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Olson reinstates Douglas


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA sophomore shooting guard Ruben Douglas takes a shot during a game last year. Douglas did not dress or sit on the bench during Sunday's exhibition game against Alytus Alita because of a coach's decision, but returned to practice yesterday.

By Bryan Rosenbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 9, 1999
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UA sophomore guard Ruben Douglas is back practicing with the team after sitting out Sunday's 96-44 exhibition win against Alytus Alita of Lithuania, but the exact reasons why he did not dress remain unclear.

Head coach Lute Olson originally planned to discuss why Douglas did not dress or even sit on the bench after practice yesterday, but instead released a statement and avoided the issue altogether.

"Ruben and I met yesterday (Sunday) to sort things out and after the both of us met, we felt it was better for him not to participate in the game and keep his options open," Olson said. "We met again today and Ruben is back with us, participating with the team and is excited to be with the program."

Players who participate in exhibition games cannot redshirt the season, despite the fact that the games are nothing more than practice tools. A player kept out of an exhibition game does not necessarily mean he will redshirt the season, Olson said.

"It flat out makes no sense," Olson said. "It's a non-counting, non-statistical game. There isn't a logical explanation why they can't play. It would just be so much more helpful playing in a competitive game against somebody else because you can't tell how guys are going to play just by practices."

Sophomore swing forward Rick Anderson earned the starting position over sophomore Richard Jefferson on Sunday.

Olson said the starters for the exhibition game would be the leading rebounders at each position during the team's scrimmages, and in that case, the winner was Anderson.

Not that the 6-foot-8 Anderson is just a big body. The Long Beach, Calif., native has been shooting extremely well lately, going 4 for 7 from the floor on Sunday, including 3 for 5 from beyond the three-point line. He finished with 11 points, but only one rebound.

"I've been really stroking it lately," Anderson said. "The main key is confidence. If you have that, you can shoot it well."

After three weeks of practice, Arizona was relieved to take a break from practice and test itself against a different opponent.

They got one, but the Lithuanian club team doesn't compare to Connecticut and Michigan State, the preseason No. 1 and No. 2 teams which Arizona faces in December.

"It's kind of a weird deal," Anderson said. "We had to adjust our style a little. We were looking to play run-and-gun because they're not as athletic as us."

When sophomore forward Michael Wright was asked if he'd rather break a sweat or win an exhibition game easily, there was no hesitation.

"It was a great experience because Coach had a lot of opportunities to see what people can do," he said. "It was a great opportunity to get everybody a chance to play. I'd rather not have the game closer, I'd rather blow them out."

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