Men's Hoops: Mike's moment

By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Cats to retire Bibby's UA jersey after tomorrow's exhibition tilt

The Arizona men's basketball team plays its last exhibition game tomorrow at 7 p.m. in McKale Center, but the real buzz of the evening won't happen until after the game is over.

The Wildcats will hang the No. 10 jersey of former star UA point guard Mike Bibby on the McKale wall.

Bibby, who led the Wildcats to their only national championship, will be the third Arizona player to have his jersey retired, joining Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr.

"He's a winner," UA head coach Lute Olson said of the reason why Bibby deserves the honor.

"Point Guard U," as Arizona is often known, has benefited from the likes of Bibby, Kerr, Jason Terry, Khalid Reeves, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Gardner, and most recently Mustafa Shakur, expected by UA coaches to have a breakout season in his second year in the desert.

Bibby's jersey to be retired

Arizona Wildcats


Sonoma State Seawolves

Tomorrow, 7 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: 1290 AM

McKale Center

Bibby's game has influenced many players to come to Arizona and holds a legendary status among Arizona guards.

"He was a great player when he was here," said freshman guard Jawann McClellan. "I remember him playing in the Final Four against Kentucky because I really wanted to go to either Kentucky or Arizona. It feels great being on the team at the time he's getting his jersey retired."

Bibby was not only a great leader, but also had incredible talent passing and shooting the ball, Olson said.

Olson compared Bibby's passing in pickup games to that of Shakur, noting that on occasion both players have thrown dead-on passes that have hit teammates in the head, forcing players to learn to have their hands ready at all times.

"He's still the best passer I've ever seen," Olson said. "His feel for the game is amazing."

Shakur had a picture of Bibby on his wall growing up, and is now labeled the next great Arizona point guard.

"He's definitely somebody that I respect as a player because of everything he's done at the UA and the things he's achieved in the NBA," Shakur said.

"He's one of the most inspirational players I've seen," added junior guard Chris Rodgers. "That's one of the reasons that a lot of guards wanted to play here. He's had a great impact on the program."

While the retirement of Bibby's jersey will likely be the focus, there will still be a game to play, and Olson is taking it seriously.

Sonoma State, a Division II program, finished last season with an 11-16 record and is led by senior guard Ryan Hensel , who averaged 15.4 points per game.

Olson said he is less concerned, however, with Sonoma State than he is with the improvement of the Wildcats' play.

"We have to do a better job of converging on the ball," Olson said of the Arizona defense.

Offensively, Olson expects a better effort from Hassan Adams in terms of getting the ball to the open man and committing fewer turnovers.

Adams and Salim Stoudamire are expected to be in the starting lineup for this game as the duo's defensive rebounding improved over the last few days of practice, Olson said.

"We need him to be a factor on the defensive boards," Olson said of Stoudamire.

One person who will not be in the lineup is junior Isaiah Fox, whose off-court troubles have landed him on the bench for at least the next two games.

"Isaiah makes mistakes," senior center Channing Frye said. "He's a fierce competitor on the court and he's the coolest guy I've ever met. We push each other every day in practice. People make mistakes."

Fox would not elaborate as to why he would not be playing.

Replacing him will be a little bit easier this time around as freshman Mohamed Tangara is expected to see his first action of the season after sitting out Sunday's exhibition game.

"I am a little concerned about the lack of depth in the front line," Olson said.

Olson continued to say the halfcourt game would not benefit Tangara because of his lack of practice due to injury. If the game becomes an up-and-down running game, then Tangara will be ready to give more, he said.

Olson also added sophomore guard Beau Muhlbach will redshirt this season after approaching the coaching staff recently about the possibility.