Andre haters: Stop feeling sorry for yourselves

By Christopher Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

You got greedy. Your conceited, self-gratifying ways stick out worse than a female golfer at Augusta. You're only thinking of yourself.

Since Friday afternoon, one question has been echoing off the red bricks of every building on the UA campus: "Why, Andre, why?"

Why are you leaving the Old Pueblo for the ranks of the pros? Don't you know how good we can be next year?

Are you greedy, Andre Iguodala? Probably, but this tale of self-indulgence isn't about you. It's about the fans of UA basketball. This time, it's not Iggy who is the piggy.

The second you refer to Arizona's basketball team as "we," you instantly join the greedy gluttony. Think about it: What have you done for the hoops squad lately?

All Iguodala did was become the first Wildcat to lead Arizona in rebounds (253), assists (147) and steals (48) in one season. All he did was set the school record for triple-doubles in a career - in one season. All he did was join California's Jason Kidd as the only player to record three or more triple-doubles in a season.

Yes, the Wildcats' team MVP is not without his flaws, and missed 18-foot jump shots must haunt his dreams at night. But right now, a window has opened and Iguodala is going to use his immense wingspan to jump through it before it slams shut.

Ask yourself: Why do you really want Iguodala to stay? Are you that concerned about the Springfield, Ill., native's education? You want to see him earn that degree in undeclared? Sure, he was named to the Pacific 10 Conference All-Academic Second team with a 3.098 GPA, even if anyone could pass Theory of Coaching Volleyball. Time to call a spade a spade: Everyone knew Andre Iguodala did not come to the UA for the academia.

You want the 6-foot-6 forward to stay to win you a national championship. After all, it's been seven years since Arizona last won one. Remember when you were back in high school and thinking about which college to attend? You picked Arizona so you could riot, set fires and overturn cars. That's what national titles entitle you to, and Iguodala was that key, right?

Put yourself in No. 24's giant Nikes. The second a six-figure opportunity opens for you before you graduate, it'll be adios to Spanish 102 and hola to a life of fame and riches. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

Former UA guard Luke Walton once said that Iguodala is going to be one of the best players to ever come out of Arizona by the time he is done. Well, we'll never know for sure, but Iguodala's departure could very well be just what Lute Olson's team needs.

With Iguodala back in the lineup next fall, Arizona would have to deal with a virtual logjam for playing time. Assuming Olson retains the rest of his squad, Arizona will have the very thing that plagued them this season: depth, and enough of it to make you forget about Iguodala fast.

With four more-than-qualified recruits arriving in Tucson this summer, Olson will finally have more than two players to rely upon when Arizona opens its 101st season. Highly touted recruits Mohamed Tangara, Daniel Dillon, Jawann McClellan and Jesus Verdejo will soon make UA fans forget about the sophomore's early departure, much the same way Iguodala made Tucson quickly forget Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson and Michael Wright, who did the same.

Sure, the season is barely a week old, but it's never too early for projected polls. Despite its 20-11 record and a first-round exit in the NCAAs against Seton Hall, Arizona has already been slated as high as No. 8 in one pre-preseason poll. The Iguodala-less future is brighter than you think.

As for Iguodala, Arizona coaches predict he could go in the first round, albeit not until the middle-to-late picks. If you were a first-round pick, that's exactly where you'd want to be if you weren't going No. 1. Rather than being mired on a slack-jawed team such as the Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks or Chicago Bulls, Iguodala could conceivably find himself playing for a franchise that can compete for a playoff spot.

Unless his outside shot improves - Iguodala shot 45 percent from the floor last season but struggled at times from outside - his role on that team would be purely complementary. But why should he care what his role is? He'd have a shot to win an NBA title for himself, and not for you.

So don't ask, "How could you leave us, Andre? Who will win me my championship?"

Do the right thing. If you see Iguodala around campus (though probably not in class), wish him good luck and thank him for choosing Arizona to groom himself for the NBA.

If you're still upset and have the urge to declare him Judas, cast a Michael Wright spell on him, wish him to Europe and keep in mind: Jesus will be here this summer.