No 'daydream': McLean provides firepower in UA victory

By Monty Phan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 11, 1996

McKale Center fans chanted "We're not worthy!" while bowing.

Coaches and teammates called him "Michael Jordan," albeit jokingly.

The only question not asked of senior Joe McLean after his 30-point outburst in Arizona's 108-76 win over Arizona State last night was, "Would the real you please stand up?"

With the bright lights of the television cameras and a bouquet of microphones in his face, McLean calmly answered the barrage of questions as if he were Michael Jordan, as if 30 points were what he scored every night.

In fact, the McKale public address announcer was so used to saying "Threeee-pointer!" that he started to credit McLean with a sixth - after a layup.

"This is the stuff I dream about, what I daydream about during the day," he said.

To put it in perspective, McLean's 30 points last night were the most by a Wildcat this season. He had career highs in points, field goals (12) and 3-point goals (5). His line in the first half - 8-of-11 shooting, 5-of-7 from 3-point range, 22 points in 1 0 minutes - may be the best of the season.

If that's not convincing, perhaps this is: With 1:39 left in the first half, the score was Joe McLean 22, Arizona State 21.

"When you look at him play like that, you wonder how good this team can really be," Corey Williams said. "I think what people got to see is what Joe is really capable of."

Not only that, but people got to see what the team is capable of - at least, that's how coach Lute Olson saw it. Olson said he was pleased with the effort of the team more than the performance of one individual.

He made light of guards Miles Simon's nine assists and Reggie Geary's eight, and said when the backcourt has nights such as that, it opens the door for performances such as McLean's.

"The interesting thing is you can see Reggie driving and yelling and as soon as he dishes he says, 'Shoot it!'" Olson said. "That's a very encouraging thing.

"There are times when (McLean) can light it up like that."

Senior Ben Davis agreed.

" I've seen him shoot like that every day in the preseason," Davis said. "It's fun to see him shoot like that in a game."

The UA coaches and players weren't the only ones praising McLean - a couple of Sun Devils got into the act as well.

"McLean hit some 3's and the crowd started getting into it and they got pumped up," guard Jeremy Veal said. "It seemed everything they threw up went in."

Said forward Ron Riley, who guarded McLean at times during the game, "McLean surprised us with 22 points in the first half. "