20070313 Key Reserve - David Bagga - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site
 
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20070313 Key Reserve - David Bagga
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/13/2007
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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186159"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186159">David Bagga</A></A> is the most popular reserve on the Arizona basketball team but there's nothing reserved about his enthusiasm for teammates, the school or campus life.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">A 6-foot-5 sophomore walk-on from Foothill Ranch, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Calif.</st1:State></st1:place>, Bagga exudes the kind of leadership - from the bench - that many coaches wish they had on the court.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">He is the reigning Wildcat "Gumby," a term not only endearing but honored at UA since the colorful bench brigade of 1988 cheered the starting rotation to the school's first-ever appearance in the Final Four.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">When Bagga enters a game at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">McKale</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Center</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> the fans cheer wildly.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>When he scores, the place goes crazy.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"I can't thank the fans enough for their support," Bagga says.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>"I've been a Wildcat since I was 10, watching them play on TV and cheering for them in the NCAA Tournament.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"Everyone has a role and mine is to work hard in practice wherever they need me, whatever they need me to do.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>My job is to do that with enthusiasm."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">And boy, does he!<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Though he rarely plays more than a minute or two himself, when a game is pretty much in the "bag,"<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Bagga is constantly encouraging his teammates.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"David is a credit to our basketball program, our athletic department, our university and his family," <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> athletic director Jim Livengood said.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"He is truly one of those young men who stand out and people are referring to when they say, 'Wow! I'd be proud for him to be my son."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Livengood adds, "Our university got better the day David enrolled."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">It's a mutual admiration society.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Listen to Bagga's account of his first meeting with Livengood:<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"We were at the Maui Invitational in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hawaii</st1:place></st1:State> my freshman year. At the airport picking up our bags, Coach Roz (<A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39540"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39540">Jim Rosborough</A></A>) said, 'Do you know who that is?' He pointed to Mr. Livengood.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"I said, 'I think it's the athletic director.' And Coach Roz said, 'Why don't you go say hi?'<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"So I walked up to introduce myself and Mr. Livengood stuck out his hand first.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>He said, 'David, it's a pleasure to meet you.'<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>I couldn't believe it."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Rosborough says Bagga fills his role perfectly.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"To be honest," said Rosborough, "in all the 31 years I've been coaching, I've never seen a better walk-on player than <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186159"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186159">David Bagga</A></A>.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>I've coached walk-ons at <st1:State w:st="on">Iowa</st1:State>, <st1:City w:st="on">Tulsa</st1:City>, <st1:place w:st="on">Northern Illinois</st1:place> and UA.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But none of them could equal David in terms of being exactly what you need out of a walk-on.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"He's just about perfect.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>He has a positive attitude, the guys love him, he's great on the bench and he has no unreasonable expectations about playing time.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"He's upbeat, has no ego and he's just a great representative of our program. David's also a hard worker who has gotten better in his two years here."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Bagga, in addition to giving a lot of effort in practice in exchange for very little playing time in games, serves on the Student Athlete Advisory Board. <o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"Mr. Livengood is always at our meetings, throwing out ideas and things," Bagga said.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"At SAAB we talk about issues and problems of student-athletes.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Things like study hall and, one of the recent issues debated, whether there should be male practice-players for women's sports.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"It's a very worthwhile group and I'm proud to represent the basketball program on SAAB.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Becky Bell is our coordinator and she does a great job.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>She's very professional."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Bagga played high school basketball at Mater Dei in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Santa Ana</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">Calif.</st1:State></st1:place>, one of the traditional powerhouses of that state.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It's the school that produced former Wildcats <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=122572"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=122572">Reggie Geary</A></A>, <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=181087"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=181087">Miles Simon</A></A> and Dylan Rigdon. <o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Simon is an assistant to UA head coach <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39523"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39523">Lute Olson</A></A>.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">David had opportunities to play, and would almost certainly have started, at numerous smaller schools. <o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">But his heart was set on <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Arizona</st1:State></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">One day Olson showed up at Mater Dei, recruiting another player.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Bagga was on the scout team and he hit six three-point field goals.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>He wasn't sure the Hall of Fame Wildcat coach paid any attention.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">But Lute did, and eventually there came the invitation to Bagga to walk on at <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State>.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">The day his acceptance letter arrived, Bagga walked into his house and was floored by a 15-foot-long sign put up by his parents:<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"Congratulations, David!"<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">His mom had bought him a Wildcat sweatshirt and had the acceptance letter in a frame.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">The celebration honoring his acceptance to UA didn't quite end there.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"I called <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=68128"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=68128">Jack Murphy</A></A> (now with the Denver Nuggets front office, but at the time the Wildcat administrative assistant and video coordinator) to give him the good news," Bagga said.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"I had put our telephone on 'speaker.'<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Murph was with the team at the NCAA Regional in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:City>.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Suddenly there was this enormous cheer<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>-- <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39532"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39532">Salim Stoudamire</A></A> had just hit that 15-foot jumper to beat <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Oklahoma</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> in the Sweet Sixteen.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"My mom thought they were cheering my acceptance."<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">When <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186159"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186159">David Bagga</A></A>'s sneakers squeak across the floor during warm-ups, he knows it's about as much action as he will see.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; mso-layout-grid-align: none"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">If that's the way it turns out, that's fine with him - as long as the Wildcats win.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">"To me," he says, "success is my team winning."</SPAN><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P>
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