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A nice change


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Mike Jenkins

By Mike Jenkins
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 18, 1999
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As the football season comes to an end, possibly without a bowl game appearance, the UA men's basketball team is kicking it into full gear. The Wildcats are in the preseason NIT, where they beat Kansas State in the first round by 19 points. After Tuesday night's game, this team looks like they will be an exciting squad to follow the whole year.

A whole handful of newcomers are going to contribute to the cause this year. The most exciting two might be the freshman guards, point guard Jason Gardner from Indiana and shooting guard Gilbert Arenas from Southern California. This dynamic duo are the only two freshmen guards to be starting at a major Division I program in the nation. Gardner brings quickness, great ball handling skills, and tenacious defense to the point guard position. His floor leadership looks to be very good for a guard his age. He finished with 14 points, nine assists and three steals against Kansas State.

Arenas is a slasher. He also showed signs of outside shooting, hitting two three pointers against Kansas State. He was also a menace on defense. He ended up with five steals and many contested shots that threw the Kansas State players off.

If these two continue this type of play throughout the season, the Wildcats will be tough to deal with.

Center Loren Woods, a transfer from Wake Forest, also impressed me very much. His 7-foot-1 frame is impressive in itself, and he can wreak havoc inside with his large wing span. But the most impressive things about him are the way he runs the floor and his foot speed down low in the post. Woods was running the break like a guard against Kansas State. He scored a few fast break points and if it weren't for some bad passes, he would have scored about six more. You are probably not going to see a better running big man this year than Loren Woods.

Lamont Frazier, a junior college transfer from California, will provide adequate backup to both the point guard and shooting guard spots. His quickness and shooting abilities are going to be crucial to the team's success. His job becomes even more critical with the transfer of shooting guard Ruben Douglas. Happy trails, Ruben!

Center Robertas Javtokas, a freshman from Lithuania, will provide Woods with a decent backup when Woods gets into foul trouble or gets tired. Javtokas is big, strong and lanky, giving him the attributes to make an impact in the middle.

Add all of these newcomers to returning players such as Michael Wright, Richard Jefferson, and Rick Anderson and you have a solid nucleus for years to come.

And you think this year is going to be exciting.

If everybody sticks around until next year, you get everyone back, plus you add redshirt All-American hopeful Luke Recker from Indiana and a rested Eugene Edgerson back into the equation.

Watch out, America. These Wildcats are for real.

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