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The Arizona Basketball team as Pokémon

If U of A’s basketball players were Pokémon, who would they be?

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

We all grew up loving Pokémon.

Well, at least I did and many in my millennial generation did too. I remember coming home from school, turning on the TV, and watching Ash and Co. attempt to ‘Catch ‘Em All’. I remember having the cards and playing my brother and friends. I remember the trades and arguments that ensued and the best part, ripping open the packs of Pokémon cards to see if you landed a rare Pokémon.

It was a blast.

Then, we grew up and took our different routes into sports, academics, theater, and whatnot. We graduated high school. We graduated college, joined the workforce, and really didn’t think about our Pokémon days.

Last week, though, Pokémon was reintroduced as an augmented reality game and has taken us – and the U of A football team - by storm. Because it’s summer and there’s not much to do (and especially today as there’s no football, basketball, baseball, or hockey games going on), I felt we could get a little creative and do a spin-off of SB Nation’s comparison of college football teams to Pokemon.

This time, though, we will be hitting the hardwood and lining up next year’s Arizona Basketball team to their Pokémon character. I tried to stick to the originals and while I’ll try to explain my thought process, I’d love to see your comparisons and reasons why below in the comment section.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright: Pidgey

Quick and small, Pidgey, like PJC, is still in the developmental phase. Later on, if he sees enough playing time, he’ll be asked to move the team forward (ie: the Fly capability) which will prove to be invaluable… because who really wants to walk from town to town.

Kadeem Allen: Graveler

Not quite Golem, but definitely more experienced than a low-level Geodude. Allen gets this comparison for being one of the few lockdown defenders and being a rock on the court. He can also offer an offense that, while not super flexible, is valuable in what he does.

Rawle Alkins: Tauros

I had originally been thinking of Eevee because I feel Alkins has the ability to evolve into so many different types of a player on the court. However, Tauros, basically a bull, seems to fit with more of his attacking, hardnosed, and no-nonsense persona which he will display on the court.

Kobi Simmons: Scyther

Crafty, quick, and has a lot of tools. That’s what I think of Simmons and also what I think of Scyther. With Simmons, he’ll have the ability to get to the hoop and either score or pass – in other words, making life miserable for opponents.

Allonzo Trier: Pikachu

Reliable. Reliable. Reliable. That’s the one word I think of when I think of Trier. You know what he’s going to give you night in and night out and in the Pokémon world, there’s no one more reliable than Pikachu.

Keanu Pinder: Tangela

Have you seen Pinder’s hair? Have you seen what Tangela looks like? It’s a match made in heaven.

Ray Smith: Machoke

Smith came in last season looking like a twig but after a year with the strength and conditioning team, he’s bulked up and is expected to be ready to go after his second ACL tear in as many years. Plus, he, thanks to his versatility, may be the key to the team becoming a, wait for it, Ma-Champ-ion.

Lauri Markkanen: Charmander

First, I’ve always been a fan of Charmander and I’m a fan of Markkanen also. While young and yet unproven in college, he seems to have the tools to breathe fire life into this team and make an impact when the time is right.

Dusan Ristic: Kangaskhan

Not exactly fleet of foot, Ristic is still an immovable force down low and a threat when he touches the ball, similar to Kangaskhan who is not someone you’d want to mess with. Also, there’s not too many Pokémon who look this big so it seemed like a good fit.

Chance Comanche: Arbok

I’ll be honest; I struggled with this one as I was looking for a long and slender Pokémon. However, I went with this due to the Cobra-type ability to scare opponents when he fully stretches out. With Comanche, he’s over 7-feet tall and has a wingspan that is even longer, making opponents think twice before driving to the hoop – similar to when a cobra opens up its neck hood to ward off predators.

Dylan Smith: Magnemite

Small but electric, Smith comes to U of A with a known ability to score after averaging 15-plus points per game last season. He’ll have to sit out this year, but under Sean Miller and the entire staff, he’ll be able to ‘evolve’ and make his mark in the years to come.

Talbott Denny: Ponyta

This one was easy. With Denny’s red hair and the on-fire Ponyta, this is too close a resemblance to not go for it.

Jake Desjardins: Growlithe

Not expected to make much of an impact on the court this season, he still possesses talent and if he grows enough, could be someone who sees the floor at the end of games in the case of a blowout.

Paulo Cruz: Nidoran (the male one…obviously)

Cruz isn’t expected to see much of the court this season but will prove to be a valuable component to team practices. Nidoran is an early stage Pokemon which has room to grow if it gets enough experience and playing time – just like Cruz.

As for Sean Miller, I’m leaving that up to you, the reader. Which Pokemon do you think embodies Coach Miller (and don’t use Ash or any other real human)? I’ll look forward to reading the comments below.

You can follow Alec on Twitter for U of A basketball and recruiting and we promise he won’t tweet much more about Pokémon: @UofAlec