Basketball season ... already?

The Arizona men's basketball team is not on strike. Never was. Sorry if this news inconveniences anybody.

No, the Wildcats are back in business again, but wait didn't the return charter from Charlotte just get back in town last week or something? Should basketballs be bouncing already? Football just started, for crying out loud.

"Right now, it seems just like yesterday that we got off (the court)," said sophomore forward Jarvis Kelley at the UA's media day. "But it's good to get back out here, everyone is pretty excited."

So there they were, the 1994-95 Arizona Wildcats, dribbling and passing and shooting and rebounding on the McKale Center Arena floor as if they had never been off that court. But the graduation of Dylan Rigdon, Kevin Flanagan and

Khalid Reeves has left the dribbling and passing and shooting and rebounding on the McKale floor to players that have never been on that court before this year.

Davis? Dickerson? Harris? Sounds like names off the Houston Astros' or the Indianapolis Colts' rosters, not the Wildcats'. They all look very promising though, I mean Ben Davis has the look of a seasoned veteran. He is cool, confident, and at 6-foot-8, 254 pounds menacing.

The first junior college player Arizona has taken since Tom Tolbert (according to Coach Lute Olson), Davis was picked up last season after Edtrick Bohannon transferred to Tennessee prior to the '93-94 season.

There is no question that the guy is talented, but does he know how much pressure is on him? As soon as the media was let loose on the four immediately available players at 12:45 p.m. yesterday, they took one look at the other three and made a bee-line for Davis. Is he ready for this kind of pressure? After all, he's a transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College, which is not, obviously, a Division I school.

In Davis's defense, Olson had this to say: "It's not like top-level basketball is unknown to Ben. Ben has been through it. Ben will give us excellent flexibility up front. Based on the number of times I saw him ... Ben has good skills."

You also got a strong feeling from yesterday's doings that Davis is an extremely legitimate contender for a starting spot in the Wildcat frontcourt. However, Olson indicated that he would have to wait until closer to the season to comment on that matter.

In fact, Olson's answer to several questions was something to the effect of "let's wait and see."

So yesterday, the media learned that Olson is not ready to answer certain questions and that Arizona is definitely not the same team it was last season.

But hey, at least they're not on strike.

Thoden Janes is the Wildcat sports editor.

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