Nov. 2, 2001
Date: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2001 Time: 4 p.m. MST Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls) TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: Arizona (28-8, 15-3 Pac-10 in 2000-01) plays the first of two exhibition games Sunday, Nov. 4, vs. the EA Sports Southwest All-Stars ... Yes, it's the Southwest version of the EA Sports All-Star program, as the company sponsors six different all-star traveling teams that crisscross the country during the college basketball exhibition season ... This is the third game of Southwest squad's tour ... One of the players on the EA Sports roster is former UA standout Justin Wessel ... The Wildcats look forward to playing some outside competition after two weeks of practice, especially with the season opener scheduled for Nov. 8.
The Rankings: UA finished the 2000-01 season ranked No. 2 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 109 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 236 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . enters his 19th season at Arizona and his 29th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 639-225 (.740) and 447-133 (.771) at Arizona ... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (250) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 18-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 nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 17 years in a row, which is the 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 six times (1986, '88, '89, '93, '94, '98), the Big 10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & '81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 14 years (377-87/.813) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona - 15 alone since 1990 ... A Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame finalist in each of the last two years, Olson has led UA to 14 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 23 overall in his career, making him one of only seven head coaches in NCAA history to record 23 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 271-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 199 of its last 210 home games.
Last Time Out: Jason Gardner and Channing Frye combined for 55 points and Luke Walton added 20 points and 12 assists as the Arizona Blue team tallied a 125-78 win over the Red squad in the annual Pepsi Red-Blue scrimmage last Sunday. Gardner was 12-of-19 from the floor and hit four treys, while Frye was 11-of-18 and added eight boards and four blocks. The Blue team jumped out to a 13-0 lead and never looked back. Freshman Will Bynum led the Red squad with 19 points.
Scouting the EA Sports All-Stars: The EA Sports Southwest All-Stars opened its 11-game tour of the Western United States with a 72-67 loss Thursday at Utah. EA Sports shot 53.2 percent for the game (25-of-47), including 5-of-11 from three-point range, but was outrebounded, 36-28, and committed 26 turnovers. Three EA Sports players finished in double figures, led by Maurice Spillers' 15 points. Former Wildcat Justin Wessel added 11 points and Nick Bradford added 10. The All-Stars play Friday, Nov. 2, at Utah State before heading to Tucson.
Last Meeting: EA Sports jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first 2:27 before a Gilbert Arenas trey at the 14:13 mark gave Arizona a lead it would not relinquish in a 104-66 win in McKale Center on Nov. 5, 2000. Six UA players finished in double figures, led by Luke Walton's 16. Arizona shot 53.4 percent from the field while limiting EA Sports to just 27.0 percent accuracy for the game.
Call it a Coincidence: Maybe it was destiny that Isaiah Fox came to play at the University of Arizona. Not only was his father, Nils, an offensive lineman at UA (1983-84), but Isaiah was born on the same day that Lute Olson was hired as the Arizona head coach, March 29, 1983. Both the Wildcat program and Isaiah seemed to have grown up nicely.
Minute by Minute: It's certainly no secret that Jason Gardner will occupy a lot of minutes as the team's most experienced guard. Gardner was the only player to log 40 minutes of action during the Pepsi Red-Blue scrimmage last Sunday. Considerable playing time is nothing new to Gardner, who has averaged 34.4 minutes per game over his two-year career. That's the highest figure in school history for a player with at least 50 games played.
Roster Moves: Two players were added to the roster late last week after surviving the program's fall tryout. Junior Fil Torres (G, 6-2, 185) from Lisle, Ill., and freshman Anas Fellah (G, 5-10, 165) from Tucson have officially joined the program. Counting senior forward Peter Hansen, who will join the team after the completion of football season, these two additions bring the number of players on the roster to 14.
Talent Pool: With the NBA season opening earlier this week, no fewer than 11 former Wildcats are on NBA active rosters. Only one other school in the country (North Carolina) has more of its alumni on active rosters. Here is the list of Arizona players currently playing in the NBA: Gilbert Arenas (G/Golden State/1st year), Mike Bibby (G/Sacramento/4th year), Jud Buechler (F/Phoenix/12th year), Michael Dickerson (G/Memphis/4th year), Richard Jefferson (F/New Jersey/1st year), Steve Kerr (G/Portland/14th year), Chris Mills (F/Golden State/9th year), Sean Rooks (C/Los Angeles Clippers/10th year), Damon Stoudamire (G/Portland/7th year), Jason Terry (G/Atlanta/3rd year), and Loren Woods (C/Minnesota/1st year).
Good News/Bad News: As Coach Olson stated after last week's Pepsi Red-Blue Game, "Anytime it's an intrasquad scrimmage, it's going to be good news, bad news." The good news: the Blue team shot 60.7 percent from the floor, committed just 10 turnovers and scored 125 points. The bad news: the Red team committed 27 turnovers and gave up a 13-0 run to start the first half and a 23-6 run to open the second half. It certainly will be interesting to see how the team fares against some outside competition.
Nice Debut: While every player on the active roster saw plenty of playing time and 12 of the 13 players scored, one freshman's play stood out last Sunday. Channing Frye, a 6-10 center from Phoenix hit 11-of-18 shot from the field, grabbed eight rebounds and swatted four shots in 36 minutes.
From Behind the Arc: One factor that may have been overlooked in last Sunday scrimmage was UA's accuracy from three-point range. As a team Arizona connected on 19-of-36 attempts (.528), including the Blue's 11-of-19 (.579) accuracy. Guards Will Bynum (6-of-8) and Jason Gardner (4-of-8) combined to shoot 10-of-16 (.625) from behind the arc.
Walton-esque: While the numbers may have been a bit higher, the proportions were certainly the same for junior Luke Walton and his usual all-around game: 20 points, five rebounds, 12 assists, one turnover and three steals in 37 minutes.
In Case You Were Wondering: If you thought the start of the season has come quickly...you were right. No Arizona team has ever opened the regular season as early as Nov. 8. The earliest prior start was in 1997-98, when UA defeated Tennessee, 73-72, on Nov. 13. It is an interesting combination that matches UA's earliest debut with its youngest team.
Pac-10 Predictions: In voting done by Pac-10 Conference media members, Arizona was picked to finish fourth in the league standings, its lowest predicted finish since 1985-86. Despite receiving two first-place votes (one of three teams to do so), UA ranked fourth with 200 points behind UCLA, Stanford and USC. Ironically, the last time the Cats were picked to finish as low, Coach Olson and crew captured the first his of nine Pac-10 titles.
Rick Is Back: After sitting out last season as a redshirt, junior Rick Anderson returned to action at McKale Center in fine fashion. The Long Beach, Calif., native hit 8-of-11 shots from the floor, collected seven rebounds and added three assists and five steals.
Wildcats on TV in 2001-02: Arizona will once again receive extensive television coverage, as every game, including exhibitions, are scheduled to be televised live in 2001-02. The schedule features 13 national appearances with five games offered on Fox Sports Net, five games slated for CBS-TV, two on ESPN/ESPN2 and one on ABC-TV. Fox Sports Net Arizona will also produce 17 games to be shown in the Arizona market, including four appearances on Tucson's KWBA-TV 58.
Up Next: There is no rest for these young Wildcats, as the team opens the 2001-02 regular season Nov. 8 vs. No. 3 Maryland at the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic in New York City. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST and will be televised on ESPN2. Arizona will take on either No. 5 Florida or No. 17 Temple in the consolation/championship game on Friday, Nov. 9. The consolation game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2, while the championship game will top-off at 9 p.m. on ESPN.