Men's Hoops Notes: Pac-10's top award still up for grabs

By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, March 3, 2005

And the Pac-10 Player of the Year award goes to ...

ASU's Ike Diogu, senior guard Salim Stoudamire and senior center Channing Frye are all in the running, but the consensus favorite seems to be the ASU center Diogu, who has posted the longest double-digit scoring streak in the nation.

Diogu also leads the Pacific 10 Conference in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, but one thing going against him is the Sun Devils' 7-10 record in the conference.

"If it gets down to two different people, whatever team wins the league, it should be based on that," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson.

Stoudamire is third in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage and first among players with at least 53 attempts.

Stoudamire won the Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this season, while Diogu took the award home three times.

"Look at his points, look what he's done for this team," Frye said of Stoudamire.

"His game speaks for itself," said junior forward Hassan Adams. "He's taken over games, and he's won numerous games for us."

Frye, who has averaged 28 points over his last two games, was shocked to hear that he was even a candidate for the award.

"I didn't even know my name was in there. I don't even include myself in any of that kind of stuff," Frye said. "I'm not really worried about those individual things, it's always about team wins. ... You don't have to give me an award."

Olson Named a finalist for Naismith Coach of the Year Award

The Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced the 20 finalists for the nation's coach of the year award yesterday, with Olson being one of the nominees.

The award has been given out annually since 1987, but Olson has never received the honor.

Olson is a seven-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"It's coach Olson, he's a hall of fame coach," Adams said. "He's worked for everything he has. Nothing has been given to him."

In 32 seasons of coaching college basketball, Olson has a career record of 735-234.

The award will be given out in April.

Basketball team serious about academics

When it comes to the men's basketball team's graduation rates, the scores have leaped higher than Adams on a fast break.

The Wildcats scored a 957 rating, which is based on a 50 percent graduation rate. The nation's average rating for all sports was 925, 13 points higher than the average rating for men's basketball at public institutions.

Arizona's national runner-up team in 2001 had a 0 percent graduation rate, according to figures at the time.

The Wildcats' improvement has stemmed from coaches telling players to take a high interest in their education.

"I think everybody wants to graduate," Stoudamire said. "They're not taking school as a joke."

Assistant head coach Jim Rosborough has been the biggest preacher of doing well academically, Stoudamire said.

"He checks our classes," Stoudamire said.

"Coach Roz and the coaching staff really buckled down on us." Frye said.

All three of the team's seniors, including forward Matt Brase, are on pace to graduate, with Stoudamire needing only a few extra classes after the season is done to fulfill the requirements for his interdisciplinary studies major.

Brase will complete a business management major, while Frye will graduate with a degree in physical education.

"Now people want to go class," Frye said. "They actually like going to class. People understand for us to be successful, we need to be responsible, and that's us going to class and learning."

Frye's last game in Phoenix fitting

Frye, who graduated from St. Mary's High School in Phoenix and played his last game of his high school career in America West Arena, will now return to Phoenix for the last regular season game of his college career in Wells Fargo Arena.

"Their coaching staff, the fans, the city, that's where I grew up," Frye said.

Frye has averaged 14.6 points per game in three games against ASU in Phoenix.

His best game came his sophomore year, when he got 23 points and 10 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.

For Frye, playing his last game in his hometown is a big deal, but getting the win is his main goal.

"Definitely, it's a huge game for me," he said. "I just want to go out there and play the best I can for my team. As long as we get a win, I don't care what kind of stuff happens."