By Roman Veytsman
Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona's Hassan Adams drives past Stanford's Dan Grunfeld during Stanford's game against No. 13 Arizona in McKale Center on Saturday.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 8, 2005
The Wildcats set a team record last season by shooting 78.6 percent from the free-throw line, but they are ready to eclipse that record this year.
Currently Arizona is shooting 78.4 percent from the charity stripe, led by senior guard Salim Stoudamire, who has improved his stroke from 79.5 percent last season to 90.7 percent thus far. All five starters shoot better than 72 percent, with sophomore forward Ivan Radenovic being last in the starting group. Senior center Channing Frye has made drastic improvements in his free-throw shooting from his sophomore year - when he shot only 66.4 percent. He's second on the team at 83.5 percent.
"We have good shooters and they get good concentration," UA head coach Lute Olson said. "We don't shoot a lot of free throws in practice. I'm not a believer in it. The most important thing is the ones you shoot have to be meaningful and you have to have focus."
A starter for four years, Frye's time at Arizona is coming to an end and he knows it.
"I kind of realized it at the beginning of the year," he said. "I just try to take everything in stride. With the wins and the losses, I appreciate my opportunity to be here at this school, and I appreciate everybody supporting me."
Frye not taking last year for granted
Frye came in as the least-heralded recruit in his freshman class, a skinny 6-foot-11 center from St. Mary's High School in Phoenix, but he soon established himself as one of the best big men Olson has ever had.
"Time went very fast for me. I still remember my first practice I had here, and I thought I was going to die," Frye said.
Going from skinny freshman to a senior leader, Olson believes Frye will be able to take the next stop to the NBA.
"I knew what his character was from his parents and what his work ethic was," Olson said. "How many times do you see a 6-foot-11 guy who can shoot the ball the way he can? He's a power forward at the next level. But I think he'll be a good one."
Injuries slow down UA big men, but not for long
Radenovic battled a virus as well as a lower back injury last week, and sophomore center Kirk Walters was limited because of a sprained ankle, but both big men feel better now.
"I feel a lot better," Radenovic said. "I had a virus at the beginning of the week and then I hurt my back. I had a hard time."
Walters played 12 minutes against Stanford, but Olson planned to play him more if it wasn't for the injury.
"It was unfortunate with the ankle turn, otherwise we could have used him more on both Thursday and Saturday," Olson said. "We're looking for every minute we can get out of him right now, experience-wise."
Walters was still effective and aggressive in the win over Stanford, scoring five points to go along with two rebounds.
Homecoming for Hassan Adams
Junior forward Hassan Adams will be coming home to the Los Angeles area this weekend when the Wildcats take on Southern California and UCLA. Adams played high school basketball nearby at Westchester High School.
Although he said it's just another game for him, a lot of friends and family will be in attendance for the games against the Trojans and Bruins.
"It's always good to play at home in my original house," Adams said. "It's going to be a great weekend. They always come visit me, come support me. It's going to be great to see."
Adams has averaged 16.5 points per game in his four games against the Los Angeles schools.
Wildcats stay pat at No. 13 in rankings
Despite two home wins against California and Stanford, the Wildcats did not move up in the AP poll, staying at No. 13. Meanwhile, the Washington Huskies, whom Arizona beat earlier in the year, moved up to No. 11 after being No. 12 last week.