Mexico team 1st test for Arizona

By Patrick Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona men's basketball team gets its first chance to compete against a team other than itself Sunday when it hosts the Mexico National Team in an exhibition game at McKale Center.

Tip-off is at 6 p.m. The game will be televised by KTTU and broadcasted by KNST radio (AM 790).

For Wildcat head coach Lute Olson, the game will allow the coaches to evaluate the players against an older team. It was Mexico's experience the average age of the players is 26 that persuaded Olson to schedule the game.

"They are a veteran team," Olson said. "We did not want a real young team up here."

With forward Michael Dickerson serving a one-game NCAA-imposed suspension for improper use of a rental car, the focus will be on who starts in his place: Corey Williams or Joe McLean, both seniors.

Olson said Monday the top rebounder in practice this week will get the nod.

"I expect it to be a pretty competitive week on the boards," Olson said.

Both McLean and Williams said that while starting is important, getting quality minutes is their top objective.

"Starting is a goal, but not a major one," McLean said. "I've started games but then only played 12 minutes. My goal is to get a lot of minutes and to be out there at the end of the game."

"I think it is a great honor to start at this school," Williams said. "Joe and I are going to give it our best shots, but if I don't start I'm not going to put my head down and cry about it."

The rest of Arizona's lineup is set. Senior Reggie Geary will start at point guard, sophomore Miles Simon will play the other guard spot and seniors Ben Davis and Joseph Blair will start at the post positions.

The Wildcats will be the second opponent for Mexico, which is on an eight-game tour across the country.

This game will be Arizona's final tune-up before playing Long Beach State in the preseason National Invitation Tournament beginning Wednesday at McKale. With the regular season just days away, don't blame some players for being a bit anxious.

"This is only an exhibition game. It's just another chance to get out and tune up," Williams said. "I'm more worried about the preseason NIT."

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