Geary to head point guard-by-committee

There. Is. No. More. Damon.

Five words. And while they don't adorn the cover of this year's Arizona men's basketball media guide, they might as well.

With Damon Stoudamire gone, Arizona has lost perhaps its best point guard in school history. And although it was just the first day of practice yesterday, the role does not have the clear-cut starter it did in years past.

Actually, "History in the Making" is the theme this season, and in many ways, it's appropriate. For the first time since 1991, the Wildcats do not have a preseason NBA first-round shoo-in, as they did last year with Stoudamire, in '93 with Khalid Reeves and in '92 with Chris Mills.

In fact, this team is devoid of any real stars whatsoever. Seniors Reggie Geary, Joseph Blair and Ben Davis may qualify, but then again, the season hasn't even started yet. But a star doesn't necessarily have to be a senior, either after all, Stoudamire emerged during his junior season. And from the talk on the floor of McKale Center yesterday, the star may be sophomore forward Michael Dickerson.

And for the first time since the Wildcats went to the Final Four in '88, the point guard is not clearly defined. That year, Steve Kerr was the play-caller, followed by Kenny Lofton, Matt Othick, Khalid Reeves and Stoudamire.

This year it's different. But, perhaps, different is better.

"Last year if you stopped Damon you kind of stopped us," Geary said. "This year if you stop JB, you got to stop Ben, if you stop Ben you got to stop Mike D, you stop Mike D you got to stop Miles (Simon). About 12 down you might have to stop me. It's all going to be real nice."

Geary heads up the Damon-by-committee point guard role, one that freshman Jason Terry and sophomore Kelvin Eafon may find themselves in before too long. After all, teams last year didn't have to stop Geary because, sometimes, he stopped himself.

But he insisted the off-court problems "A lot of people got into my head (last year), and I swallowed all of it" are behind him, and physically, he's tip-top, "100 percent, ready to go."

He said he wants to "get back to the old Reggie," but then again, who on the team or in the stands doesn't want him to get back to the "old Reggie." That Reggie Geary, back during the '93-94 season, was the team's best-kept secret, stealing and dunking and generally wreaking havoc on the court. In essence, a far cry from Stoudamire.

"He's not someone we'll be looking to do the scoring Damon did, from the perimeter," said head coach Lute Olson. "Reggie has great leaping ability and he's very tough with the ball inside."

And if you want to continue with the differences from last season to now, you might look at the fact that last year at this time, it was Stoudamire's position to lose. That's not the case this year.

The knock on Geary has always been his ball-handling and shooting skills. The one other important aspect of the position, passing, has been his strength, so it follows naturally that the ball will go inside more often than last year. But Dickerson, who played against Terry in high school, said the freshman has the best dribbling skills on the team and

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