No time for an offseason
The majority of Arizona athletic events take place during the school year, but that doesn’t mean summer lacks intrigue. From Stanley Johnson winning FIBA MVP honors to Tra’Mayne Bondurant rejoining the football team to Kevin Newman making Cape Cod Baseball League history, here is a recap of major UA athletic news from over the summer.
Stan the Man
Freshman forward Stanley Johnson came to Arizona as one of the most highly touted recruits in the class of 2014 and added to his accolades by winning MVP honors in June.
Johnson, a member of the 2014 USA Men’s U-18 National team, helped Team USA secure a 113-79 victory over Canada in the gold-medal game.
Arizona sophomore infielder Kevin Newman (2) hits a base hit during Arizona's 6-5 win against UCLA at Hi Corbett Field on April 13. Newman made Cape Cod Baseball League history by leading the league in batting average for two consecutive seasons.
The 6-foot-7 forward averaged a team-high 14 points per game in just 16 minutes per game en route to being named MVP of the tournament.
“It’s a team honor, really,” Johnson said in a Team USA press release. “Anybody on the team could have gotten it; what’s more important is winning the gold medal and all of us playing hard to get it.”
The gold medal was Johnson’s third FIBA gold medal of his young career, as he also was a member of the 2012 FIBA U-17 World Championship and 2011 FIBA Americas U-16 Championship teams.
Tra’Mayne Bondurant rejoins football team
As fall football camp began, Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez informed the media that, due to disciplinary reasons, senior safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant was no longer a part of the team.
Rodriguez said that he had not yet talked to Bondurant, but there was a possibility for him to rejoin the team if he did everything he needed to do.
Bondurant rejoined the team shortly after and has since been practicing with the team and will be available to play in the Aug. 29 season opener against UNLV.
“He may play, but he’s just now getting reps … and so he will not start on any unit,” Rodriguez said. “He’s worked his way back to at least get an opportunity to play.”
Bondurant finished last season with 72 tackles and a team-leading four interceptions.
Newman makes CCBL history
Arizona sophomore infielder Kevin Newman made Cape Cod Baseball League history by becoming the first person to ever lead the league in batting average for two consecutive seasons.
“That’s quite an accomplishment,” Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez said. “Obviously, we’re very proud of him and happy for him, too. Not only is he a good player, but he’s also a great young man. When you think of all the players who have played in the Cape Cod League — and I’m sure there are probably some Hall of Famers who have played in it — it’s quite an accomplishment to be the first to achieve what he’s done.”
In 2013, Newman hit .375 in his first season in the CCBL and became the first freshman to ever lead the league in batting average. The 6-foot-1 infielder topped that by batting .380 in his second season in the league.
Miller rakes in more high-level recruits
Sean Miller is entering his sixth season as the Arizona men’s basketball head coach and has firmly established himself as one of the best recruiters in the nation. According to ESPN, Miller has secured four straight top-10 recruiting classes from 2011-14.
Miller hit the road again this summer as he looked to make the 2015 class his fifth straight top-10 class. From the onset, it was clear that goal was well in reach.
After five-star guard Justin Simon committed to Arizona in May, Miller added two more five-star recruits in forward Ray Smith and guard Allonzo Trier over the summer.
With three five-star recruits having already committed and several other on Miller’s radar, the 2015 class could be his best ever.
Follow Roberto Payne @HouseofPayne555