Arizona Wildcats basketball season kicks off with Red-Blue Game
The Arizona men’s basketball program will hold its annual McDonald’s Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage this Saturday at 3 p.m. This event is the official prelude to the 2013-2014 season, which begins Oct. 28 with an exhibition game against Augustana.
This marks the third consecutive year the event has sold out, and this year fans will also be able to watch online, with a webcast streaming live at Pac-12.com with commentary by IMG Sports Network’s Brian Jeffries and Matt Muehlebach. Head coach Sean Miller said that due to the intense demand for tickets to this year’s Red-Blue Game, he felt that a webcast of the event would be a nice gesture to the members of the program’s fan base who are unable to attend.
For this weekend’s festivities, a crowd of 14,545 Wildcat fans will be able to enter McKale Center at 1 p.m., and enjoy the DRC Wheelchair Basketball Exhibition, beginning at 1:45 p.m. with the dunk contest and a scrimmage following at 3 p.m.
The return of the basketball season also means the return of ZonaZoo, and players like junior forward Matt Korcheck are excited for the student section to go wild.
“Keep it coming — [the Zoo has] always done a great job,” Korcheck said. “They bring a lot of enthusiasm to every game, and it makes it that much easier to come out with strong energy.”
Saturday’s celebration will also honor the 20th anniversary of Arizona’s 1994 Final Four team. Many Wildcat greats from the team, including assistant coach Damon Stoudamire and undergraduate assistant coach Joseph Blair, will be in attendance. Additional members of the 1994 squad who have confirmed their attendance include Andy Brown, Kevin Flanagan, Jarvis Kelley, Joe McLean, Dylan Rigdon, Jason Richey and Corey Williams. The former Wildcats in attendance will judge this year’s slam dunk contest and will be recognized prior to the game and again during halftime.
During last year’s dunk contest, Gabe York windmilled over his coach to take the title. This year, York will be pitted against brothers Nick and Chris Johnson and freshman Aaron Gordon in the contest.
Fans will get to see Arizona’s No. 5-ranked recruiting class in action for the first time, headlined by forwards Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and guard Elliott Pitts. They will also get to check out their favorite veteran Wildcats as Arizona returns seven players and three starters from last year’s squad, which went 27-8 before falling to Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen.
In addition to expressing his gratitude for the immense support for the game, as it sold out nearly a month in advance, Miller said that this weekend serves as an opportunity for recruits to see the UA’s beautiful city, campus and home court atmosphere simultaneously.
Members of next year’s class are expected to be in attendance, including recruits Stanley Johnson and Derryck Thornton Jr. as well as commits Craig Victor and Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
— Megan Coghlan contributed reporting to this article
— Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17