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A Slice of Bacon: Should Mike Bibby be the one?

Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
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The UA athletic department's decision last week to retire Mike Bibby's jersey raises one simple question - why only three?

Bibby's famous number 10 will be raised to the rafters with the likes of Sean Elliot and Steve Kerr on November 11, following the conclusion of the exhibition game against Sonoma State.

The athletic department decided to honor Bibby because he falls in the guidelines that say, "Only student-athletes who were recognized as national athletes of the year or received a major national 'athlete of the year' honor are eligible for their jersey to be retired."

Bibby's performance in his second year in Tucson - on top of winning a National Championship as a freshman - clearly shows he's right for the nomination.

He was a consensus All-American during his 1997-1998 season, which also included being named Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year and being named to the All-Pac-10 team.

The problem is, where are all the other framed jerseys?

How can we forget about players that served this city for longer than two years with as dominant accolades?

Steve Kerr rightfully deserves his place in McKale, but Kerr never received any award defined in the athletic department's guidelines.

Kerr received two All-American accolades in 1988, but was never a player of the year or consensus All-American.

He started his stint as an Arizona Wildcat the same year Lute Olson became the head coach. In 1985-86, he helped Olson to the top of the Pac-10 standings.

The cornerstone of Kerr's career was his excellent outside shooting (he still ranks first in school and Pac-10 history in 3-pointers in a season) and his four-year service to the Arizona program.

The latter is something lacking in Bibby's long list of achievements.

Bibby might have been the most talented player to come through the long list of Arizona guards, but he never even started taking upper-level electives.

Damon Stoudamire was not only a consensus All-American and co-Pac-10 Player of the Year, honors equally as exalting as Bibby's, but he was around for four solid years.

Stoudamire took his team to the Final Four in 1994 and tops the UA record books in career three point field goals.

Where is Stoudamire's frame?

What about teammates of Bibby on the National Championship team?

Michael Dickerson was a two-time All-American in 1997 and 1998 as he concluded four years at the UA.

Miles Simon has an award that nobody can equal.

Simon was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1997 Final Four and the Southeast region while playing alongside Bibby in the backcourt.

Critics might say Simon had a good month, but if not for him, there would be no Championship rafter hanging from McKale, and possibly one less Final Four team.

Nobody would say that Bibby doesn't deserve his jersey on display, but others are just as worthy, if not more worthy.

Jason Gardner is a good pick.

People refer to the UA as Point Guard U, so why not include the highest scoring guard in the history of the program?

Gardner will soon be lifted to the rafters, but why not make an event of it all.

While you're at it, include the most deserving of the honor of any person to ever slip on knee-high socks.

Jason Terry spent four years in Tucson that may never be equaled by another Wildcat player.

Terry's 1999 year was the most impressive of the four.

His scorecard has all the checks.

National Player of the Year? Check. All-American? Check. Pac-10 Player of the Year? Check.

Terry is the asterisk to the athletic department's guideline.

The reason his number 31 isn't already above the heads of Zona Zoo members is the fact that Terry took more than $11,000 from agents following his junior year in school.

Terry accepted his lumps like a true role model.

He set up a plan in 2000 to pay back all $45,463 he owes the school from his ignorant actions.

The athletic department told Terry that by taking the money, it would eliminate any chance of gaining awards later in the schools history.

If you're going to punish one man for embarrassing the school, why not punish others for not completing the school?

When Bibby's jersey is raised on November 11, I'll be the first one on my feet, congratulating a fellow Wildcat on a successful achievement in a true basketball fan's eyes.

But don't others deserve the same standing ovation?

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