2005 Arizona Wildcats Basketball Preview
2005 Arizona Wildcats Team Preview
Arizona was at the top of the PAC-10 heap last year with a 15-3 conference record. Two of the reasons for their stellar season are now on NBA teams—center Channing Frye and guard Salim Stoudamire. Many experts viewed them as the best backcourt-frontcourt tandem in all of college basketball. It’s not just a question of how to you make up for their combined average of 34.2 PPG or Frye’s 7.6 RPG and Stoudamire’s 50.4 FG%, 91 FT% and 50.4 3PT%? Although that is a darn good, if not long, question. It’s also how do you find two players who worked so well together, making each better and stronger on the court?
Coach Lute Olson (549-164 in 22 years at Arizona) may have some answers. First there are the returning players—11 total! Then there’s the fact that forward Hassan Adams is one of those returning players. Could Adams have gone to the NBA too? “Probably,” is the answer, but he wanted to come back for his senior year to work on specific skills that will make him an even better pro prospect. That’s a gift these days, for a college team to actually have a star player return to work hard to improve even more.
The guy has intensity, drive, and athleticism allowing Adams to shoot from inside or run the lane and jam in a massive dunk. He’s looking to improve as a ball handler and create a consistent outside shot—both are weapons Olson can certainly exploit.
At guard senior Chris Rodgers is looking to have a breakout year. Although Rodgers possesses fine defensive skills, athleticism, and size, he’s spent his entire collegiate career as a back up and his final season at Arizona may be no different. Sophomore Jawann McClellan, who was the club’s sixth man in his first year, has a knockdown shot. He may be the choice of Olson, a coach who is concerned about defense but even more focused on shooting.
Forward Ivan Radenovic has a fine, unstoppable shot from the perimeter and offers some smarts and athleticism at forward, a problematic position for the Wildcats. Isaiah Fox, who was benched last season, possesses the talent and size to command the frontcourt. But Fox has spent his college career being an unmotivated underachiever and it’s unclear if he has any desire to change.
Despite a big question mark at forward, Arizona has the potential to take first place in their conference and go well into the March Tourney. Coach Olson expects nothing less from his team.
For more info on the 2005 Wildcats check out the official Arizona athletic site.