Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is employed by the UA as the women's basketball play-by-play announcer. He has 21 years of sports broadcasting experience and is in his eighth season as the voice of Arizona women's basketball. Every Wildcat women's basketball game this year will be broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM, with Paul calling all the action.

Courtside Archives

This Friday night, Tucson basketball fans will be in for a treat. Not only will the Arizona women's basketball team host #3 LSU in the team's first regular season game, but this game will feature a battle between two of the best freshmen in the country. It's a battle of heavyweights that should attract anyone who loves the game.

Let's begin with the visitor. Seimone Augustus is a 6-1 freshman guard from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During her senior year at Capitol High School, Augustus was named the Girls National Basketball Player of the Year. She also earned Parade All-America honors and numerous other awards. Seimone is only the second player to be named Miss Basketball in back-to-back years in the state of Louisiana. She scored a stunning 3,600 points in high school and gathered 1,728 rebounds. In short, Seimone Augustus is a great player.

Now, let's go to the home team. Shawntinice Polk (Polkey) is a 6-5 freshman center from Hanford, California. During her senior year, Polkey was named a first team Parade, USA Today, Nike, SLAM Magazine, and WBCA All-American. Polkey collected 2,163 points in high school to go with 1,326 rebounds and 384 blocks. Polkey was rated the #1 post-player coming out of high school and finished Arizona's final exhibition game with 16 points and 15 rebounds. In short, Shawntinice Polk is a great player.

So, on Friday night, these two phenoms will meet at McKale Center. The Tigers are in the top five in every poll. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have reloaded with exciting talent and have their eyes set on a shot at a Pac-10 title. The stage is set.

As promising as this match-up is between these two youngsters, this game may not swing on the talents of either Augustus or Polk. Obviously, both teams have plenty of talent to offer. I believe this game could turn on Arizona's home-court advantage. Who wouldn't want to pay six bucks and see this one? A large opening night crowd at McKale Center would be a huge factor for a young Wildcat team that is learning to win. A large opening night crowd could possibly rattle a young player named Seimone Augustus.

There has never been a better time to give women's basketball a chance. If you walk away and say that the game wasn't entertaining, that is your decision to make. But at least give it a chance because this is the most exciting home opener the Wildcats have ever had. Not only will you see two terrific teams, but also two of the most promising freshmen in the country will be on display. Keep your eyes on Augustus and Polkey. Keep your eyes open because the game will be played at a high level. Check it out. In short, Seimone Augustus and Shawntinice Polk are great players. You'll see!

See you on the radio! Paul Johnson

Please join us all season long on AM 1330 KJLL with each game broadcast beginning one half-hour before tip-off. November's schedule includes:

  • Sunday, November 17 - Arizona vs. Team Concept = 1:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
  • Friday, November 22 - Arizona vs. LSU = 6:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
  • Monday, November 25 - Arizona at Pepperdine = 7:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
  • Saturday, November 30 - Arizona vs. Georgia = 3:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up