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Arizona to honor Lute Olson with jersey patch—and maybe throwback uniforms

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When the 2020-21 college basketball season begins late next month it will be the first time the Arizona Wildcats will be playing since legendary coach Lute Olson passed away in August.

The program that he ran for 25 years plans to pay tribute to Olson in a variety of ways, though just how that will be—beyond a patch on the jersey—and when it will happen is still uncertain, coach Sean Miller said Thursday.

Translation: don’t expect any sort of throwback uniforms from the Olson era this season.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if, moving forward in our program, that we wouldn’t be able to have a tribute to not only Coach Olson but one of the special teams or eras that he was a part of here through our uniforms,” Miller said. “I could see that being a real possibility with Nike and Arizona. I believe a version of the patch, for sure.”

Miller said Arizona’s agreement with Nike is one where the uniforms for a particular season are put in place long before that season, meaning the earliest any sort of throwbacks could be incorporated into the rotation would be the 2021-22 season.

“We wouldn’t have time to make that happen this year,” Miller said. “We would have probably way more opportunity to make that happen a year or two from now. With the way it is this year, it’s probably appropriate that we do that when there are fans in our arena and hopefully—knock on wood—things return back to more how it once was.”

Olson passed away Aug. 27 at the age of 85, his health having been in decline the last few years. He coached Arizona from 1983-2007, winning 589 games as well as 11 Pac-10 regular-season titles, four Pac-10 tournament crowns and the 1997 national championship.

One of Olson’s former players (Andre Iguodala) is still active in the NBA, while another (Jason Terry) has joined Miller’s staff this season. Terry, who was on the 1997 team, was known among other things for wearing knee-high socks with ‘CATS’ emblazoned on the side.

What’s to say the UA couldn’t play a game this season where everyone on the team rocked that look?