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

In the recently released Pac-10 women's basketball coaches poll, the Wildcats were picked to finish fifth, behind Stanford, Washington, Oregon and USC. Apparently the word has not spread to the far reaches of our fine conference that there is a player in Tucson named Shawntinice Polk. "Polkey," as she will become known, will be the best women's basketball player ever to play at McKale. She is good enough to carry this team to a Pac-10 title.

Shawntinice Polk came to Arizona by way of Hanford, California. Last season she didn't play because of academic issues, and some believed that she would have to sit out the first half of this season as well. Hey, coaches! Polkey will play, and she will play now. So, look out!

Polkey's high school numbers are staggering. She earned first team All-America honors in 2001 from Parade, USA Today, Nike, Slam Magazine, Students Sports Magazine and the WBCA. She was ranked the nation's number one post player coming out of high school while averaging 16.1 points, 13.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game. She led her team to a 31-2 record and its first-ever California state championship. Her career numbers are even more impressive. While at Hanford High School, Polkey collected 2,163 points, 1,326 rebounds and 384 blocks. Then, just to put icing on the cake, she had eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks during the WBCA All-America game in just 18 minutes of action!

But can Polk take these numbers and make it happen in the Pac-10? The answer is a resounding YES, and here is why… First, no one works harder than she does. Polkey plays hard and she desperately wants to win. Second, she will have a sufficient supporting cast around her. Rebounding gem Krista Warren is now a senior, Julie Brase is healthy, Dee-Dee Wheeler looks better than ever during the first week of practice, and fellow Parade All-American freshman Natalie Jones looks like the real deal.

Here is the bottom line -- you want to see Shawntinice Polk play basketball. I believe that, at some point in her career, she will be named Pac-10 Player of the Year and will pass the great Adia Barnes as the top scorer of all-time at Arizona. She may even have her jersey raised to the rafters someday… Wait a minute… Do we do that for the women?

Get your tickets now because Polkey will be fun. Now you know about her, and I just hope the other Pac-10 coaches don't find out about her quite yet. In picking the Cats to finish fifth, they showed their ignorance about a player named Shawntinice Polk, better known as "Polkey".

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

*Please join us all season long on 1330 AM KJLL. Our first broadcast will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5, beginning at 6:30 p.m. for the annual Red and Blue Game.