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Dave’s diary: Team brings ‘A’ game in practices as season nears

By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 3, 2005
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In this edition of Dave’s Diary, David Bagga, a freshman walk-on this season for the Arizona men’s basketball team, shares his thoughts on team camaraderie, having a locker next to Isaiah Fox and the team’s lack of a “true center.”

On Arizona’s latest week of practice:

We’re starting to get into game situations now. Before, we started out with basic scrimmaging, in a pick-up game sense. Now it’s hard game situations. It’s like, ‘What are you going to do in this scenario? What are you going to do in that situation?’ The intensity steps up more and more as each practice goes on. Guys are bringing their ‘A’ game every single day.

On the camaraderie of the team and building chemistry:

It’s going good. I think it starts with (seniors) Hassan (Adams), Isaiah (Fox), and Chris (Rodgers). Those three guys, they’ve been there before and they know what it takes to build team chemistry and camaraderie, so they’re good about that. But overall, I think everyone likes everyone.

On leadership during practice:

If someone messes up in a drill, someone will take them aside and they won’t criticize you, but it’ll be constructive criticism. They’ll basically say, ‘Hey, pick it up next time, it’s all right. Don’t worry about it.’ It’s usually Hassan, Isaiah, or Mustafa (Shakur).

On building a bond with the upperclassmen:

The older guys do a great job of telling us what to expect, what’s its going to be like when 15,000 pack our arena. … They said, ‘It’s a great feeling, but at the same time, you have to go out there and be serious when you step on the court.’

On his personal relationship with the upperclassmen:

My locker is right next to Isaiah. We talk a lot, and he’s always giving me pointers and telling me what to do. I think all three (seniors) have been great about giving me tips and telling me, ‘Don’t do this a certain way,’ or ‘Don’t do that a certain way.’ They say, ‘Keep your head up. Don’t listen to negative people.’ All three of those guys are great leaders to have.

On speaking to Wildcats head coach Lute Olson about his role on the team:

“My role is basically to do anything I can to help this team win. I’m not concerned at all about scoring. If he said that was my role, then I’d take that as my role. My role is to help this team out. Our team is filled with so many scorers and so many athletic guys. They need me to do different things, whether it would be helping them out in drills or just making simple passes, rebounding, taking charges, diving on loose balls. That’s what I can provide when I get on the court.”

On the Red/Blue game tonight:

“So excited. I think (I’ll play). Any action I see will be great. This whole year is just a learning experience, getting a feel for anything. I think it’ll be a great event (tonight).”

On his relationship with Olson:

“Everyday, there’s something he tells me, that there’s an area he’s looking for improvement. He tells me, ‘You’re doing a great job doing this, but you can improve yourself by doing something else.’ He’s definitely great to talk to for advice and improvement.”

,b>On adjustments to the team’s offense:

“We put it in on Tuesday, but it’s basically the 4-out-1-in. It’s different from high school, because where I came from, we had a true center. For me, it was a little struggle at first. You always have to constantly be moving. If you’re standing in our offense, you’re doing something wrong. You always want to be moving and finding someone. My purpose is to get other people open and help them out. (If Olson) wants me to set picks for Hassan or Marcus (Williams), I’ll be setting picks for those guys. As long as I’m moving without the ball and making smart decisions off the ball, I know I’m doing a good job.”

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