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20070814 8-14-2007 Terry Classic Story
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 08/14/2007
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A celebration like no other in Arizona sports history had just begun.

In the thunder and shouting that shook the big downtown arena in Indianapolis after the final horn, Nos. 31 and 42 acknowledged their faithful fans from the middle of the court.

That is the golden moment that stands out for Jason Terry from the night of March 31, 1997, when the Arizona Wildcats beat Kentucky 84-79 in overtime for the NCAA men's basketball championship.

"When A. J. Bramlett (No. 42) and I stood at half-court, side-by-side, and saluted the UA fans," Terry said, "that's the thing I remember most. People said for four years that we were attached at the hip."

Terry, from Seattle's Franklin High School, was a sophomore guard on the national championship team and was a major contributor to the title.

About to begin his ninth season in the National Basketball Association, Terry will join his good buddy A.J. and there rest of the 1997 Wildcat team for a special ceremony at the Lute Olson All-Star Classic dinner. It will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, in the Grand Ballroom of the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, 3800 East Sunrise Drive.

An auction and "Road to the Final Four" buffet will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the tribue to Coach Lute Olson's 1997 champs at 7:30.

Tickets, at $175 per person or $2,000 for a reserved table for 10, are available by calling 520-621-7491.

The funniest, if not most superstitious of the Wildcats, Terry recalled repeating a strange thing he did during the NCAA Tournament ten years ago. "I slept in my uniform the night before the Kansas game," he said. "We won so I did it for the rest of the tournament. . .and the rest is history."

Indeed, it is.

Arizona knocked off three No. 1 seeds -- Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky -- en route to the championship, a feat never that has never been duplicated.

"What made our team so special," Terry said, "was that we were young and fearless. It didn't matter if we were up by ten points or down by ten.

"We played the same way and everyone knew their role, not to mention the fact we had a great coaching staff. The other special quality about our team was that we always had a chance, no matter who we faced, because our toughest opponent was against each other in practice every day."

No one outside McKale Center gave Arizona, a No. 4 seed, much of a chance in the tournament. The Cats had finished fifth in the Pacific-10 Conference and had lost their final two games of the regular season, to California and Stanford on the road.

"We didn't have any special meeting or anything like that," Terry said.

"But Miles (Simon), Mike D (Dickerson), A.J. and myself remembered the tears we had shed after losing to Kansas the year before in the Sweet 16. That kept us motivated for the whole tourney."

Terry, one of the most popular Wildcat players of all time, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round (No. 10 pick) of the 1999 NBA draft. After five years with the Hawks, he joined the Dallas Mavericks for the 2004-05 season and has been one of the league's biggest stars.

The 6-2, 188 pound guard averaged 16.7 points per game for the Mavs last season.

He will turn 30 on Sept. 15.

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