Bramlett ready to step in

By Patrick Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 24, 1996

Charles C. Labenz
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Freshman center A. J. Bramlett defends UCLA's J. R. Henderson in Arizona's victory Saturday. Bramlett will see increased playing time due to Joseph Blair's suspension.


Notes from the Arizona men's basketball team, while passing on a Super Bowl prediction from sophomore guard and Dallas native Kelvin Eafon:

"A whole lot to nothing," Eafon said with a smile. You figure out who has the "whole lot."

Time for Bramlett, Harris: While coach Lute Olson was certainly pleased with senior forward Ben Davis' line against UCLA Saturday 15 points, 14 rebounds the one number Olson was concerned about was the 38 minutes Davis logged.

With Joseph Blair still academically ineligible and forward Corey Williams not a true low-post player, more time will be given to two reserves 6-10, 210-pound freshman A.J. Bramlett and 6-11, 214-pound redshirt freshman Donnell Harris to lessen Davis' burden.

"I don't think we can count on Ben going 38 minutes like he did Saturday," Olson said. "The crowd had a lot to do with it they were so up for the game, his adrenaline was pumping. If we can get 32 minutes out of Ben, we'd have to feel pretty good about that."

Olson said he projected Williams playing about 28 minutes a game. Do the math and you'll see that between Davis and Williams 20 minutes need to be filled in the post.

"I'm ready for any chance I can get. I've been working hard against Joseph and Ben in practice every day, so it's an opportunity for me to get in there and play some positive minutes," said Bramlett, who has been averaging 11.8 minutes in five games in Pacific 10 Conference play and 9.3 minutes overall. Harris, who has been hampered recently with a broken nose, averages 4 minutes a game.

Bramlett said he has rebounded from a bit of a rough start, especially against Syracuse. Olson said the Orangemen's outstanding forward John Wallace was able to push Bramlett around in Syracuse's 79-70 win in Tucson Dec. 23.

"I think I've gotten a little bit beyond that," Bramlett said. "I'm just trying to play with more confidence and I think I've been doing that, and not to be scared and just play hard. I feel I have nothing to be scared of."

Though Davis has stayed out of foul trouble since Blair's suspension, Olson cautioned that fouls will be more easily picked up on the road, and Bramlett and Harris need to be ready for that circumstance. Arizona travels to the Oregon schools this week

"They need to step up, both of them," Olson said.

Damon doings: With the team heading to Oregon, Olson was reminded of a player he used to have from that state, Damon Stoudamire. The point guard was last season's Pac-10 co-player of the year and first-team All-American, and now, as the first-round pick of the Toronto Raptors, is an early favorite for the NBA Rookie of the Year award.

"He's had a lot of lights-out nights," Olson said. "So much depends on where you are drafted. He could have been drafted by a club that had a starting point guard, but he found a club that was looking to build the team around him."

Olson said he still keeps in touch with Stoudamire, although infrequently because of the schedules both have during this time of year.

Well, there's always "ER": Olson was miffed that Thursday night's game at Oregon State would not receive any television coverage due to an agreement not to show a game that conflicts with the Pac-10 game of the week. This week's game, Cal at Washington State, tips off 30 minutes after Arizona-OSU. KTTU (channel 18), which usually televises the games locally, did not pick up an option to show the game on tape delay.

"Based on the response I've gotten, there seems to be the interest, even if the game is shown two hours later," Olson said. "This morning I was walking my dog and four workers from Arizona Pipeline were digging around like crazy and they wanted to know why it wasn't on. I've heard that everywhere I go."

Davis honored: Davis was named Pac-10 player of the week after his back-to-back double-doubles against Southern Cal and UCLA. He scored a career-high 21 points and had 11 rebounds against the Trojans before his 15 points and 14 rebounds versus the Bruins. He joins Blair, who won the award the week of Dec. 4, as Wildcats so honored this season.