Men's Basketball Game Notes

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Nov. 12, 2003

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2003
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: None

Game Data: For the first time since March 29, Arizona faces outside competition, as the club opens the 2003-04 exhibition schedule Thursday against the Sydney Comets ... Eight lettermen return from last season's 28-4 club that won the Pac-10 championship and advanced to the NCAA West Regional final ... The 2003-04 edition of the Wildcats may not be overly deep, but they are a talented and versatile bunch ... The Wildcats have one exhibition game remaining (Nov. 20 vs. Team Nike) before it opens the regular season against Northern Arizona on Nov. 24.

The Rankings: Arizona opens the 2003-04 season ranked No. 4 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. With its No. 4 ranking to start the season, it marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that Arizona will open a year ranked in the nation's top 10. UA has been ranked in 270 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 21st season at Arizona and his 31st overall as a college head coach with a career record of 691-239 (.743) and 499-147 (.772) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the second-most Pac-10 wins (279) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.784/279-77) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 20-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 19 years, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four ... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times (1986, '88, '89, '93, '94, '98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & '81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 16 years (429-101/.809) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 46 NBA Draft picks, including 27 at Arizona - 20 alone since 1990 ... He's led UA to 16 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 25 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 294-30 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 222 of its last 237 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner.

Last Time Out: Andre Iguodala scored a game-high 32 points and added 17 rebounds to lead his Blue team to a 99-93 win over the Red in the annual Pepsi Red-Blue Scrimmage on Nov. 5. Iguodala hit 14-of-25 shots from the floor, including a dunk with 4:05 remaining that broke a 90-90 tie and gave the Blue the lead for good. He was joined in double figures by Isaiah Fox (30 points), Matt Brase (15) and Mustafa Shakur (14). Channing Frye led the Red squad with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

Scouting Sydney: Tonight's game is the second of a four-game tour of U.S. colleges by the Sydney Comets, a second-division Australian professional team. The Comets lost the opening game of the tour, 74-60, to Saint Mary's on Tuesday. Sydney shot 42.6 percent from the floor (26-of-61), including 2-of-10 from three-point range, and was outrebounded, 45-34. David Barlow led all scorers with 22 points (8-of-16 FGs), while teammate Darnell Harris grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Following tonight's game, the Comets play at Utah tomorrow and at Oregon State on Nov. 16.

Feel the Burn: Much has been made of Arizona's perceived lack of depth, but it certainly won't hurt the playing time. The 11 players on the roster (not counting the two managers who suited up) averaged 35.7 minutes in last week's scrimmage with five players logging 40 minutes. The minutes will obviously decline a bit now that outside competition is on the other bench, but there will be plenty of minutes to go around.

A Nice Start: Sophomore Andre Iguodala put forth a nice effort in last Wednesday's scrimmage, finishing with 32 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three steals. The Springfield, Ill., product is arguably Arizona's best all-around player and displayed an improved shooting touch, hitting 14-of-25 attempts from the field. By comparison, Iguodala shot 38.1 percent from the floor last season.

More Good Signs: Last Wednesday, the teams combined to shoot 52.5 percent from the field (84-of-160) to go with positive asist:turnovers for both squads (25:16 for the Blue, 22:14 for the Red). Even the rebounding was even at 38. More than half of the total field goals (84) in the scrimmage came courtesy of an assist (47).

Doubling Up: In addition to Andre Iguodala's efforts, junior Channing Frye and freshman Kirk Walters also collected double-doubles. Frye finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds to go with four assists, while Walters tallied 22 points (9-of-13 shooting), 10 rebounds (five offensive) and two assists.

Breaking Out: Junior Isaiah Fox made his presence felt in a hurry last Wednesday, as he scored 16 of his 30 points in the first half. He hit 8-of-12 shots from the floor. At one points during the half, Fox scored eight consecutive points. The 6-foot-9 forward from Santa Monica, Calif., finished the contest 15-of-21 from the field.

Settling In: Freshman Mustafa Shakur was nothing if not steady in his first appearance in an Arizona uniform. The 6-foot-3 point guard from Philadelphia tallied 14 points, six boards, a game-high nine assists and a steal in 40 minutes of action.

Quiet Contributions: In a game where eight players finished in double figures, including five with 20 or more, it could be easy to overlook solid efforts by a pair of first-year players. Junior Matt Brase displayed a knack for finding the open man by passing out five assists to go with his 15 points and six rebounds. Additionally, freshman Beau Muhlbach tallied eight points, four rebounds, six assists and a block in his appearance. Best of all the duo combined for just two turnovers in 65 minutes played.

Talent Pool: With the 2003-04 NBA season underway, no fewer than 10 former Wildcats are on active NBA rosters. Only two other schools (Kentucky and North Carolina with 12) have more players in the league. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Ben Davis, Houston Rockets; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Chris Mills, Boston Celtics; Sean Rooks, New Orleans Hornets; Damon Stoudamire, Portland TrailBlazers; Jason Terry, Atlanta Hawks; Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers; and Loren Woods, Miami Heat.

That's Production: Bolstered by Arizona's 10 NBA products, the Pac-10 has a total of 41 players on NBA rosters. Only the Atlantic Coast Conference's 51 players tops the Pac-10 in terms of professional player production.

Behind the Mike and on the bench as Well: Four ex-Wildcats also figure prominently in network coverage of the NBA as Sean Elliott, Tom Tolbert (ESPN) and Steve Kerr (TNT) serve as analysts, while former UA assistant Kevin O'Neil is in his first year as head coach of the Toronto Raptors.

Up Next: Arizona closes the exhibition schedule on Thursday, Nov. 20, as the squad hosts Team Nike. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and will be televised on Fox Sports Net Arizona.

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