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Tuesday October 10, 2000

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Pastner breaks down the UA starting 5

By Chris Martin

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Would you trade the Arizona starting five for any other teams starting five in NCAA basketball?

No, I think they could compete with some NBA teams. They have a chance to be five future NBA guys, I wouldn't trade them for anybody. They could probably go against the Clippers, go against Golden State. It could be one of the best starting fives. If you look at the last 15, 20 years in college basketball, if you look at potential, they have a chance to be one of the best of all time.

Point guard Jason Gardner had an outstanding season last year, do you think all the hype and success he has had could get to him?

Here he is on the cover of different basketball magazines, - ESPN, Lindy's, Athlon - first team All-American, you would never know it because he is really down to earth, and that's why I think the guys respect him so much. He's only a sophomore, and he gets so much respect from the other guys because he is so level-headed. He understands as a point guard that you have to have everyone's respect because he is really a coach on the floor, it is his team. He's quarterbacking it, he is just running the show, and he's been awesome. I wouldn't trade him for anyone; no one, he is just invaluable.

It seems like shooting guard Gilbert Arenas has been lost in the mix by the media. How would you asses Arenas as a player?

He's pretty darn good, Gilbert. He's a great athlete. It is almost like he is a snake-type because he is able to dice and slice through the defense. He has great body control and great body balance. If you watch him when he gets to the basket finishing a layup, if he gets hit he is able to shift his body; he has that type of feel for the game, and I think he is probably underrated right now but I think that will be quickly erased once the season starts.

Most people know of Richard Jefferson's potential. How will it translate into on the court success?

Potential means nothing because potential won't get you anywhere because it is just talk. The one thing Richard has done is he has focused himself. He has worked his tail off, I mean he is in the gym working out everyday. He's been a great team leader, he's been at our 7 a.m. runnings in the morning. He's been great, and he knows if we want to win a championship he has to have a big year.

Junior forward Michael Wright seems to consistently put up solid numbers game after game, what is his secret?

Michael's a quiet one, but he is just one of those guys that just does what he is told. He's is just one of those guys when the ball is off the rim he is going to be hard to stop. He is not going to be stopped down low, he is strong as an ox. His work ethic is unbelievable, he is a good kid and the guys like him. I like to call him the silent assassin, just does the job, doesn't talk trash, just goes about his business big time and that's about it.

Loren Woods is tired of answering questions about his back, so how has he been playing now that he is 100 percent?

Even at this point this year to the point last year at the same time period, he is 100 percent better. He is 100 percent healthy, he's playing great. He is working his tail off in everything - the weight room, on the court, running drills. He is a fifth-year senior here, so this is kind of his year. He knows what it takes to be the best center in the Pac-10 but possibly the best player in college basketball this year. All his success is attributed to his work ethic.

Does anyone have a chance of defeating Jefferson in the dunk contest during Midnight Madness on Friday?

No, absolutely not. If I was betting man, I would put my money on Richard for sure. If Vince Carter shows up or somehow (Michael) Jordan comes out of retirement, then maybe. I don't know, though - Richard is pretty darn good, he can jump and has some pretty nice dunks. He will excite the crowd on (Midnight Madness).