Arizona Daily Wildcat advertising info
UA news
world news
cat calls
police beat
photo features

UA Basketball
restaurant, bar and party guide
Write a letter to the Editor

Contact the Daily Wildcat staff

Send feedback to the web designers

Arizona Student Media info...

Daily Wildcat staff alumni...

TV3 - student tv...

KAMP - student radio...

Wildcat Online Banner

Finding the good in a tough loss

By Connor Doyle
Monday December 3, 2001

As Salim Stoudamire left the empty Arizona locker room Saturday afternoon with his head down, someone said to him, "Don't worry, it's a long season."

The freshmen on the UA basketball team need to realize that.

The season won't be as easy as the first three games. After beating three top-25 teams to start the season, the Wildcats went from unranked to the No. 3 team in the country.

After Saturday's loss to No. 9 Kansas, Arizona players are starting to realize just how much work they still have to do to be among the best.

"We'll learn a lot more from this game than Kansas did, because they're veterans and we're just a bunch of young guys," UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough said.

The players were in lock step with the coaching staff after the game and said Kansas' main weapon wasn't Drew Gooden or Jeff Boschee, but team experience.

"I think Kansas was a good game for us," junior point guard Jason Gardner said. "They're an experienced team, and they showed that out on the court.

"Our first four games were against the top teams in the country. I think by losing this game, it put our heads back where they need to be. Maybe we were a little cocky from winning the first three games," he said.

In fact, Gardner wasn't the only one who thought the loss might end up being a positive thing. Stoudamire, who shot a dismal 2-for-19 in the game, told the press he would never have dreamed of having such a bad game, and then said, "You have to have a bad game in order to keep working hard."

It may seem like odd motivation, but this is becoming regular for Arizona basketball teams. High expectations, big egos and some regrettable quotes to the press often lead to a kick in the pants that makes the Wildcats realize they're the only ones reading their press clippings.

So what do the Wildcats take from this game, besides the fact that they need to shoot better than 35 percent from the field against a top-10 opponent?

Well, for starters, Kansas exposed Arizona's lack of defensive awareness. On countless occasions, the Jayhawks were able to slash to the basket without encountering defensive help or drive baseline with no fear of someone coming off the weak side.

"If you go through a tape of 10 things you don't want to happen defensively, we did them all, probably more than once," Rosborough said.

That being said, Rosborough had to be stifling a smile. With all the problems this team had with the fundamentals, with all the horrid shooting performances from everyone except the three juniors and with all the pressure from the first home crowd of the year, the Wildcats still only lost by eight points.

As odd as it may seem, this might be the game that most reveals just how talented this team is. For the players to commit so many mistakes, slip up in so many places and still keep the game close says that these Wildcats may have what it takes to be a real force in the Pacific 10 Conference and NCAA Tournament this year.

"We know that the whole year is going to have ups and downs," freshman guard Will Bynum said. "We should be all right."

Just give it some time. It's a long season.


advertising info

Webmaster -
© Copyright 2001 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media