The 2023-24 men’s basketball season doesn’t begin until Nov. 6, but the first chance to see the latest version of the Arizona Wildcats is on Friday night. That is, if you can get a ticket.
For the first time in recent memory the annual Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage, now known as the Red-Blue Showcase, will not be televised on Pac-12 Network or streamed online. That means the only chance to see this event is in person, at McKale Center (or read our tweets and postgame coverage).
According to UA officials, the Pac-12 doesn’t have the television staff to broadcast the game on the same weekend as three football games, including the Arizona/Washington game on Saturday night. An in-house broadcast was also not doable.
“Obviously, lots of things have happened with the Pac-12, and it looks like the things on the football side are really strong right now, so I think they’re putting all their effort and energy towards that and there wasn’t enough resources or crews available to broadcast our game,” UA coach Tommy Lloyd said Monday. “So the only way you’re gonna be able to see the Red-Blue event this year, The Red-Blue Showcase, is to come.”
Lloyd is billing Red-Blue as a “community event” more than an actual basketball game, as the team itself will only scrimmage in “condensed halves” at the end of the night. Before that will be an Adaptive Athletics basketball intrasquad game, player and coach introductions, a speech from Lloyd, a 3-point contest and a slam dunk competition.
“The Red-Blue Showcase is an awesome community event,” Lloyd said. “And that’s the main theme it comes down to is engaging our basketball program with the community of Tucson. That’s one of the biggest differentiators between the University of Arizona men’s basketball program and other jobs in the country. Our program is embedded in the community, it’s part of the foundation of Tucson and the University of Arizona. We’re going to have an awesome community event and we’re going to share this new team with the community.”
Former UA greats Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson are hosting the event, while other ex-Wildcat players scheduled to attend include Gilbert Arenas, John Ash, Mike Bibby, Matt Brase, Quinton Crawford, Talbott Denny, Eugene Edgerson, Aaron Gordon, Andre Iguodala, and Miles Simon.
As for the “game” itself, Lloyd is likely to do the same thing he did last year in which switched up the rosters at halftime to put the projected starters together on one team.
“Anytime we play, we want to try to play the right way,” he said. “So anytime you get your guys for the first time in front of 14,500 people it’s really cool to see how they kind of react. Are we able to take a breath? There’s some stress and some pressure maybe and, are we able to take a breath and kind of just do our jobs and play within the way we asked you to play? So I love looking at that. And you know the other thing is, it’s a great opportunity for recruits and people like that to see how special this place is.”
Arizona is expected to have several potential future Wildcats in attendance, including 4-star center Emmanuel Stephen and 4-star Class of 2025 forward Hudson Greer. Stephen, who put Arizona in his top 5 earlier this month, is expected to announce his commitment on Tuesday.