By Monty Phan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Hey, the kid can play.
With his first career start in an Arizona uniform, it would be tough to judge in whose minds sophomore forward Michael Dickerson made more of an impression Ÿ the McKale Center fans or the Long Beach State 49ers.
After all, his teammates will say they knew it all along.
"He's young, and I don't want to boost his head up, but he's special," senior point guard Reggie Geary said. "He's done a lot things I've only seen great ones do, and I've been playing basketball for a long time."
Because of a one-game suspension for the improper use of a rental car, which Dickerson served during the exhibition game against the Mexico National Team, it was his first real test of the season. It was also a test he aced, scoring a game-high 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting in 28 minutes. The four missed shots were all in the second half, after a 5-for-5, 11-point performance in the first.
Dickerson said he had to stop himself from going for more.
"A lot of times tonight, I could've drove to the basket because the other guy was so slow," he said. "I could've easily drove to the basket and scored, but I wanted to keep the team concept and pass it around."
Dickerson might have given "the other guy" Ÿ Long Beach's Eric Brown Ÿ a bit more credit than he deserved. When Brown hit a three-pointer with just over four minutes gone in the game to give the 49ers their biggest lead Ÿ 10-4 Ÿ it was Dickerson who got it rolling for the Wildcats, who scored the next 10 points and never looked back.
Dickerson scored six of those, quickly and easily. Cut to the basket? No problem Ÿ catch, dribble, jump, release, bank. A turnaround jumper? Easy Ÿ catch, bank. How about off the dribble? Simple Ÿ bounce it twice, leap, bank. Got the picture?
"I felt we needed to do a little bit more offensively tonight," head coach Lute Olson said. "I think that'll happen with Michael because if they're in a spread court, there isn't anyone that can cover him in a one-on-one situation.
"He'll break defenses down more than he did (last night), because he can shoot it or pass it. He's a bear in the open court."
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