It's a sellout folks. Over 14,500 fans will be in attendance for Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, which marks the beginning of basketball season in Tucson, Arizona. With what has so far been a disappointing football season (minus the most recent game), Arizona basketball couldn't have come sooner.
This game will be slightly different from years past due to a few headlining themes.
The most prevalent is Kevin Parrom. To say he is going through a hard time is not even coming close, when you consider the loss of his mother as well as being shot in the lower leg. Hopefully, while at the game, you take a moment and send up a thought to a higher power (if you believe in one such thing), plus give him the community support that UofA prides itself on. There will not be many times as fans you can have a serious impact on a young man's life as you can Saturday. Rise to the occasion and make it one to remember.
On a much lighter note, former All-American's Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger, as well as HS, College and NBA Champion Jason Terry will all be in attendance as well. Williams and Budinger are being inducted into the McKale Center "Ring of Honor." Terry will be "honored for winning an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks." Other former players attending, with either time to spar with no NBA season at the moment or because retirement is boring, include Joseph Blair, Channing Frye, Andgre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson and Corey Williams.
Along with present and past NBA players, future Wildcat 2012 commits Gabe York, Brandon Ashley, and Grant Jerrett will be present according to PointGuardU.com. On top of that, consensus top center Kaleb Tarczewski, or 'Tarc' for those who, like me, have trouble pronouncing funky names, will also be taking in the festivities.
Tarc is a player who can make a tremendous difference due to his height (7 feet) because it would finally give Arizona a true center with back to the basket capabilities. So, when Kaleb is announced go crazy. Chant his name over and over, send your girlfriend to take him out on a date, and if you are rich, give him and everyone else in the arena a new car, because we all know it is only a recruiting violation if the athlete is the sole person benefiting plus I'd like a new car. (Note: Maybe the last two idea's are a bet far fetched, but come up with your own creative idea to make Mr. Tarczewski feel at home.)
Now onto the actual game itself. What are we looking for, what do we expect to see, who are we most intrigued to see play and what will the season entail? Ready, Set, Go!
Expect to see a dunk contest like we did last year when Brendon Lavender won it with his flip and cart wheel show. However, Lavender should not be expected to win outright again this year, not with freshman Nick Johnson on the team. Johnson, who I personally feel is the most athletic person on the team, will definitely put on a show. Just take a look at these highlights from his days in high school.
It will also be interesting to see how much playing time the four incomers, Sidiki Johnson, Nick Johnson, Josiah Turner, and Angelo Chol receive. They came in highly recruited, all ESPN Top100's, with the sole goal of bringing another National Championship to Tucson. I expect to them to start slow due to nerves, but given enough playing time, they will give fans reason to hope for years to come.
Personally, Kyle Fogg is the player to watch. He stated he took around 40,000 shots in the off-season and this will be the first time the public can see the results. He is the leader of this team,being the only senior to be in the program for four years. (Remember Perry transferred after playing two years at a community college.) This is Fogg's team and how he goes, will most likely go the team. Luckily, it looks like he put enough hard work in during the offseason to clear the way for a long run in March.
This is it Arizona basketball fans. The time has come. Basketball season is upon us and it is starting out with a bang. This team has the look of a serious contender come February. Wait, February, why February one might ask? It's simple. This team, even though it has plenty of older players, will only be dominant when Turner, Chol, plus Johnson&Johnson are playing to their full potential. And that full potential will not happen off the bat. They need games under their belt, experience against other players than themselves and the chance to be truly educated in the ways of basketball by Sean Miller I expect great things from this team, but remember to give them a chance to grow and improve before acting like, well, unhappy fans.
- Game begins at 2pm on Saturday, October 22nd
- Gates usually open between one and a half and two hours hours before tip
- Parking is free in the Cherry Avenue garage, surrounding surface lots and all non-reserved non-handicapped spaces on campus, according to ArizonaAthletics.com
- Make sure you get there early so you see the induction ceremony
- Students, your CatCard gets you in for free, no reservation needed. However, I was told due to the sellout, only 500 student seats are available (much less than the 2500 or so at regular games), which is a first-come, first-serve basis. I was also told it is recommended to arrive at McKale at noon to guarantee your seats, so good luck