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Hoops hits hardwood for first exhibition

SAUL LOEB/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA senior center Channing Frye (45) battles down low with Wildcat sophomore forward Kirk Walters during the team's annual Red-Blue game Sunday in McKale Center. Frye and Walters lead the Wildcats into action Sunday against Team Georgia in the first of two preseason exhibition games for the UA squad.
By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 5, 2004
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Men's basketball faces Team Georgia Sunday

The Arizona men's basketball team finally gets a chance to play a team other than itself Sunday at 2 p.m. when the Wildcats face Team Georgia - a welcome sight for the coaching staff.

"We're tired of playing against ourselves," UA assistant coach Josh Pastner said. "It's important that we have a chance to compete against someone other than ourselves to see where we stand on what has been taught."

Team Georgia is made up of former college players who have an edge in experience, but not necessarily talent. According to Pastner, there are a number of accomplished players on the team, including a member of Florida's Final Four team, an All-Southeastern Conference player from Alabama and a former starting center from Georgia Tech. Most of the players have played professionally in leagues such as the CBA, ABA or overseas.

The Wildcats defeated two exhibition teams last season, Team Sydney and Team Nike, 109-66 and 116-91, respectively. While the competition may be stiffer this year, the exhibition games are purely designed to check the status of the team and sort out rotation spots, according to the coaching staff.

Pastner said the rotation won't be set until the game against San Diego Nov. 16, so the battle for positions will take place in the exhibition games as well as in practices.

The main spot up for grabs is the power forward slot, which will be decided between sophomore Ivan Radenovic and junior Isaiah Fox.

"Right now, it's a dead even heat, and the final determination will be left up to coach Olson," Pastner said.

Along with finding out who will be playing the bulk of the minutes, the coaches want the team to work on some of the things they've been learning in practice.

"We want to make sure we're fundamentally sound," Pastner said. "We want to do things the proper way, as taught in practice situations. The main thing, our philosophy, is the open man gets the ball, and for the most part we've been doing that. The open man is the go-to man, and we want to keep moving the basketball so we can get good looks at the basket."

"The big thing is to see where we are at this point of the season and what we need to work on against an opponent," Pastner added.

Freshman forward Mohamed Tangara is questionable for the exhibition with a back injury, but Pastner said it was not too important to get him on the playing floor before the season starts.

"Our goal is not to get him back for the exhibition, our goal is to get him healthy for Nov. 16," Pastner said, adding there is no chance Tangara would redshirt unless he decided to do so.

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