Former Arizona basketball star Bob Elliott to discuss new book
A former Wildcat basketball great, now an accountant and author, will be speaking at the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend.
Bob Elliott played for Arizona from 1973-77 and will give an hour-long talk about his new book, “Tucson a Basketball Town” on Sunday at 1 p.m. in room 130 of the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center.
Elliott, along with local sportswriter Steve Rivera, will be discussing the book and the rise of UA hoops in Tucson with former Wildcats associate head coach Jim Rosborough.
At Arizona, Elliott was a three-time athletic and academic All-American and averaged 18.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game combined in his four-year college career. After being chosen in the second round as the 42nd overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, he played three seasons with New Jersey from 1978-81.
Today, he works as an accountant for his firm, the Robert A. Elliott Accounting Group. The Daily Wildcat spoke with Elliott about Arizona basketball heading into March Madness.
Daily Wildcat: It was played at noon on a day at the office for you, so watching Arizona’s 71-39 domination over Utah on Thursday was obviously tough. But from what you were able to see, what impressed you most about the Wildcats?
Elliott: I was very impressed with their performance; they were hitting all cylinders. You could see that they understood what they needed to do and they were having fun doing it.
DW: The UA has a lot of doubters heading into the NCAA Tournament because it lost Brandon Ashley earlier in the season. Based off of your prior experience as a player, how much will losing a key starter like that affect a team’s chances of winning it all?
One of the things they’ve had all year long is chemistry, and so they had to figure out how to replace an important person like Brandon. You have to keep the chemistry going, and I think they’ve found it now.
DW: Your new book is mainly about what Arizona basketball was roughly four decades ago. What ultimately made you want to do a project like this?
The reason for the book is to bring out an era of basketball that I don’t think has been talked about as much as it should. It talks about Arizona becoming a basketball school, Tucson becoming a basketball town and the process of how that evolved. … I get this one comment from people all the time [as feedback from the book]: “I didn’t know that.”
DW: What’s the most exciting part about having this book published for you, personally? Are there any butterflies you have speaking about it in public?
As for writing the book, it’s a whole new adventure. I’ve never done anything like this. I have taught classes at the university before, so I’m hoping this is more of an interactive session and not a lecture; that’s not my style. I’ll have what they call my own one-hour Oprah moment.
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo