I know what you're saying. Are you kiddin me, the Wildcats just knocked off Texas A&M and Illinois. First of all, the question was posed prior to both games. (I'm sorry, send more emails/ims). Second, Illinois is unranked and the Texas A&M game was a comeback of epic proportions. The win over the Illinois was also a great comeback. Can the Cats continue to play 20 good minutes of basketball and still knock off quality teams? Unlikely.
Without Laval Lucas Perry who transferred (see post below), the Wildcats' depth is that much thinner. An injury to any of the top three (Bayless, Budinger, or Hill) would likely be too devastating for a run at over .500 in the Pac-10. With that said, Arizona will make the tournament barring a catastrophic injury, but it's looking more like another 8 or 9 seed, which means yet another first or second round exit. Better hope Jerryd Bayless sticks around or these 8 and 9 seeds will be all too commonplace.
My initial reaction to Olson's statement that he'll be back in 2008: He's just trying to make sure Brandon Jennings and the other recruits don't go anywhere. Abdul Gaddy, the Wildcats prize recruit of 2009 told goazcats.com he's committed to Arizona and not to Olson, but teenagers minds change more often than BCS standings.
Still, it's hard to imagine that Olson will want to go out in such a tainted manner. The man hasn't missed a year of coaching in over 50 years. Like Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, this is a man who lives the game and yearns to teach. He's healthy, despite the rumors and if his family situation is resolved (which is questionable) there is no question he will be back. If it is not, his return may be delayed, but regardless Olson will be back on the sidelines coaching the Wildcats at some point.
3. Who will be the third assistant?
Now that Kevin O'Neill is the head coach, Miles Simon and Josh Pastner are the only assistants on the staff, even though NCAA rules allow three assistants. There are several options for the Wildcats.
1. Hire no one and promote coordinator of basketball operations, Jessie Mermuys, to assistant coach along with his other duties, while having Matt Brase learn the ropes of Mermuys job.
2. Bring former assistant Jim Rosborough back. That sounds good on paper, but coming back for a half season would be a huge hit to the ego, even if Rosborough is a great person. Few people would be willing to take a job knowing they will essentially be asked to step down for a second time.
3. My personal favorite. Bring in Sean Rooks. The Wildcats have lacked a real big man coach for as long as I can remember. Rooks is one of Arizona's great big men and is looking for a coaching opportunity. I spoke with him at the Long Beach Summer League two summers ago and he is enthusiastic about teaching the game. Hopefully for the Wildcats, Josh Pastner takes a head coaching job somewhere and Rooks can stick around. If not, Rooks adds a solid coaching position to build his resume. Everyone wins.
4. Did I get a Ronny Turiaf jersey?
Yes, check it out.
Did you know? Both Budinger and Bayless are shooting over 45% from three point range. The last Wildcat to shoot that well from beyond the arc was Salim Stoudamire.
NCAA hoops coaches thank Shawn Kemp's baby mamas: Shawn Kemp Jr. has received offers from Clemson, Georgia, and Ole Miss.
Ouch: Check out the Nutty Buddy
(courtesy of Jason Kleinman)
And then also:
Zach Randolph said he's bothered by the openness of fans' animosity.
"It's real hard. I ain't never been in a situation like that and I don't understand," Randolph said. "I guess they say it's New York fans, but you know it's real tough. Honestly. Especially for me, because I've never experienced every time a player walks off the court you're booing.
"Everywhere else, in Portland, fans were a big part of our team. Fans are a big part of every team everywhere you go. We need the fans to be supportive with us, even when we're down."Apparently, Randolph only remembers Portland fans cheering him. He forgot, however, that they were cheering his exit out of town. The city was sick of players like Randolph on its team and now that Randolph is in New York, that city is sick of him too. Get used to the booing Zach.
Up next for Arizona: Sunday vs. Fresno State 12 p.m. PST