limited the opposition to .397 FG shooting in 36 games. UA held the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting 19 times this season, including four times in six postseason games. That figure has helped the Wildcats hold opponents to an average of 66.3 points per game. UA held opponents to less than 60 points 12 times this season.

Balanced Attack: Arizona placed at least four players in double figures in five of the six NCAA Tournament games. The balance didn’t hurt the Wildcats’ productivity, as the team averaged 79.8 points per game in the postseason and was the only club to score 100 points in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Record-Setting Effort: The Wildcats set NCAA Tournament records with its 43 free throws and 56 free throws attempted in the regional final win over Illinois. The 43 free throws broke the previous record of 41, which was set twice, last by Navy vs. Syracuse in an East Regional second round game in 1986. The 56 attempts broke the previous mark of 55 set by UTEP vs. Tulsa in a West Regional first round game in 1985. Both marks are UA school and NCAA Tournament records as well.

Reaching 1,000: Gilbert Arenas finished his sophomore season with 1,105 career points. He became just the sixth player in school history to score 1,000 career points by the end of his sophomore season. Here are the others: 1. Coniel “Popcorn” Norman (1972-74) 1,194; 2. Bob Elliott (1973-75) 1,106; 3. Sean Elliott (1985-87) 1,077; 4. Mike Bibby (1996-98) 1,061; 5. Chris Mills* (1988-91) 1,004. *Mills scored 459 points as a freshman at Kentucky in 1988-89 before transferring to Arizona.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona was 17-0 when scoring 80 points and 11-8 when it did not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 45-3 (.938) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 20-4 (.833) in the NCAA Tournament when scoring 80 points since 1985.

In the Record Books: Michael Wright finished his career in 11th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,491 points. He also ranks fourth in free throws (436), fifth in free throws attempted (582), fifth in rebounds (837), and tied for fifth in field goal percentage (.575).

Top 10: By leading the Wildcats to the 2001 Final Four, Lute Olson is now tied for sixth place in NCAA Tournament history with five Final Four appearances. He is also one of just 11 coaches to have taken two different teams to the Final Four.

Finding the Range: How important is it for UA to outshoot its opponent? On the year, Arizona was 24-1 when accomplishing the feat. The Cats outshot 20 opponents in its last 25 games.

Vs. The Conferences: In addition to its 15-3 mark in Pac-10 play, Arizona compiled a 3-2 mark vs. the Big Ten, 2-1 vs. the Southeastern, 2-0 vs. the Midwestern Collegiate and West Coast Conferences, 1-0 vs. the Big 12, Atlantic 10 and Ohio Valley Conferences, and 0-1 vs. the Atlantic Coast and Big East. UA was also 1-0 against non-Division I foes (Chaminade).

The Big House: In NCAA Tournament play, Arizona is 7-2 all-time in domed stadiums. The Cats have a pair of wins at the Kingdome in Seattle (1988 West Regional), two at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis (1997 Final Four) and two at the Alamodome (2001 Midwest Regional). In addition to a 1-1 record at the HHH Metrodome (2001 Final Four), the only other defeat came in the 1991 West Regional Semifinal, an 81-77 loss to Seton Hall at the Kingdome in Seattle.

Making Them Count: Jason Gardner displayed a knack for hitting the key trey this year. In addition to his three treys vs. Michigan State and the two vs. Illinois to propel the Cats to the Final Four, Gardner also knocked down big shots vs. Dayton, Texas and at California to name a few. He led the team in three-point field goals with 76.

On the Defensive: Credit Richard Jefferson with another fine job of defense against Michigan State’s Jason Richardson, a second-team All-American. Jefferson held him to six points on 2-of-11 shooting. In the Regional Final win, Jefferson drew the primary assignment on Illinois’ Frank Williams, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and limited him to nine points on 3-of-15 shooting. Efforts like that were nothing new to Jefferson, who has shut down some of the Pac-10’s best scorers like Casey Jacobsen (Stanford), David Bluthenthal (USC) and Jason Kapono (UCLA).

Double-Doubles: Five UA players collected 16 double-doubles this season. Leading the way was Michael Wright, who tallied nine in 2000-01. In Wright’s 99 game career, he totaled 34 double-doubles.

Tournament Success: The senior trio of John Ash, Eugene Edgerson and Justin Wessel has quite a bit of NCAA tourney success under its collective belt. The last link to UA’s 1997 National Championship team, the group went a combined 15-4 in NCAA Tournament play.

Against the Best: UA finished the season 8-5 against ranked teams. The Wildcats won five of the last six meetings against ranked opponents. Over the last two seasons, UA is 15-6 against ranked opponents.

Top Notch: When facing No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, Arizona has a 6-3 record. Prior to its loss to Duke, UA had won its last five games against No. 1 seeds dating back to 1997.

Olson Honors: UA head coach Lute Olson was given the John R. Wooden Award “Legends of Coaching” award. The award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999 and recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. Olson was honored at the 25th annual John R. Wooden Awards program.

Players of the Week: No other Pac-10 team registered as many Player-of-the-Week honors as Arizona. All told, Wildcat players earned the honor five times in 2000-01, or 33 percent of the time. Gilbert Arenas (Jan. 22/Feb. 19), Michael Wright (Nov. 27), Luke Walton (Dec. 4) and Loren Woods (March 12) each were recognized.

Triple-Doubles: On Jan. 13, Loren Woods notched the second triple-double (13 pts./10reb./10blk.) of his career. It was also the fifth in Arizona history and the 13th in league history. Woods is the first UA player to record two triple-doubles and just the second in Pac-10 history to accomplish the feat (Jason Kidd).

In Pac-10 Play: UA collected 15 conference wins for the third time in the last four years. Since 1990, no Pacific-10 Conference team has as many victories as Arizona’s 155, or as high as UA’s .782 league winning percentage.

NBA Draft Note: Arizona has the potential to lose four underclassmen to the NBA Draft (Richard Jefferson, Michael Wright, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner). Should that happen, it would be the most underclassmen lost to the draft by a single school in any given year. The current high is three by Duke in 1999 (Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, William Avery). Duke actually had four players drafted in 1999, when factoring in then-senior Trajan Langdon. This year Arizona has the potential to have all five starters drafted, when counting senior Loren Woods. That would be a first. Since the NBA Draft was shortened to three rounds in 1988, no team has had five starters drafted in the same year.

Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five players to National Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period: Wil Bynum (5-10, 170, G, Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech Prep), Channing Frye (6-10, 230, C, Phoenix, Ariz./St. Mary’s H.S.), Isaiah Fox (6-9, 255, C, Santa Monica, Calif./Crossroads H.S.), Dennis Latimore (6-8, 230, F, Halsted, Kan./Halsted H.S.) and Salim Stoudamire (6-2, 175, G, Lake Oswego, Ore./Lake Oswego H.S.). It was ranked as the ninth-best recruiting class in the nation by Clark Francis’ Hoop Scoop magazine.

Farewell, Bobbi: A special memorial fund has been established in Bobbi Olson's name at the Arizona Cancer Center, where she had undergone treatment since her illness was diagnosed in June 1998. Contributions can be made payable to the Arizona Cancer Center/UAF and mailed to Arizona Cancer Center Development, P.O. Box 245013, Tucson, AZ 85724-5013.

2000-01 Arizona Honors

Gilbert Arenas

• Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 22)

• Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week (Feb. 19)

• ESPN.com third team All-America

• The Sporting News first team all-Pac-10

• NABC first team all-District 15

• All-Pac-10 Conference

• NCAA Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player

• all-NCAA Midwest Regional

• Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America

Jason Gardner

• Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team

• all-NCAA Midwest Regional

• Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America

Richard Jefferson

• Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic All-Tournament

• all-NCAA Midwest Regional

• all-NCAA Final Four

Luke Walton

• Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week (Dec. 4)

Loren Woods

• Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic All-Tournament

• John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 30

• NABC second team all-District 15

• Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week (March 12)

• all-NCAA Midwest Regional

• all-NCAA Final Four

• Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America

Michael Wright

• Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team

• Maui Invitational Tournament MVP

• Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week (Nov. 27)

• John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 30

• ESPN.com Third Team All-America

• The Sporting News second team all-Pac-10

• NABC second team all-District 15

• John R. Wooden Award Finalist

• All-Pac-10 Conference

• Associated Press Third Team All-America

• College Hoops Insider All-America

Lute Olson

• John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching” Award

• College Hoops Insider Pac-10 Coach of the Year

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