Wildcats Win 30 Games; Claim 11th Pac-10 Championship
Season Data: Arizona (30-7, 15-3 Pac-10) won 30 games, earned the school’s 11th Pacific-10 Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season, which is the longest active streak in all NCAA divisions ... UA’s Elite Eight showing was the second in the last three seasons and the eighth in 24 NCAA Tournament appearances ... The Wildcats won 30 games for the third time in school history ... UA extended its string of consecutive 20-win seasons to 18, which is the longest active streak in the nation and the longest streak in Pac-10 history as well.
The Rankings: Arizona finished 2004-05 ranked No. 9 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It marks the seventh time in the last eight seasons and the 14th time in the Lute Olson era that the Wildcats have ended the year ranked in the top 10 in one or both major college basketball polls. UA has been ranked in 303 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . completed his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 741-256 (.743) and 549-164 (.770) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson became the 16th coach in basketball history to tally 1,000 career victories (covering all levels) on Dec. 11, 2004 ... 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 most Pac-10 wins (305) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.778/305-87) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLA’s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 22-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 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 21 consecutive seasons, 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 18 years (479-118/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 28 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 18 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 27 overall in his career, making him one of only four head coaches in NCAA history to record 27 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 322-33 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 250 of its last 267 home games ... He was assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner.
Success Personified: The Wildcats totaled 30 wins in 2004-05, equaling the second-highest single-season victory total in program history. In addition to the 18th consecutive 20-win season, it was also Arizona’s 28th 20-win season and the 27th for Lute Olson as a college head coach. The Cats have the nation’s highest winning percentage over the last 18 years at .802 (479-118). In 101 seasons of intercollegiate competition, Arizona has a cumulative record of 1,488-805 (.649).
Arizona in the National Statistical Rankings: As a team, Arizona ranked among the top 30 nationally in seven statistical categories of note: fourth in free throw percentage (.776), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.402), 10th in scoring offense (79.7 ppg), 15th in win-loss percentage (.811), 22nd in assists per game (16.5), 23rd in field goal percentage (.478) and 25th in scoring margin (+10.0).
The Nation’s Best: Salim Stoudamire closed his career by leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage at .504 (120-of-238). While his shooting percentage equals the lowest for the NCAA statistical champion since the three-point field goal was adopted in 1986-87, no such champion even comes close to Stoudamire’s 120 makes or his 238 attempts in a season. East Tennessee State’s Keith Jennings comes closest, as he connected on 84-of-142 (.592) of his attempts in 1990-91, but those totals are 36 made treys and 96 attempts shy of Stoudamire’s figures this year. Stoudamire finished his career tied for ninth place on the NCAA Division I three-point field goal percentage list at .458 (342-of-747) and tied for 18th place on the three-point field goals made list with 342.
A Rarity: Salim Stoudamire is the first Arizona guard to lead his team in field goal attempts and shoot 50 percent or better from the floor since Warren Rustand in 1964-65 (137-of-272/.504). Incidentally, Stoudamire also ranked fourth nationally in free throw percentage (.910) and ninth in three-point field goals per game (3.33) this year.
All-America: Center Channing Frye and guard Salim Stoudamire both earned All-America honors, marking the ninth straight year in which the Wildcats have had at least one All-American. Frye was a second-team pick by Basketball Times, while Stoudamire garnered first-team kudos from the John R. Wooden Award, and second-team accolades from the Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association. It was the first time that Frye and Stoudamire had been so honored in their careers.
All-Chicago Regional: Hassan Adams, Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire were honored by the NCAA after each was selected to the all-Chicago Regional team. It is the just the second time in school history that three UA players have been named to an NCAA Tournament all-regional team. In 2001, Gilbert Arenas (MOP), Jason Gardner, Richard Jefferson and Loren Woods were all-Midwest Regional picks.
All-Conference: Three Arizona players earned all-conference honors in voting released March 7 by the league’s head coaches. Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire were all-conference honorees, while Hassan Adams was an honorable mention selection. For Frye, it was his second all-Pac-10 honor, while it was the first for Stoudamire. Adams was an honorable mention pick last season as well. Additionally, Frye also earned the league’s 2004-05 Sportsmanship Award (covering all student-athletes in all league sports), which is given to the person who best exemplifies the characteristics of sportsmanship.
Champions Again: Arizona’s 70-68 win over Arizona State on March 5 clinched the 11th Pac-10 regular season championship for Arizona and the 24th conference championship in school history. Of Arizona’s 11 Pac-10 titles, nine have been of the outright variety. Since UA joined the Pac-10 in 1978-79, no school has won as many conference championships as Arizona.
Top of the Charts: The Wildcats’ win over intrastate rival Arizona State on March 5 also gave Lute Olson his 305th career Pac-10 victory, moving him past UCLA’s John Wooden for most career conference wins by a head coach. In 22 seasons, Olson has a career Pac-10 record of 305-87 (.778), while Wooden amassed a 304-74 (.810) mark in 27 seasons at the helm in Westwood.
Among the Elite: The Cats advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the eighth time in school history in 2004-05. It also marked Arizona’s fifth such appearance in the last 10 seasons (1996-2005), which makes UA one of only three schools in the nation to have played in a regional final as many as five times in the last decade. Here is the list with each team’s best finish:
1. Kentucky 6 National Champions 1996, 1998
2. ARIZONA 5 National Champions 1997
Michigan State 5 National Champions 2000
30 Wins: By virtue of its win over Oklahoma State in the Chicago Regional semifinal, Arizona won the 30th game of the season, marking the third 30-win season in school history (35-3 in 1987-88 and 30-5 in 1997-98 were the others). It was also the third 30-win season for Lute Olson, which moved him into a tie for 10th place on the NCAA Division I 30-win seasons list.
Senior Moment: Seniors Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire closed their collegiate careers with a four-year record of 102-31 (.771). This continues a UA basketball legacy that has seen every four-year player to enter the program since the fall of 1985 win at least 100 games in his career, a streak that covers the last 20 senior classes.
Streak Stopped: Arizona’s one-point overtime loss to Illinois in the Chicago Regional final did saddle the seniors with a dubious distinction. They are the first senior class in 16 years to complete four years of eligibility and not participate in a Final Four. Prior to this season, every four-year class to enter the UA since the fall of 1990 had earned at least one Final Four berth. Of Olson’s 22 senior classes at Arizona, only four failed to reach the Final Four.
Record Setters: Salim Stoudamire’s 120 three-point field goals (new Pac-10 record) and his 91.0 free throw percentage (No. 7 in Pac-10 history) were each new Arizona single-season school records. In addition to Stoudamire’s records, Arizona players etched their names on the school’s single-season top-10 list a total of 13 times in 2004-05. Stoudamire’s 50.4 three-point field goal percentage (No. 6 in Pac-10 history) and Channing Frye’s 85 blocked shots (No. 5 in Pac-10 history) each ranked second in the UA annals.
High Octane: Over the last four seasons, no team in the country has averaged more points per game than the Wildcats. Since the start of the 2001-02 season Arizona has averaged 83.3 points per game, just ahead of Duke and Wake Forest who each averaged 82.1 points per game in the same span.
Hitting the Boards: Arizona outrebounded the opposition 27 times this season, and is 24-3 when accomplishing the feat. Arizona posted at least a +10 rebound margin six times in 2004-05. All told, the Cats grabbed an average of 4.1 more rebounds per game than the opposition.
Getting After it: Arizona did a good job of making it tough for opponents to score as the club limited the opposition to just 43.4 percent shooting (953-of-2,195). Ten times this season UA held the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor, including two NCAA Tournament foes (Utah State and UAB).
From the Line: One place Arizona was good all season long was at the free throw line. The Cats finished the season ranked fourth nationally with a 77.6 (541-of-697) free throw percentage. Ten of Arizona’s 13 active players, including all five starters, shot better than 70 percent from the charity stripe. Last season, Arizona ranked second nationally with a school-record 78.6 free throw percentage (511-of-650), and combined to shoot 78.1 percent (1,052-of-1,347) over the last 67 games played. Not surprisingly, those are the two best single-season free throw percentages in school and Pacific-10 Conference history.
Dialing it In: The Wildcats’ .478 (1,077-of-2,255) field goal percentage is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s definitely impressive when looking at where it back in December. Nine games into the season (through Dec. 18), Arizona was shooting a combined 39.3 percent from the floor (232-of-581). In the 28 games since, Arizona shot 50.5 (845-of-1,674) percent from the floor. Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye fueled the run. The duo combined to shoot 43.5 percent (80-of-184) in those first nine games and 55.5 percent (357-of-643) since.
Center of Attention: Center Channing Frye was so consistent for the Wildcats that it’s easy to overlook his contributions. In 37 games, the 6-foot-11 Frye averaged 15.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game. His six-point effort vs. UAB snapped a streak of 25 consecutive games in double figures, and was a bit of an anomaly in NCAA Tournament play. In 12 career NCAA appearances, Frye averaged 14.3 points and 9.6 rebounds, while shooting 55.5 percent from the floor. He also posted double-doubles in eight of those games.
Scheduled to Return in 2006: Seniors Matt Brase, Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire closed their collegiate careers in 2004-05, but the Wildcats are scheduled to return a wealth of talent in 2006. Eleven of 14 squadmen (10 letterwinners) should return next year, which means that 57.5 percent of the points scored (1,694 of 2,948), 64.7 percent of the rebounds (880 of 1,361), 74.9 percent of the assists (457 of 610) and 69.0 percent of the minutes played (5,157 of 7,475) could be back on display.
In the Postseason: Counting conference tournament play, UA was good at both ends of the court in the postseason. In seven postseason games, the Cats shot 54.3 percent (213-of-392) from the floor and averaged 81.3 points per game. Defensively, UA limited opponents to 40.2 percent shooting (177-of-440) and 69.6 points per game.
Stepping Up: Hassan Adams’ 21-point, eight-rebound, five-assist game against Illinois in the season finale was a good representation of his junior season as a whole, easily his finest all-around season to date. The 6-foot-4 Adams averaged 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.1 percent (198-of-403) from the floor. He also led the team in steals (69), which ranked sixth on the UA single-season list, and ranked second in assists (career-high 104) and blocked shots (18).
Seeking Balance: Mustafa Shakur’s 166 assists were the second most by any player in the Pac-10 Conference and his 4.5 assists per game average ranked fifth. While his scoring average (8.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.423) dropped slightly from his freshman campaign, the 6-foot-3 Philadelphia native improved his assist:turnover ratio (1.64) and ranked second on the club with a career-high 44 steals. In his 67-game career, Shakur is averaging 8.7 points and 4.2 assists per game.
Progress Made: Sophomore forward Ivan Radenovic made great strides in 2004-05 as his scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage each showed marked improvement. In 36 appearances, the 6-foot-10 native of Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, averaged 8.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 45.5 percent (117-of-257) from the field which were gains of 2.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.8 percentage points over his freshman campaign. He closed the year with three straight double-figure scoring games in the NCAA Tournament, which was his longest scoring streak of the year.
A Late Push: In what could be a sign of things to come, freshman Jawann McClellan saw his productivity rise as his playing time has increased in the postseason. The 6-foot-4 guard from Houston averaged 8.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in seven postseason appearances to go with a 57.5 (23-of-40) field goal percentage. McClellan averaged 5.8 points and 3.0 boards in 15.5 minutes per game over the course of the entire year.
Short Season: After sitting out the first 15 games while planning to redshirt, Kirk Walters made the most of his 21 appearances. From Jan. 13 to the end of the season, the 6-foot-10 sophomore from Grand Rapids, Mich., ranked second on the team with a .548 field goal percentage (17-of-31) and 15 blocked shots. He also knocked down 76.2 percent of his free throws (16-of-21) and averaged 1.4 rebounds per game while playing 9.8 minutes per game.
Always on the Run: Arizona has made a name for itself with an ability to embark on some large scoring runs. Fifteen times during the 2004-05 season UA has posted a scoring run of more than 15 points. Here is a look at the six biggest runs:
24 points ?- 38-14 run over 11:33 vs. Oregon, Feb. 17
21 points ?- 29-8 run over 8:58 vs. Manhattan, Dec. 21
19 points ?- 27-8 run over 8:10 vs. Wright State, Nov. 18
19 points ?- 22-3 run over 8:49 vs. Richmond, Dec. 30
19 points ?- 19-0 run over 4:10 at UCLA, Feb. 12
19 points ?- 19-0 run over 4:32 at Arizona State, March 5
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 142-18 (.899) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats were 18-2 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Fendi Onobun (F, 6-7, 215) from Houston, Texas, Alief Taylor High School; J.P. Prince (G, 6-6, 183) from Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School; and Marcus Williams (F, 6-6, 190) from Seattle, Wash., Roosevelt High School, will join the squad next fall.
Good Luck Coach T: After spending eight years (1998-2005) in Tucson as an assistant coach, Rodney Tention was named the head coach at Loyola Marymount University on April 5. He is the 12th Lute Olson assistant to become a head coach. Here is the list: Tom Billeter, Ricky Birdsong, Ken Burmeister, Jesse Evans, Jay John, Phil Johnson, Dick Kuchen, Kevin O’Neill, Jim Rosborough, Kirk Speraw, Rodney Tention, and Scott Thompson.
Looking Ahead: Assuming that there are no changes in the schedule, Arizona will open the 2005-06 season, Nov. 21-23, at the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The Wildcats’ Nov. 23 game in the event will be the 1,000th career game for Lute Olson as an NCAA Division I head coach. Olson would become the 21st mentor in NCAA history to coach in 1,000 Division I games.