TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona men’s and women’s basketball teams held the first official practice of their respective seasons in front of 7,100 fans who came out to welcome the new year in McKale Center on Friday night.
The evening was highlighted with player introductions for both the men’s and women’s teams, as well as a shooting contest, dunk contest and 20-minute scrimmage featuring the men’s team.
The evening of festivities began with the introduction of the women’s team, which was followed by short announcements from head coach Joan Bonvicini and senior guard Joy Hollingsworth. Beatrice Bofia, a 6-foot-7 junior college transfer, then was put in the spotlight, making a one-handed dunk from the baseline, bringing the crowd to its feet.
The women’s team then joined the men’s players in the stands for an autograph session prior to the introduction of the men’s team.
The men then took center stage with individual player introductions, which included their personal selection of music and their own dance to entertain the crowd. The most memorable introductions included freshmen Nic Wise jumping onto the scorer's table and tossing wristbands into the crowd and Chase Budinger, a
The sophomores and juniors were then announced, followed by a highlight video to prelude the introduction of the senior class. The video, “Cats on a Court”, was a takeoff of the motion picture “Snakes on a Plane”. Once the video wrapped up, Ivan Radenovic, Kirk Walters and Mustafa Shakur entered
Several of the men’s and women’s players then teamed up to compete in a two-ball competition. Marcus Williams and Hollingsworth held off Wise and Jessica Arnold to capture the title.
Next was the fan-favorite slam dunk contest. David Bagga, Mohammed
Onobun, a sophomore, responded with perhaps the most creative dunk of the night, jumping over a seated Wise, who bounced the ball off the court to the leaping Onobun. The dunk earned a perfect score of 50 points, but Budinger was able to capture the crown successfully completing his final dunk.
The evening wrapped up with a 20-minute scrimmage featuring the men’s team.
Wearing the red jersey’s were underclassmen Budinger, Wise, Williams, Onobun, Mohamed Tanagara and J.P. Prince. The upperclassmen donned the blue jersey’s, including Radenovic, Shakur, Jawann McClellan, Bret Brielmeier, Daniel Dillon, David Bagga and Kirk Walters.
The youthful red team got off to a fast start, thanks to Budinger’s personal 5-0 run to begin the game. The blue team fought back to get within a point at 9-8, before the sophomore Williams took over for the red team.
Williams scored six of his game-high 16 points on nearly identical plays within a minute of each other. The first was off of a spin move along the baseline where he drew a foul while finishing with his right hand, before converting the free throw. Moments later, Williams again made an off-balance shot while drawing the foul, and he again finished the three-point play unconventionally, extending his teams lead to 22-15.
The veteran blue squad fought back as Shakur, Brielmeier, Radenovic and McClellan each chipped in to tie the game at 26 apiece.
Williams again sparked the red team back in front, scoring on back-to-back plays, the second coming off an ally-oop feed in transition from Budinger.
From there, the freshmen carried the red team the rest of the way, with Wise and Hill adding two more scores each, and Budinger adding one more bucket to give the red team the victory, 51-44.
Leading Scorers in the Men's Scrimmage:
M. Williams 16
C. Budinger 12
N. Wise 6
J. Hill 6
F. Onobun 2
J. McClellan 12
I. Radenovic 11
M. Shakur 9
B. Brielmeier 6
D. Dillon 3
F. Onobun* 3
*Played on both teams