On November 9, 2011, the sixteenth ranked Arizona Wildcats committed 21 turnovers. They would win that basketball game, 67-59, despite their starting backcourt combining for 2 assists and 8 turnovers. Including guard efforts off the bench, the backcourt numbers balloon to 5 and 11. That was the last game TJ McConnell would lose in the McKale Center. He was a sophomore guard for the Duquesne Dukes and six months later he would transfer to the University of Arizona. Continue reading
Finally everyone’s favorite socks will have their jersey hang in the rafters of the McKale Center. It’s been a long time coming for Jason Terry’s #31 but it’s well deserved. And because we adore a game that celebrates its moments, I thought it fitting to share one of my favorite Jason Terry moments (Stanford game-winner was hard not to link aside from its lack of a web presence).
First, let’s note that The Jet won a national title and was named the national Player of the Year. He was the Pac-10’s 1999 Player of the Year, made the bench cool, wore the socks and played basketball with the enthusiasm of 1000 Sean Miller practice plans.
Pure Terry: Continue reading
Because I left my ID in my running shorts I was forced to fly standby to Seattle. In order to arrive by the 6pm tipoff, I needed someone also headed to Seattle to pass in the last second on their seat. Turns out that happens a lot. I made the flight. Basketball-wise, have the Bruins really jumped into the Dance? Do the Cardinal not want to dance? Can Zack LaVine fly? Do you think Kevin O’Neill saw 50 Shades? March approaches and it’s going to be tough to find two-and-a-half hours to watch both parts 1 and 2 of the SNL 40 special.
Quincy Pondexter arrived in Seattle, a five-star recruit with the promise of NBA written all over him. A program changing prospect, expectations were high. But after his first three seasons as a Husky, those seemed like empty hopes. Not to say he was a total bust, but after he came in with expectations and posted a pretty solid freshman campaign (11/4/2, 109/22), his subsequent two seasons displayed minimal improvement.
|Season||Pts/Rebs/Assists per game||Ortg/Shot%|
Consistently sound but was this to be QPon’s ceiling? His 2007 five-star contemporaries were being drafted if not leading their teams to great places. Pondexter got to dance in 2009 but headed into 2009-10, the Dawgs didn’t have particularly high expectations for their senior.
|Season||Pts/Rebs/Assists per game||Ortg/Shot%|
Pac-12 tournament champions. Sweet 16. Pondexter’s monster year came in the nick of time. And that’s the beauty of college sports. Maybe there’s corruption on the recruiting side of things and a product that’s not quite professional grade, but like watching a Snap Chat, there’s something to knowing that what’s right in front of you will soon be gone. The senior is that rare position in which it’s laid on the line for one full season. There’s no next because, as the commercial says, most of them will be going professional in something other than sports (though if you have a season like Pondexter you’re probably going professional in something related to sports, namely playing them).
Quincy embodied that for a season – a relatively rare accomplishment – and I’m sure we could each recount a moment in which a senior’s gut captivated us. But there is a precedent for what QPon did. I could rattle on about Jason Terry or Kyle Fogg from my backyard. Landry Fields, Carrick Felix, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aaron Brooks from elsewhere. These were guys that followed similar paths as the aforementioned QPon and erupted with their NCAA clock nearing expiration.
|Player||Fr-Jr Averages*||Senior Year||Sr Year Post Season|
|Jason Terry**||8p 2r 3a||22p 3r 6a||NCAA 3 seed. Lost 1st round***|
|Aaron Brooks||11p 3r 4a||102.4/20.3||18p 4r 4a||117.7/25.1||NCAA 2 seed. Lost E8|
|Landry Fields||7p 4r 1a||101.1/21.8||22p 9r 3a||109.6/31.2||14-18. No tournaments|
|Matthew Bryan-Amaning||6p 4r 1a||94.5/20.2||15p 8r 1a||112.5/24.9||NCAA 7 seed. Lost 2d round|
|Kyle Fogg||8p 2r 2a||106.8/17.8||14p 4r 2a||110.6/23.1||NIT|
|Carrick Felix||8p 3r 1a||95.1/21.8||15p 8r 2a||110.4/22.2||NIT. Lost 2d round|
*These are quick and dirty averages across their first three seasons on campus
**No ORtg and %shot data available
***Utterly broke my heart to see Michael Wright mistakenly step onto the court before inbounding the ball late and sealing a first round exit for one of the greatest Wildcat seniors of all time which I watched alone in my bedroom on an antennaed TV on a Friday afternoon that somehow was a middle school half day.
And so I ask, who could do that this year? Who amongst the statesmen of the Pac-12 can embrace their impending eligibility and have a monster swan song?
John Gage, F, Stanford – This biggun was called the best shooter in the Pac-12 by Jeff Eisenberg. Not many 13mpg players get called out as being the best shooter in a conference. What’s more, Gage is a member of the senior class Dwight Powell stuck around to take care of unfinished business with. With Andy Brown unfortunately off the roster, Gage should have further chances to play that stretch forward position.
Richard Solomon, C, Cal – Another biggun making the breakout senior list, Solomon has tremendous up side that he has yet to realize. I love his athleticism and think he’s on a roster where that athleticism can flourish. He’s foul prone, sure, but if he can manage to refine his game a little, look out.
Angus Brandt, C, Oregon State – He spent last season injured and was poised to break out then. He’s now going to be relied upon even further as Eric Moreland won’t soon be joining the team.
Jermaine Marshall, G, ASU – He put up very solid numbers one season ago at Penn State (15/4/3) and then he graduated to Tempe (not from Tempe). Those are already gaudy numbers but I could see him having the opportunity to go even bigger with Jahii Carson making moves throughout the lane for this spot up shooter.
JT Terrell, G, USC – Terrell is a shooter and would likely seem to thrive in a shooting system. Exit: Kevin O’Neill. Enter: Andy Enfield. Dunk city is going to give Terrell further freedom to fire it up. He’s the top scorer returning to the Galen Center and should likely receive the lion’s share of touches.
Mike Moser, F, Oregon -This one maybe isn’t quite deserving of making this list but as compared to his previous season, Moser is poised to have another monster season. He’s in a system that doesn’t have Anthony Bennett and he’s already shown just how good he can be (2011-12 Moser was 14/10).
Somebody really cool that we barely know about who’s role is suddenly expanded or talent realized because of the fleeting nature of his time on the campus where he’s fallen in love with coaches and teammates and fans and the experience since arriving a green, 18-year-old with aspirations of t-shirts and hats – Any names come to minds?