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Hoops heat up during summer workouts


Photo
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Former Arizona point guard Jason Gardner had his No. 22 jersey retired Aug. 14 following the Lute Olson All-Star Classic. Gardner joins Mike Bibby, Sean Elliot and Steve Kerr as the only former players to have their jerseys retired.
By FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 22, 2005
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Baseball World Series bid ends in regionals

The summer ended in a festive way with the Lute Olson All-Star Classic on August 14 and a weekend of events honoring the 1988 Arizona Final Four team.

Gilbert Arenas, currently with the NBA's Washington Wizards, poured in 45 points to give his team a one-point victory in the Lexus/Infiniti Shootout.

After that game, the Wildcats retired the jersey of former Arizona guard Jason Gardner, the 2003 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Player of the Year. He is the Wildcats' career leader in minutes played (4,825) and has the most points scored (1,984) of any guard in school history.

During the first summer session, the majority of the team stayed put in Tucson and took part in the Tucson Summer Pro League, which began in 2004 under the direction of former UA player Corey Williams.

In one game, senior forward and preseason Wooden All-American candidate Hassan Adams matched up against sophomore guard Jesus Verdejo and the two went at it, with Adams scoring 37 points and Verdejo dropping 36.

The league's rosters also featured former UA stars Jason Terry, Eugene Edgerson, Richard Jefferson, Andre Iguodala, Luke Walton, Mike Bibby, Damon Stoudamire, Gilbert Arenas and Michael Dickerson.

During the second summer session, the team scattered, working out in their hometowns or playing basketball for their countries.

Junior forward Ivan Radenovic spent the entire summer working out and playing ball in Serbia and Montenegro and has gained muscle mass.

"He looks great, in terms of his body," said assistant coach Josh Pastner last week.

Swingmen Adams and sophomore Jawann McClellan were in and out of town. Adams worked out in his hometown of Los Angeles while McClellan worked out in Houston with high school teammates.

Senior forward Isaiah Fox worked out with personal trainer Trent Suzuki who also works with 2006 incoming recruit Chase Budinger as well as other former UA players. In terms of his health, Fox has improved over the summer.

"Isaiah is cleared to go," Pastner said. "We need him to have a big year and I think he is going to have a big year."

The team's three incoming freshman, guard J.P. Prince and forwards Marcus Williams and Fendi Onobun played in the Tucson Summer Pro League and then played in the Global Games for an under-21 USA team.

Junior guard Mustafa Shakur worked at Michael Jordan's basketball camp in Santa Barbara alongside Adams for the second year in a row.

-Compiled by Roman Veytsman

Baseball

After earning a berth in the 2004 College World Series, the baseball team fell short of a return visit last season after losing to Cal State-Fullerton in consecutive elimination games for the Titans.

A thin pitching staff and sloppy fielding did in the Wildcats against a deeper Fullerton team in regional play.

After junior ace John Meloan pitched the team to a 5-2 victory over Missouri, Arizona appeared to be in great shape to win the regional by beating the Titans in a 6-5 nail-biter. Fullerton loaded the bases with no outs, but sophomore Mark Melancon recorded the final three outs while keeping the tying run at third.

That's when things fell apart for the Wildcats' World Series hopes.

After Fullerton staved off elimination against Missouri, the Titans easily dispatched senior Sean Rierson and Arizona, 7-2, to force a winner-take-all game for the regional.

The Wildcats' season ended the next evening when five errors led to four unearned runs in a 6-3 loss. Meloan, starting on two days rest, could not make it out of a four-run, three-error third inning.

Arizona (39-21, 17-7 Pac-10 Conference) still enjoyed an impressive season in which it finished second in the conference and led the Pac-10 in most offensive categories.

The veteran-laden Wildcats found success in June's Major League Baseball draft, as eight players went in the first 14 rounds.

The crowd was led by 14th overall pick Trevor Crowe, selected by the Cleveland Indians. He was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to college baseball's top player, and earned Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.

Junior Nick Hundley, a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award for the top collegiate catcher, went in the second round to the San Diego Padres, followed by juniors Jordan Brown (fourth, Indians), John Meloan (fifth, Los Angeles Dodgers), Kevin Guyette (tenth, Boston Red Sox), Chris Frey (eleventh, Colorado Rockies) and Brad Boyer (fourteenth, Seattle Mariners), as well as senior Jeff Van Houten (thirteenth, Florida Marlins).

The four players drafted in the first five rounds set an Arizona record. The eight players selected on the first day marked the most Wildcats drafted since 1998.

-Compiled by Michael Schwartz

Women's Basketball

Arizona women's basketball head coach Joan Bonvicini had a busy summer, as she announced the hiring of two new assistant coaches, Lisa Griffith and Todd Holthaus.

Griffith was a four-year starter at UA from 1997 to 2000 and will work with the perimeter players, in addition to recruiting and scouting.

"I think it's awesome to bring back a student-athlete that has played here recently," Bonvicini said last week. "It gives her great insight, and I think she's young enough to relate to the players. In addition, she's a great player and an excellent coach."

The Wildcats went 108-39 during Griffith's collegiate career, including four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She holds the Pacific 10 Conference record for 3-pointers in a career (212) and in a single season (92).

Holthaus was the girls' varsity head coach at Flowing Wells High School for seven years, coaching the Lady Cabs to seven straight state tournament appearances. He was named Class 5A Southern Region Coach of the Year from 2002 to 2005.

"Todd, from the moment he's been here, (has been) very upbeat, and he is a very good coach," Bonvicini said. "With recruiting during the summer and the camps, he already is a terrific addition to the staff."

Griffith and Holthaus fill the vacancies of Toriano Towns and Shimmy Gray, respectively. Towns was named an assistant women's basketball coach at Boise State and Gray is the women's head coach at Saint Louis University.

-Compiled by Lindsey Frazier

Softball

The Arizona softball team capped an up-and-down season with its 17th trip to the Women's College World Series in 18 years.

Having managed a share of the Pacific 10 Conference championship with Oregon State and California, the Wildcats swept its five games in the NCAA Regional and Super Regionals rounds.

But poor hitting and an inability to plate base runners, both regular-season snafus, plagued Arizona in the Series, as the team hit only .106 in three games.

The Wildcats followed a 1-0 loss to Tennessee with a 3-2, 12-inning win over the Golden Bears on June 4, but were eliminated the next day against national runner-up Texas. Longhorns ace and USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Cat Osterman won her second game of the season against the Wildcats, striking out 19 in 11 scoreless innings.

Junior center fielder and leadoff hitter Caitlin Lowe kept the team afloat on offense, finishing the year with the second-best batting average (.510) in team history.

Junior shortstop Kristie Fox (.356, 64 runs batted in) hit nine of the team's 33 home runs, its lowest total since 1992.

Lowe and senior pitcher Alicia Hollowell (31-9, 0.88 earned-run average, 446 strikeouts) were named in June to the U.S. National Team, one of two teams featuring domestic talent that competed internationally this summer. The team was lead by UA coach Mike Candrea, and included former Wildcat standouts such as Jennie Finch, as well as other top players from across the country.

Arizona, which finished fifth in the season's final ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, ended with a 45-12 record, giving the team its first non-50-win season since 1993.

- Compiled by Tom Knauer

Track and Field

While the majority of the Arizona student body enjoyed a time away from campus responsibilities, the Arizona men's and women's track and field teams had some unfinished business to attend to: the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

Junior Robert Cheseret added another title to his early success as a Wildcat, capturing the 10,000-meter event in 28:20.11.

"It's definitely a comfort for a coach going into the Championships where you have your athletes such as Robert," said Arizona head coach Fred Harvey said. "If they run well, they're going to score, but they legitimately have an opportunity at winning the title."

Cheseret was also named the male Track Athlete of the Year by the Pacific 10 Conference for the second year in a row, the first to do so since Oregon's Dean Crouser in 1982-83.

"Whenever an athlete wins Athlete of the Year, it's posted everywhere, and people get an opportunity to recognize your name," Harvey said, pointing out the impact Cheseret's awards have had on recruiting.

Cheseret's teammates, among them throwers Adam Kuehl and Sean Shields, helped pace the Wildcat men to a ninth-place overall finish.

"We think that we have a great group returning this year," said Harvey, noting that the men's team returns every member who scored in the Championships.

Thanks to their performances in the meet, six Wildcats three men and three women were awarded All-America honors.

Shields (shot put), Kuehl (discus) and Cheseret (5,000 and 10,000m) were honored on the men's side for their accomplishments in Fayetteville.

On the women's side, Rachael Varner (discus), Ilona Rutjes (discus) and Megan Howard (shot put) took home All-America status.

- Compiled by Ryan Casey

Swim and Dive

Seniors Emily Mason and Byron Jeffers were among 21 athletes nationwide named to the All-District VII At-Large Team for their excellence in both academics and in their respective sport.

Mason, who was the Pac-10 champion in the 500m freestyle during the season, graduated with a 3.34 GPA in journalism.

Jeffers, an accounting major from Durban, South Africa, carried a 3.76 GPA at Arizona. He was a recipient of the Mary Roby Academic Achievement Award in both 2002 and 2003.

Mason also received another high honor, the 2004-2005 Pac-10 Conference medal along with basketball player Channing Frye. The medal is awarded by each of the conference's 10 schools to the male and female athletes considered to have shown the best ability to mix leadership with academic and athletic achievement.

Former Wildcat swimmer Roland Schoeman set a world record in July in the 50m butterfly at the World Swimming Championships in Montreal. He clocked a time of 22.96 seconds, after finishing in 23.01 the day before. Ian Crocker, the record holder in the event coming into the meet, took second with a time of 23.12.

Ryk Neethling, another former Wildcat swimmer, finished fourth.

- Compiled by Allison Hamila



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