Wildcats Open Exhibition Season With Tilt Against Team Georgia
Date:Sunday, Nov. 7, 2004
Time: 2 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data:No. 11 Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens the 2004-05 exhibition schedule with a contest Sunday vs. Team Georgia ... Team Georgia is a collection of former U.S. collegiate players ... This is Team Georgia’s first game of its tour of college teams ... UA will next be in action on Thursday, Nov. 11, when the squad hosts Sonoma State.
The Rankings:Arizona will open 2004-05 ranked 11th in the preseason edition of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The initial Associated Press poll will be released early next week. It marks the 17th time in the last 18 seasons in which the Cats have been nationally ranked in the preseason poll by the coaches. UA has been ranked in 286 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . .begins his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 711-249 (.741) and 519-157 (.768) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the second-most Pac-10 wins (290) in history, trailing UCLA’s John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.775/290-84) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 21-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 20 years, which is the longest active and 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 seven times (1986, ?'88, ?'89, ?'93, ?'94, ?'98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ?'81) and directed the UA program to the nation’s best winning percentage over the past 16 years (449-111/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 47 NBA Draft picks, including 28 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 17 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 26 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 307-32 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 235 of its last 252 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner.
Last Time Out: Channing Frye scored 37 points and added eight rebounds in leading the Red to a 105-88 win last Sunday in the annual Pepsi Red-Blue Game. Frye connected on 13-of-18 field goals and 11-of-13 free throws in the effort. In actuality, the intrasquad scrimmage was broken up into two separate halves. The first featured evenly matched squads and saw the Blue pull off a 49-48 win. The second showcased UA’s top seven against the rest of the squad (with some roster switches on the fly) with the Red prevailing, 57-39.
Not A Priority:Defense wasn’t at a premium in the Pepsi Red-Blue Game as eight of the 14 players to see action reached double figures. As coach Lute Olson always says, scrimmages are a good news/bad news proposition. If Channing Frye scores 37 points (the good), then someone on the roster should have been guarding him (the bad). All told, the Cats combined to hit 51.0 percent (74-of-145) of its field goal attempts in the Pepsi Red-Blue Game.
Stat Sheet Stuffer:Center Channing Frye recently described his point guard, Mustafa Shakur as a "stat sheet stuffer." That was certainly in evidence last Sunday as the 6-foot-3 Philadelphia product collected 13 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in 37 minutes. Shakur’s 10 assists came against just three turnovers.
Picking up Where they Left off:Last season, Arizona ranked second nationally with a school- and Pac-10-record 78.6 free throw percentage (511-of-650). The Wildcats didn’t seem to let the accuracy slide during the offseason as the team combined to hit 37-of-45 (.822) charity tosses in the Red-Blue game.
Preseason Recognition:A nation’s-best four Wildcats were included on the preseason Naismith Award watch list. Hassan Adams, Channing Frye, Mustafa Shakur and Salim Stoudamire were all on the list of 50 top college basketball players. The Naismith Award, presented annually since 1969, goes to the nation’s player of the year. Frye and Stoudamire were also included on the preseason John R. Wooden Award list, and Frye was also selected as a preseason All-American by Playboy magazine.
Tops in the Pac-10:In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title. The Cats received 19 of a possible 26 first-place votes and 253 points overall. Washington (237), Stanford (194) and Oregon (167) rounded out the top four places. It is the 10th time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.
The Next Level:With the 2004-05 NBA regular season underway, no fewer than eight former Wildcats are on active NBA rosters. Only three other schools (Kentucky, 13; Connecticut and Duke, 9) have more players in the league. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Damon Stoudamire, Portland TrailBlazers; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks; Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers; and Loren Woods, Toronto Raptors. Incidentally, six of those former Cats were in the starting lineup on opening night.
More NBA Notes:Bolstered by four schools with seven or more players each in the league, the Pac-10 Conference ranks third overall in terms of putting players on NBA rosters. As of opening night, no fewer than 40 Pac-10 alums were in the NBA. The "Conference of Champions" ranks behind only the Atlantic Coast Conference (49) and the Southeastern Conference (44) in terms of developing NBA-caliber talent.
A Nice Debut:Freshman guard Jesus Verdejo put in a nice effort in last Sunday’s scrimmage, tallying 27 points, four boards and five assists. The 6-foot-4 native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, connected on 11-of-18 field goal attempts in 33 minutes of play.
Back at It:Junior Isaiah Fox saw his first action in a UA uniform in 11 months and collected eight points, a game-high 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals. The 6-foot-9 forward had season-ending surgery after injuring his left knee on Nov. 28, 2003, against Florida.
Guarded Optimism:One number jumps out from the defensive side of the boxscore as the team collected a total of 23 steals in the Red-Blue Game. Led by Chris Rodgers (6) and Mustafa Shakur (5), Arizona’s guards amassed 16 of the 23 total pilfers. That’s a good sign of perimeter pressure as Arizona’s guards averaged just 2.9 steals per game last year.
Up Next:Arizona plays its final exhibition game of the season on Thursday, Nov. 11, against NCAA Division II Sonoma State. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen live on FSN Arizona. Following the contest, Arizona will honor former UA All-American Mike Bibby by retiring his No. 10 jersey.