Men's Hoops: Stoudamire joins top 30 scorers in UA history

By Christopher Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Joseph Blair, step aside - you've been passed by Salim Stoudamire on UA basketball's all-time scoring list.

Stoudamire leapt over Blair, a center under head coach Lute Olson from 1992-1996, for 30th among Arizona's scoring leaders. With a combined 26 points against Washington and Washington State last week, the junior guard upped his career total to 1,092 points, six ahead of Blair.

For the mild-mannered Stoudamire, a rise in the school's history comes as no surprise.

"It's not important at all," he said. "I figure with my talent, I should be scoring a lot of points."

Stoudamire's shooting exploits landed him in the annals of UA basketball history in just his first two seasons. Entering the 2003-04 campaign, Stoudamire ranked No. 1 among career free-throw percentage at .887 and No. 2 in 3-point field goal percentage (.449) behind UA legend Steve Kerr.

Stoudamire is part of a UA legacy, as his cousin, Damon, played for Olson from 1991-1995 and rose to No. 5 on the Wildcats' all-time points list.

It makes sense that Salim follows in Damon's footsteps - after all, the two usually talk once a week about the Wildcats and each other's game.

"He's somewhat of an inspiration," the younger Stoudamire said. "I've always watched him play."

Next up for Stoudamire on the UA scoring chart are two more recent Wildcat notables, A.J. Bramlett and Gilbert Arenas at No. 29 and No. 28, respectively. With games at California and Stanford this week, Stoudamire could surpass both Bramlett (1,098) and Arenas (1,105).

UA drops in both polls

Lute Olson's squad felt the repercussions of losing Thursday to Pacific 10 Conference rival Washington by dropping in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches' polls.

The Wildcats' 96-83 loss to the Huskies dropped them to No. 12 in both polls a week after being ranked No. 9. Arizona did extend its streak of weeks ranked in the national polls to 281.

By beating Washington State Saturday, the Wildcats completed the first half of the Pac-10 schedule with a 6-3 record, suffering losses to Stanford, Southern California and Washington.

Big games hurt Cats again

The Wildcats' recent success has opponents gunning for them.

In its last two games, Arizona once again fell victim to an outstanding shooting performance from an opponent, a trend that is prominent in most of Arizona's four losses this season. With 31 points, Washington's Nate Robinson joined an elite fraternity of shooters with 27 points or more against the UA.

Joining Robinson in making trouble for the Wildcats was Desmon Farmer (40 points) of Southern California, Marcus Moore (29) of Washington State and Matt Walsh (27) of Florida. The UA found itself on the losing end of the USC and Florida games and narrowly escaped WSU with a four-point win.

"You have to expect that," said sophomore guard Andre Iguodala. "We are one of the elite universities for basketball in the country. Every team, every player wants to have the game of their life against us."

The key to preventing the big game lies in the team's ability to be aggressive and put away opposing teams when the situation arises, according to Iguodala

"We need to take every game seriously," he said.

UA shows love to fans

Love is in the air early this season, and the UA has announced plans for the Wildcat sports lovers.

School officials announced Monday a special Valentine's Day doubleheader package. Fans who attend the UA men's basketball game against UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 14 will be granted free admission into Kindall Field for the 4 p.m. UA baseball team's game versus Cal-State Fullerton.

The UA-UCLA game is scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m. Fans will need to present their ticket stub from the Bruins game to gain access for the first pitch against CSF.