2008 Arizona Wildcats Basketball Preview
Last season, the Arizona Wildcats (19-15 overall 8-10 Pac-10) finished seventh in their conference, going to the NCAA Tournament for the 24th year straight. But as they had done in 2007, they were one and done in the 2008 tourney. This season it looks like the Cats could once again make it to the Big Dance and, once again, be out early.
Junior power forward Jordan Hill (29.4 MPG, 13.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 62.0 FG%, 68.3 FT%) is a versatile performer with a keen shot and a fine inside game. His major problem is his inability to stay out of foul trouble. When he gets into trouble, there’s no one to replace him. Six-foot-eleven freshman center Jeff Withey will start immediately, using his rebounding ability and defensive chops in the paint. Forward Jamele Horne (15.3 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 43.7 FG%, 72.2 FT%) will move between small and power forward. The frontcourt bench is thin.
Junior guard/forward Chase Budinger (35.3 MPG, 17.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 44.6 FG%, 71.8 FT%) offers fine accuracy and toughness. Junior Nic Wise (29.4 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 4.4 APG, 45.1 FG%, 76.8 FT%) has an excellent three-point shot and lots of experience. Look for him to play a large amount of minutes. Three freshmen recruits, none of whom are outstanding, will get playing time. Kyle Fogg, Garland Judkins and Brandon Lavender are all works-in-progress but will contribute and, hopefully, develop.
In 1983, head coach Lute Olson took over at Arizona. Since that
time, he has won 39 NCAA Tournament games. With guard Jerryd Bayless
(19.7 PPG, 4.0 APG) gone to the NBA plus the decision of top recruit
Brandon Jennings to play in Europe, the Cats will have a tough time
contending for the title or going deep into the tournament. This
team could place anywhere from third to sixth in the conference.
Hill and Budinger will carry this team as far as it can go, and
they may get tired doing so.