As we roll into August, some of our regular Arizona Wildcats features will be making their return.
So here we are, with the first Tuesday Twitterbag of the 2016-17 school year. Be sure to follow our main account @azdesertswarm and tweet us your burning questions about anything that’s on your mind, Arizona Athletics-related or not. The less serious, the better.
And away we go:
@azdesertswarm I know G.B. has mentioned facility upgrades, but what specific do you think would be done to AZ Stadium? And where might...— Andy Blaho (@AndyBlaho) August 1, 2016
@azdesertswarm the potential indoor practice facility go? I hope it's not a bubble as I think those are tacky (obviously cheaper).— Andy Blaho (@AndyBlaho) August 1, 2016
Ok, so I’ll break this up into two parts. First up is Arizona Stadium. Greg Byrne stated back in April that he’s looking to completely rebuild the west side, and do it in the next 4-6 years. Essentially, I would expect it to look similar to what the north endzone looks like now mixed with what the west side currently has (i.e. individual chairbacks throughout the seating area with suites and press box above). He also said that he likes the east side the way it is so that U of A can continue to offer some of the lowest entry-level ticket prices in not only the Pac-12, but all Power Five conferences. So the only major changes I see coming to the east side are the new chairbacks they put in this offseason in the 100 level. Cleaning up some of the concrete facades would be nice too.
Changing the west side would include a better visitor’s locker room, probably some state-of-the-art suites, modern facilities for concessions and restrooms, and, in a perfect world, cabanas.
Now for part two of this question. The type of indoor practice facility will be totally dependent on whatever the donation is that Arizona gets for it. Obviously bubbles are cheaper, quicker, and get the job done, but I also think it would have been destroyed by the monsoon storms that came through Tucson this week.
As far as location, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be where they currently practice (Kindall Field at Sancet Stadium) plus the space that is in between Bear Down Beach and 6th St. There’s plenty of room there to get it built, and while it’s being built, there’s still room for an outdoor practice field besides Arizona Stadium. I don’t think putting it far away from Lowell-Stevens would make sense. You could also just build a roof over Bear Down Field, but it likely wouldn’t be big enough for the team’s liking.
Make no mistake about it though. To keep Rich Rodriguez at UA long-term, or to draw interest from another top coach, an indoor practice facility is absolutely needed.
@azdesertswarm which freshman will make the biggest impact in football/basketball next season?— Stuart Kratz (@StuartKratz) August 1, 2016
For football, we gave a couple of options in this week’s roundtable. Personally, I would take Chacho Ulloa with Kahi Neves a close second. Those are two guys that are going to get time at relatively thin positions on defense, and will have the chance to play their way into significant playing time.
For basketball, I’ve been driving the Lauri Markkanen bandwagon for a while now. Yeah, Kobi Simmons and Rawle Alkins are gonna be major contributors, but I think Markkanen is the kind of player we’ve rarely seen in college basketball, and he will be a nightmare for just about every team Arizona faces this year. Finnish Freak, all day, every day for me.
@azdesertswarm there's been a few un expected commits in the 2017 class so far, if we got one or two more who do you think it would be?— Andreas flores (@Andreasflores12) August 2, 2016
I totally rely on Gabe for all of my football recruiting knowledge, so I’ll just stick with what he says. If I have to pick just two players, it would be former UCLA commit Hunter Echols, and five-star receiver Joseph Lewis. But there will be more than two more commits for this particular class.
Thanks for the questions everyone and remember to send yours in for next week’s edition!