By Shane Bacon
Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Assistant coach Josh Pastner explains positioning to Bret Brielmaier during the second half of Arizona’s first round Pac-10 Tournament win over California on March 10 in Staples Center in Los Angeles. Head coach Lute Olson said yesterday that Brielmaier, a former walk-on, has made as much progress with the team as any player he remembers.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The Arizona men’s basketball team has had weeks to prepare for the start of the 2005-06 regular season, and the final touches will be made tonight when the Wildcats take on Team Georgia in McKale Center today at 7 p.m.
“I think this is a perfect team for us to play,” said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. “It will give us a good read on what we’re doing and what kind of adjustments we’ll have to make before playing Kansas next Monday.”
The Wildcats are coming off a 103-63 win against Sonoma State on Nov. 9 that included impressive play by seniors Chris Rodgers (5-of-5 3-point shooting) and Hassan Adams (13 points).
The starters on the court tonight will be slightly different, with Rodgers and senior Isaiah Fox taking over starting roles at the guard and center positions, respectively.
Adams, junior guard Mustafa Shakur and junior forward Ivan Radenovic will be filling out the rest of the starting five.
Olson also spoke highly of forward Bret Brielmaier. Olson said the sophomore has made a lot of improvement in practice, and that he’s excited about the amount of playing time the former walk-on could see tonight.
“He’s going to be one of the early guys that will come in, and I want to get a good look at him,” Olson said.
Brielmaier said that the confidence Olson has given him and his teammates has been a positive during practices and games.
“He pulls me aside during practices and tells me little things I need to do,” Brielmaier said. “It gives me more confidence to know that he has enough confidence to put me in.”
Olson said that Brielmaier has improved on the court as much as anyone he has seen.
“He has about as good a feel for the game as anyone on the floor,” Olson said.
Junior center Kirk Walters said that it doesn’t matter if Brielmaier is a walk-on or a star of the team — the team’s best player will be on the court during games this season.
“He’s really worked on his jump shot and he knows what his strengths are and knows his capabilities, and that really helps him out,” Walters said.
The Wildcats will be facing a team that includes one player from Georgia and three from Georgia State, among other schools.
Arizona is looking at this game as a way to prepare for its upcoming trip to Lahaina, Hawaii, to participate in the EA Sports Maui Invitational Monday through Nov. 23.
The tournament’s opening game pits the Wildcats against perennial power Kansas.
“We need just to make sure all of our stuff is polished and to make sure we’re ready to take on the best in the country, starting with Kansas,” said freshman forward Marcus Williams.
“We will work on team chemistry and make sure we’re all playing as a team and to get our defensive principles down,” he said.