Tag Archives: Salim Stoudamire

Guest Blog: BH on his Favorite McKale Memories

Arizona will be celebrating McKale’s anniversary tonight, so I asked a great Wildcat, my buddy BH, to answer Sean Miller’s question:

February 1st marked the official 40th anniversary of the 1973 opening of McKale Memorial Center. For those of you that don’t know, McKale Memorial Center (or just “McKale”) is located at 1 National Championship Dr. Tucson, AZ 85721, and houses the home court of the University of Arizona Wildcat basketball team. As a lifelong Wildcat fan, McKale is also the venue for some of my greatest college basketball memories (RIP RCA Dome [1]).

Fittingly, Sean Miller took to the Twitterverse to ask Arizona fans what their favorite memory at McKale was. As a coach who knows that many a Wildcat fan has an encyclopedic knowledge of every great game at McKale since 1973, this is a great PR move by Miller—who consistently has a deft touch when it comes to fan engagement. However, for this lifelong fan picking one memory is impossible, let alone fitting it into 140 characters. As such, @UACoachMiller: a list of my 3 favorite McKale Memores #guestblog:

Salim from the Cactus

Salim Stoudamire is one of my all time favorite ‘Cats. If most people are like me, they can’t remember the kid ever missing a shot—especially a three. Say what you will about J.J. Redick‘s 2005, Salim shot a ludicrous .504 from behind the arc. But it’s the afternoon of Saturday, January 15, 2005 that stands alone.

UCLA was in town with second year coach Ben Howland and 14,558 fans were there to watch with me. McKale was rocking: National TV, Steve Lavin on the call, and the red sweater crowd was standing. Arizona trailed by four at the half, but mounted a comeback fueled by Salim’s 24 point, 9-for-11-shooting second half. With the clock running under thirty seconds UCLA’s freshman prodigy, Aaron Aflalo, had just tied the game with a three. But now it was Arizona’s ball. Salim casually received it near mid court and cleared things out to break down Afflalo. Then, without warning, he pulled up from 27 feet and launched an arcing three pointer. The ball hung in the air for what seemed hours, and then like a movie, splashed straight into the net like a stone into a pond. McKale erupted.

The Other Rivals

At the end of the 1990’s and early 2000s Stanford and Arizona battled back and forth for Pac-10 supremacy. They forged a rivalry that featured heart wrenching defeats, heart stopping wins, top 10 matchups, and twins, always twins. I still get annoyed thinking about Mike Montgomery in his glasses, sitting on the bench clutching his clipboard, chewing gum and orchestrating plays for his limitless stable of three-point-assassins. Needless to say, beating Stanford was great. Beating Stanford when they were ranked second in the land entering McKale and favored by Vegas to win? Even better.

If I’d known or cared about spreads and betting as an 8th grader I would have told Vegas to go fly a kite. In 2000 Arizona just didn’t lose at McKale. In fact, leading into this Stanford game Arizona had only lost 15 times at home since 1990, and since the 1996-1997 season, had lost only twice at home by a combined total of 4 points. Vegas needed a better bookie. In 2000, when you marched through the tunnel under Speedway en route to McKale, you weren’t marching to a game. You were marching to a prelude to victory party. And March 9, 2000 would be no different.

Richard Jefferson was returning from a foot he had broken earlier that year in a win at Maples. He came off the bench for 19 points that day and as Stanford shot meaningless free throws at the end of the game he smiled and gestured to the crowd to quiet down as they chanted, “overrated, overrated.” And when the clock struck zeros, it was Jefferson himself celebrating atop the scorer’s table with fans streaming onto the floor.

The Block

At 4 pm McKale Center time on February 19, 2011 Washington and Arizona tipped off in McKale with first place in the Pac-12 on the line. Some two hours later the game finished as Derrick Williams blocked Darnell Gant’s potential game winner into the stands. The Block.

Many Wildcat fans will tell you that The Block is their favorite McKale memory. And you’d be hard pressed to find a single Wildcat fan in McKale that day that would say anything different. I was watching the game by myself in my friend’s basement in Portland, Oregon and it’s still one of my favorite memories. I can’t tell you what happened after I leaped up in jubilation and smashed my hands into the ceiling immediately following Williams’ blocked shot, but I’d imagine I immediately called or texted the author of this blog.

This game makes the list because it is probably the greatest McKale memory in the Sean Miller era (due respect to the Florida game this year). This game had all the ingredients: Miller had asked all the fans to wear white and all of them did, the game was nationally broadcast on ESPN, and the Pac-12 title was on the line. What made this game special is this was the first game in several years at McKale that really meant something. Arizona fans knew they had a special player in Derrick Williams and knew they had found a coach in Sean Miller that was going to do special things.

It was a coming out party for Miller, the program, fans at McKale, and fans in Tucson and across the country. When Derrick swatted that shot into the sea of white every one of those fans from McKale to Portland let out a cathartic jubilant scream years in the making.

Honorable Mention:

The 1993-1994 ‘Cats welcomed the Michigan Wolverines into McKale. These were the same Wolverines of Fab Five fame that had run out of timeouts just one year earlier in the National Championship game. Although Chris Webber had split for the NBA, they came to town in their oversized shorts and with plenty of swagger. Khalid Reeves welcomed them to town by torching them for 40 points in a 119-95 route.

 


[1] The RCA Dome in Indianapolis hosted the 1997 Final Four, where Arizona won its first (and only) NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.

Pac-12 Fantasy Draft: Team PacHoops’ Guards

The decision maker, the guy with the ball in his hand, the one who’s making critical plays at critical moments, those are the game changers. The ones who can – with equal skill – hit the big three or find the right guy to do such.

Guard play, perhaps above all else, determines championship caliber teams and the Pac-12 has been chock full of some greats. Run up and down some of the other rosters I’m competing against in this Fantasy Draft and you’re reminded that the Conference of Champions has produced Walt Hazzard, Gary Payton, and Jason Kidd. Woof.

But this draft wasn’t about scoring an individual. If that were the case we’d have handed this thing over to Andy over at Building the Dam once he picked Lew Alcindor. It was about compiling a squad and you’re about to be treated to the deepest guard corps. Ever.

Stoudamire, Bibby, Dickerson, Stoudamire

 

Damon Stoudamire, Arizona, 1991-95

  • Home: Portland, Oregon. Woodrow Wilson HS
  • Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 5 apg
  • Best Year: 22ppg, 4rpg, 7apg
  • Brag sheet: 1995 Pac-10 POY, 7th pick in 1995 NBA Draft
  • Mighty Mouse could utterly fill the tin. He was quicker than Wyatt Earp on the draw and just as tough. You kinda have to be if you’re going to be a sub-six foot lottery pick. And sure, he may have been a contributing member to the Jailblazers but you know what? After attending rehab and probably some long looks in the mirror, Stoudamire took a bet with columnist Jay Canzano that the sportswriter could piss test him whenever he wanted. So when Canzano showed up pre-game with a cup for Damon to fill, he did it and passed the test. THC free. I built this team on talent but some accountability certainly never hurt a contender either.

Mike Bibby, Arizona, 1996-98

  • Home: Phoenix, Arizona. Shadow Mountain HS
  • Stats: 15ppg, 3rpg, 5apg
  • Best Year: 17ppg, 3rpg, 6apg
  • Brag Sheet: 1998 Pac-10 POY, 1997 NCAA Champion, 2nd pick in 1998 NBA Draft
  • I’ll write a lot of brag-worthy things whilst waxing poetic about this team I’ve compiled but none holds more clout than “NCAA Champion.” Bibby hoisted the hardware and cut down the nets as a freshman. He then went on to earn POY honors on a team where he wasn’t even the leading scorer; a fact I don’t quite know what to do with but it probably means people thought pretty highly of his value to a basketball team. So I wanted him on my team.

Michael Dickerson, Arizona, 1994-98

  • Home: Kent, Washington. Federal Way HS
  • Stats: 14ppg, 4rpg, 2apg
  • Best Year: 19ppg, 5rpg, 2apg
  • Brag Sheet: 1997 NCAA Champion, 14th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft
  • Remember how I told you NCAA Champion was the most baller thing I could tell you about someone? Dickerson’s got that. He also just happens to be the same Cat (pun intended) who outscored the ’98 Pac-10 POY (Bibby) and who had the smoothest, most effortless game of any Wildcat. Ever. He may have spoke softly but when it came to putting the ball in the basket, he was real loud.

Salim Stoudamire, Arizona, 2001-05

  • Home: Portland, Oregon. Lake Oswego HS
  • Stats: 15ppg, 2rpg, 2apg
  • Best Year: 18ppg, 2rpg, 2apg
  • Brag Sheet: Better three point shooter than JJ Reddick
  • The cousin of my first guard selected (Damon), Salim is going to make any All-Time Favorite Wildcats list that I make and he probably should make yours too because of his Brag Sheet item. You’ll recall JJ-mania over the same four years Salim played and so you just had a visceral reaction when you read his name. Well know that in 2005, Salim shot greater than 50% from three-point land. Do you want to swallow the comparison? Ok, JJ’s best year was .421. Meh, solid, not hyperbole good. Salim.