With the regular season now wrapped and the Pac-12’s seniors having played their final home games, we’re taking a tour across the conference and bidding this group of seniors farewell.
James Lucas is a contributor and moderator at AllBuffs. He’s an OG Buffs basketball fan and yet another great mind of basketball thought.
The first thing that has to be mentioned when discussing Sabatino Chen is the hair. His glorious, glorious hair. And I don’t say this mockingly as I rock the same hairdo as Tad Boyle (bald is beautiful dammit). I’m jealous. No matter what he does on the court, the hair stays the same – glorious and bouncing along.
The second thing that’s mentioned? The fact that this is a kid that almost no one wanted, and now he’s getting quality minutes (and starting over half the games this season) for a team that should be dancing in March. When Chen transferred to CU from Denver University, many complained pointing out that he barely got minutes on a team that was pretty bad. Their complaints were legit, but Tad Boyle once again proved that he’s smarter than everyone else as Chen slowly became a player that Buff fans learned to love. His hard-nosed defense and absolute fearlessness when it comes to guarding anyone endeared him.
This year, he took over the role of senior leader and has reportedly outworked almost everyone on the team. That work has paid off as this year his offensive game actually has a few solid elements to it. He’s predictable – when he gets the ball he’s either shooting a corner three, passing or doing a spin move to drive into the lane – but it works just enough that teams have to stay honest.
He’s worked hard to prove us all wrong, and is exactly the type of kid who makes college basketball fun. I’ll always remember him for two things while at CU. Obviously, the first is the hair – have I mentioned that it’s glorious? It is. The second?
Someone this morning asked me if I was in “Wildcat heaven.”
Without hesitation, not a second of doubt because I have no idea how to process what transpired on the court in McKale, I replied, “No.” That was a game in which Arizona didn’t hold a lead for 41-minutes. That’s not OK. It was a game gifted to the Wildcats by three men looking at something it appeared no one else saw.
That was one of the more interesting basketball games I’ve witnessed in some time as it was equal parts defensive beauty, offensive ineptitude, and raw drama of sport. In short: a clusterbang. The Monitor Mishap in McKale.
So as I mull more and more on this game I find less and less to take away from it. I’m only certain that there’s a faction of fans in Boulder, Colorado that are really pissed off and another in Tucson, Arizona that are really relieved.
And the latter faction comes under attack for “losing” that game. To that, being an Arizona fan, I say have that game. Take it. ‘Twas ugly and frustrating and I return to the previously used clusterbang and from a procedural standpoint I see no reason to be particularly happy about it as a Wildcat beyond the fact that it’s been confirmed you’d better put that arrow squarely and deeply into Arizona’s collective achilles if you intend to beat them.
A basketball season is too short to focus on the uncontrollable. Control what you can and be good at it. Today, the Wildcats get to control their preparation for the Utah Utes.
I suggest the Buffs focus on Arizona State.
Because the stage is now set for what Colorado fans are already calling the “Valentine’s Day Massacre.” They’ve set up a countdown (I love that) and are not all too happy with Thursday’s outcome. There will be a second squaring off following this controversial outcome inducing a Coors Event Center welcoming of Sean Miller’s squad that’s ear splitting and full of vitriol and contempt.
Like any good rivalry should.