Former Arizona men's basketball stars Richard Jefferson and Miles Simon steal show as hosts at CATSYS

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Amorah Tate | The Daily Wildcat Khalil Tate accepts his award for Sophomore Mae Athlete of the year during the 2018 Catsys Awards on Monday April 16 at the McKale Memorial Center. Hosting the show were Richard Jefferson, left, Chris McGee, middle, and Miles Simon, right.

Arizona men’s basketball legends Richard Jefferson and Miles Simon stole the show in front of a crowd in Tucson once again as they hosted the annual CATSYS which was held in the McKale Center on April 16. 

The duo spent an hour or so entertaining student-athletes, but the real entertainment they provided was caught while they were on the red carpet beforehand, reminiscing about past stories and sharing their best Lute Olson and Luke Walton stories.

“There’s a lot of people who have contributed to the success of this university," Jefferson said. "The notoriety of all sports, I’ll never just put it on men’s basketball, but from a national standpoint, he (Olson) kind of put Tucson on a map. He made kids from all over the country want to come to Tucson."

Jefferson also spoke about what attracted him to UA and mentioned his Phoenix roots as well as Olson's presence. 

"It was easy for me as a kid from Phoenix, but for Miles that could’ve gone to UCLA … with all of the history they have there with John Wooden. For guys to turn those things down to come play here at this university, it was (Olson)," Jefferson said.

Simon, on the other hand, shared about his current role as an assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers, serving under former Wildcat Luke Walton.

“Tremendous, great learning experience. Working for Luke was unbelievable," Simon said. "What a great basketball mind that he is and for me, I was a Lakers fan growing up since I’ve been 8, 9 years old. My boss is literally my idol, Magic Johnson. It was a tremendous experience, we have a great, young team with Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball who are all so fun to be around, but it was the best experience I could’ve asked for."

Jefferson also shared about his turbulent year in the NBA, sharing in a very emphatic and sarcastic tone that made everyone at ease.

“My year? Eventful. I get waived for peanut butter and jelly, I got traded for that, that was awesome," Jefferson said. "If you guys are unfamiliar with that, that’s LeBron’s bromance (with Dwayne Wade) and it worked out really well for them. What are they, the four seed? Wow. Squeaked in there, nobody will see them coming. At the end of the day, if you’re fortunate to have a job to be playing in this league, you’re just happy to be playing."

The candid and personable duo carried their easy-going demeanor right onto the stage, as the loose Jefferson, known to give a donation from time to time, decided to donate $1,000 every time a cuss word happened to slip out of his mouth. Let’s just say the University of Arizona is a duffle bag richer as Richardson kept the students cracking up all night with his brutally honest humor and ability to recall personal stories of his own escapades in Tucson. 

Simon was what he always has been throughout his entire playing career, which was to be the rock in which other people relied on. Simon was able to stand out by being himself, chipping in whenever necessary, and shining when he did. 

Jefferson and Simon were never able to line up together on the McKale court in Arizona jersey’s, but the dynamic duo performed like they have been doing it for years.


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