As we turn the calendar to 2017, I’d like to take a second to remember some of the bigger things that happened around the Arizona Wildcats in 2016.
The past year was easily the most successful in this site’s history, so thank you to all of you who stopped by, to all of our writers, and of course, to Arizona for having a lot of weird storylines throughout the year.
Here’s a look at some of our most-viewed things from 2016:
The Josh Jackson Saga
A player that didn’t even end up at Arizona provided some top-notch recruiting drama in March. It started with Jackson saying he was going to decide his school within a week of a particular interview at the McDonald’s All-American Game festivities, then the next day, Kobi Simmons’ now-deleted video made everyone believe that Jackson was actually coming to Arizona.
Of course, Jackson is at Kansas where he’s averaging 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Jackson heading to KU also opened the door for Terrance Ferguson, and, well, you know.
Despite the turmoil, this recruiting class showed why Sean Miller’s recruiting skills shouldn’t ever be questioned. Also, remember when he was going to Pitt? Lol.
The big story of this year’s basketball season has been the eligibility issues surrounding Allonzo Trier, who opted to return to Arizona for his sophomore season instead of declaring for the NBA Draft.
The floodgates opened when Miller was asked about it after the Red-Blue Game, and it’s really only gotten weirder since then. Obviously there’s been no resolution so far, and even Trier had to start denying reports of when he would be back on the floor. This is obviously something that will carry into 2017.
The Mother of all Blowups
So, there was a time when Kaleb Tarczewski got laid into by Miller on the sideline. Miller actually called out just about everyone after that game. Arizona’s head coach responded to the criticism he received from that video. My criticism had more to do with the overall college athletics model than the actual incident, but that doesn’t really matter anymore. That was kind of the point when most people realized Arizona wasn’t going to do much in the tournament though.
Brushfire Takes Home the Crown
We had our first-ever Tucson Restaurant Tournament over the summer, and we got a lot of reaction from it, mostly negative, because people are way more passionate about food than sports. We’ll be looking for suggestions on either how to improve this, or try something else this summer, so let us know what you want to see when we hit those June and July months.
The Summer Started Late Though
I had planned out the TRT because I definitely did not anticipate baseball playing all the way through the month of June. But they did, and almost pulled off one final comeback in the final game of the year. I’m not sure how in-depth our baseball coverage will be this year compared to years past, but once the NCAA steals your stuff, you know you’ve made it I guess.
Kind of ironically, before the year, one of the top-five most read stories on our site was about how Jay Johnson and Mike Candrea were concerned about the overuse of pitchers in high schools. Then in Arizona’s postseason run, the hottest topic became how Johnson overused Nathan Bannister and Bobby Dalbec. Bannister had to leave a CWS game early, and didn’t pitch again the rest of the year for Arizona or the Seattle Mariners.
Never forget the dugout shower that enraged the internet though.
Football’s Fall From Grace
In a weird way, football’s failure this year made our site much more active as everyone was looking for a place to vent about, well, everything around this team. The most interesting part of it was when Utah’s Kyle Whittingham had no problem calling out the defensive line after a game.
The buyout was extremely high, the fan support disappeared, and Rich Rodriguez is still in Arizona for the 2017 season. To add to the issues, Donte Williams is now in Nebraska, oh and Marcel Yates has that whole car dealership debt thing. It will be interesting to watch how it all plays out around this program moving forward.
By the way, Grambling ended up being the HBCU Champions, but this story about the band coming to Tucson was my favorite one I did all year. The season ended pretty okay too, bringing home the Territorial Cup, and also this ridiculous Brandon Dawkins/Miss Arizona stuff.
So what’s coming in 2017? What will the basketball team look like with or without Trier? Will softball return to the WCWS for the first time since 2010? Will baseball be able to replicate last season’s success? Is another spring sport poised to make a big statement, like beach volleyball or women’s golf? Then what happens with football? Is it all gloom and doom, or will there be a revitalized offense?
Let us know what your bold prediction for Arizona Athletics in 2017 is! And also let us know if there are new and different things that you want to see from us in the new year! Thanks again for making 2016 our best year ever (by a lot), and here’s to a bigger and better 2017!