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Commentary: Arizona men poised to win it all, or lose really early again

Shane Bacon
staff writer
By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 19, 2004
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This men's basketball team has a chance to be really good.

Or really bad.

The maturity the team has shown over the past offseason has everyone ranting about how the Wildcats have a chance to make another Final Four.

Yeah, but what about Isaiah Fox continually having off-court problems and sitting out the first few games?

Well, the power forward that missed all last year hasn't done much wrong to date except coming in resembling the Pillsbury Doughboy with a vertical that just eclipses college ruled paper. But at least he hasn't stolen anything.

Just wait until he runs out of Cat Card money, he'll be snagging bagel after carb-stacking bagel.

Well, besides the problems with Fox, the team is chiseled for success.

Look at the recruiting class basketball god Lute Olsen pulled in this offseason.

But can the young guys sit and be patient, or are they going to do what's been so cleverly coined the McKale March?

He always does that, year after year after year.

But this year, Tucson's version of Hugh Hefner scooped up Jawann McClellan and Jesus Verdejo, just to name a couple.

But how are they going to impact a team that already has two guards, Hassan Adams and Chris Roger, that are both 6'4", just like the two freshmen you named?

We need big, hefty guys that could fill the void Fox looks to be continually leaving.

Well, Lute got five freshmen that all look like they could challenge for a starting spot.

If these guys went to any other school, they'd be starting as Diaper Dandies.

But they didn't go anywhere else, so what are we going to do with them?

How is freshman forward Mohamed Tangara going to help inside when he probably won't even see past Frye and Ivan Radenovic's shadow?

I'm just trying to say that our recruiting class was deep. We got a nickel of guys that will have a huge impact in their later days at Arizona.

But can the young guys sit and be patient, or are they going to do what's been so cleverly coined the McKale March?

Will Bynum did it. So did Dennis Latimore. They couldn't sit anymore, so they found a place that would take them.

Those guys weren't fitting into the system, but we have nobody on the team this year that is going to be like that.

Radenovic was rusty around the edges last year, but might be the best sixth man in the Pac-10.

He would start for any team except Washington and has improved his inside-out game.

Radenovic is going to be the x-factor when Adams and Salim Stoudamire are having a tough night.

Oh no, don't get me started on Stoudamire.

Salim has matured during the off-season and, with his mini-fro, he brings great things.

Like what, more reason to sit on the end of the bench with the face that is a mix between "Who farted?" and "He hate me?"

Stoudamire is the x-factor. If he has a year like last year, we'll be fighting for a championship ring all the NIT.

That is absurd. Stoudamire's outside game is the best on the West Coast and his lockdown defense on the perimeter is what makes him a coach's dream.

Or nightmare. How can you coach a kid that doesn't want to be there?

Lute can coach anybody. He's the best coach in Arizona history and is one of the few in the country that could have taken the team from last year to the NCAA Tournament.

Who said they deserved to be there? Give that record to a team like Utah and see if they make it to the big dance.

But the facts are clear. Arizona is 10 deep if they need to be, with all players able to run with anyone.

You won't see Jason Raene checking into a Stanford game in the first half this year, but you might see Frye getting 35 minutes a game.

If Frye touches the ball on every other possession, it is just a matter of time before we climb from our insulting No. 11 ranking.

But what if the guards keep the ball like they tend to do on cold streaks? If Shakur and Stoudamire throw up shots trying to break a freeze out against a good team, they'll blow Arizona out of the water.

Well, the coaching staff has stressed the importance of Channing Frye.

The team has a chance to be really good. The chemistry just has to gel, and with Shakur leading our team, it shouldn't be a problem.

The team could also be really bad. When Frye gets in foul trouble, it's going to be tough for anybody to handle big men inside.

Plus, we have one pure outside shooter on the team, and a lot of penetrating guards. A zone defense is going to hurt us.

You just have to give us a chance.

I gave us a chance last year.

We will see who is right come March, me or me.

- Shane Bacon is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at

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