A — Aaron Gordon
The Wildcats newest freshman phenomenon, the 6-foot-8 power forward from San Jose, Calif., brings with him immense talent and immeasurable athleticism. While it might be a short stay in Tucson for ESPN’s No. 4 overall recruit in 2013, the high-flying Gordon should produce plenty of unforgettable moments in the upcoming season.
B — Butts, Niya
The women’s basketball coach has quite the job on her hands this season. The Wildcats finished 12-18 and lost guard Davellyn Whyte, who was one of Arizona’s best women’s basketball players ever. Whyte was the second-highest scorer in school history (2,059 points) and was drafted 16th overall in the WNBA draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Butts will be pressured to keep the team afloat.
C — Copper
Last year copper was introduced into the UA color scheme in honor of its important place in the state of Arizona’s history. But the new color wasn’t a one-hit wonder. The football team kept the copper helmet as part of an alternate uniform in 2013 and several other sports adopted the color as well. Copper helmets are here to stay.
D — Denker, B.J.
The spot for Arizona’s signal caller is still up in the air, but senior Denker holds the pole position entering fall camp. Even if the gregarious quarterback loses the starting gig, he’ll still have an important role as backup and a teacher for the Wildcats this season. Oh, and his self-branded nickname is Vanilla Vick — hard to beat that.
E — Estela Piñon
As a junior, Piñon posted a 12-8 record in her first regular season as a Wildcat. She threw eight complete games for Arizona’s softball team and struck out 98 while walking 59 in 116.1 innings pitched. She submitted the lowest earned run average (3.67) and opposing batting average (.234) out of all starters and will be key for Arizona this upcoming season.
F — Fowler, Kenzie
After having microscopic lumbar discectomy surgery last fall to repair a herniated disc in her back, ace softball pitcher Fowler decided to redshirt the 2012-13 season. The two-time NFCA All-American will join Shelby Babcock and Piñon to create a senior-laden rotation next season. Fowler should contribute offensively as well.
G — Gilbert (Trent) and Gibbons (Zach)
After winning the National Championship in 2012, the following baseball season was destined to be a let down. Still, two young hitters, second baseman Trent Gilbert and outfielder Zach Gibbons, developed into reliable options at the plate. The cavernous dimensions at Hi Corbett Field gives Gilbert, Gibbons and the rest of the Arizona offense a nice little boost as well as a fun atmosphere to catch a game.
H — Home Court Advantage
The historic McKale Center has been home to the men and women’s basketball team since 1973 and it packs quite a punch. McKale Center is the second largest stadium in the Pac-12 conference and is expected to receive a major face-lift in the near future. The basketball mecca helped lead the men’s team to a 14-2 record at home last year.
I — International
Ten of the 18 athletes on Arizona men’s and women’s tennis teams are international students from all across the globe. Unfortunately, the abundance of diversity didn’t equal wins as both teams finished below .500 and combined to go 19-28. But fear not tennis lovers, all 18 will return next season and better play is bound to come.
J — James Farris
Starting pitcher Farris, as well as the rest of the staff, didn’t live up to head baseball coach Andy Lopez’s expectations last season. But the rotation will return a lot of talent, including Farris and closer Mathew Troupe. Look for Farris to win the vaunted Friday night starter role.
K — Ka’Deem Carey
Junior Carey had the best season ever for an Arizona running back in 2012, becoming a consensus All-American after leading the nation in rushing (1,929 yards). The sophomore broke several school records, including yards, touchdowns (24) and single-game yardage (366). Of course, his offseason issues dampened the incredible season.
L — Lawi Lalang
The Kenyan cross country and track star has seen nothing but success in his time in Tucson. In his two seasons as a Wildcat, Lalang has been both an MPSF champion in the 3,000-meter race and the Pac-10/12 champion in the 1,500 meter race. In 2012, Lalang was also an NCAA Outdoor All-American in both the 5,000 meter and 1,500 meter races and was an Indoor Champion in the 3,000 meter and 5,000 meter races.
M — Miller, Sean
Arizona men’s basketball head coach led the team to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013 and his savvy recruiting snagged Arizona another top-five recruiting class. Miller remains a popular Tucson celebrity and has a large fan base, even though certain Pac-12 officials don’t appreciate his sideline behavior.
N — North end-zone
Arizona Stadium isn’t a top-tier football complex, but the north end-zone project brought some much needed improvements. In addition to turning the 83-year-old stadium into a bowl, the project also added top-of-the-line locker and weight rooms for the football team.
O — Olson, Lute
As the former Arizona men’s basketball head coach, Olson is like a godfather to the program. During his time in Tucson, Olson turned Arizona into an elite program by reaching four Final Fours and winning a national championship in 1997. Olson retired from coaching in 2008 but still lives in Tucson and can be seen at most Wildcat basketball games.
P — Pac-12 Conference
Arizona was a proud member of the “Conference of Champions” since it was added in 1978 with rival ASU. As of late though, things have turned sour. Tensions rose between the UA athletic department and commissioner Larry Scott over an officiating controversy and the Pac-12 Network is still not available for DirecTV customers.
Q — Quarterbacks
UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said he likes to collect quarterbacks and he has plenty to choose from to replace 2012 starter Matt Scott. Senior B.J. Denker, ex-USC quarterback Jesse Scroggins, and highly-touted true freshman Anu Solomon will battle it out for the starting gig.
R — Rich Rodriguez
After thriving in West Virginia and failing at Michigan, Arizona football head coach Rodriguez led the Wildcats to a surprising 8-5 record and New Mexico bowl victory. This success came in spite of the Wildcats fielding zero 2013 NFL draft picks and an olé defense in Rodriguez’ first season.
S — Swim
Arizona swim remains one of the top programs in the nation, even under the guidance of second-year coach Eric Hansen. Much of that credit goes to junior Kevin Cordes who was named the NCAA Swimmer of the Year as a sophomore and won two individual national championships with record-breaking times in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke.
T — Tarczewski, Kaleb
The 7-footer from Claremont, N.H., returns to the UA as the anchor of the Wildcats’ frontcourt and provides the Wildcats with a huge size advantage in the paint. As a freshman, Tarczewski averaged a team-high 6.1 rebounds and started every game. He’ll be joined by sophomore Brandon Ashley and freshman Aaron Gordon to produce one of the best frontcourts in the nation.
U — Unranked
For the first time in program history Arizona softball fell out of the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 rankings last season. The Wildcats rebounded to make regionals and have a talented pitching staff returning. Head coach Mike Candrea has won eight national championships at the UA and should have Arizona back to being a powerhouse.
V — Volleyball
Athletic Director Greg Byrne announced in January that the UA will add sand volleyball and will officially start competing in spring of 2014. Arizona also features an indoor team that went 16-15 last season and brings back some skillful players, including junior Madi Kingdon.
W — Wilbur and Wilma
Don’t be alarmed if you see a big furry creature wandering around football games in a hat, it’s just Wilbur Wildcat. He and his wife Wilma are the official mascots of Arizona.
X — Xenophobia
If you’re afraid of change or new faces, Arizona basketball is not for you. Miller has brought in Top-10 recruiting classes the past three seasons, but the program has also seen a lot of talent leave as well. After Grant Jerrett declared for the NBA and Angelo Chol decided to transfer to San Diego State, seven players have left as underclassmen during Miller’s four seasons in Tucson.
Y — York, Gabe
Part of the solid freshman class on the men’s basketball team, York averaged 2.4 PPG in his first season. So maybe he just stayed on the bench … but hey, there’s always next year. Also, York and fellow guard Nick Johnson love to jump and will throw down at least a few memorable dunks for the Wildcats.
Z — ZonaZoo
It’s not an Arizona football game unless ZonaZoo has been cut in half by the fourth quater. In fact, the ZonaZoo section for football had shrunk so much by the end of the season that the marching band was moved into the section to make it appear more full. It’s time for that tradition to change.
There are a select few movies that really capture the spirit of the game, the determination, and the passion that goes behind sports. There are ones that make us cry, make us think, or make us want to get out there on the field. The Daily Wildcat sports desk has come together to discuss those movies that encompass our passion for the game, what we dedicate our job to.
Field of Dreams (1989)- Evan Rosenfeld, softball and swimming beat reporter. @EvanRosenfeld17
“This movie is a true classic. You can’t write a movie much better than that.”
Remember the Titans (2000)- Kendra Kautz, gymnastics and track and field beat reporter. @KendraKautz
“How could you not love Denzel Washington? His character is so real and hilarious but intense at the same time. The movie demonstrates how sport is powerful enough to bring people together that are different in so many ways.”
Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)- Megan Coghlan, online sports editor. @MeganCoghlan
“I love this movie not just because I love golf, but by the end of it I find my eyes are welled up and there is a lump in my throat, when I didn’t even know Shia LaBeouf could make me cry.”
Space Jam (1996)- Scarlett McCourt, track and field beat reporter. @scarlettnoelani
“Michael Jordan saves the world from an alien race. Hello, if this doesn’t prove that MJ is the greatest basketball player of all time…I don’t know what does.”
Miracle (2004)- James Kelley, hockey, softball beat reporter. @jameskelley520
“Miracle featured the biggest upset ever and it’s the best sports movie. It captured the lack of confidence in the USA after our losing streaks in the 1970’s and how improbable it was for the American college kids to beat the Soviet professionals in the 1980 Olympics.”
Rudy (1993)- Cameron Moon, sports editor. @MoonCameron20
“The story of Notre Dame’s Rudy Ruettiger is one I admire greatly for his perseverance and the movie just makes you feel good after watching it.”
Hoosiers (1986) -Kyle Johnson, basketball, baseball, and football beat reporter. @KyleJohnsonUA
“While there might be better movies involving sports (The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook for example), when I think of a sports movie Hoosiers immediately comes to mind. High school basketball in Indiana with a main character named Shooter? A true story? Drinking? What more could you ask for?”
Hoop Dreams (1994)- Luke Della, baseball, women’s basketball, and football beat reporter. @LukeDellaDW
“The 1994 documentary does a fantastic job of following the life of two Chicago inner-city boys from middle school till they graduate high school as they chase their dreams. I challenge any current college student, whether they are aware of the social issues that are in poorer communities or not, to watch this documentary and not look at their own situation with a different perspective.”
With a 28-22 record, 5-13 in the Pac-12 and an RPI of 32, Arizona softball is still on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats are 23-9 in non conference games, 18-6 at home, 3-8 on the road and 7-8 in neutral games.
Selection Sunday is on May 12, so Arizona has two series to solidify their resume, hosting ASU (42-7, 13-5) and at Stanford (32-16, 9-9).
The last time the UA missed the big dance was 1986.
Here is how the Wildcats have fared against the April 29 edition of the RPI:
1. Oklahoma LL
3. Florida L
4. LSU L
5. Oregon LLL
6. Nebraska W
8. ASU this week
9. Washington LWL
12. Michigan L
14. Cal LLW
18. UCLA WLL
20. Stanford next week
31. Virginia Tech L
33. Oregon State LLL
44. Notre Dame W
45. Northwestern W
49. SDSU W
54. Ohio State L
57. Long Beach State W
74. Utah WWL
76. NMSU LW
90. Purdue W
94. Drake W
119. Cal Poly W
124. UCSB WW
134. Penn State W
135. Boise State WWW
147. Bradley L
152. Loyola Marymount W
161. Portland State WW
184. Boston WW
210. UC Riverside W
229. S. Utah W
241. Utah State W
The seven rounds came and went — 254 picks, and 11 quarterbacks were chosen.
Former Arizona Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott was not one of them. Widely projected to be drafted anywhere from the second to the third rounds, Scott instead fell all the way out. Reasons for his drop might include size concerns (he is listed generously at 6-foot-2), concussion history (officially, had one last year) and inexperience (one season as a starter).
According to Scott’s Twitter, he will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Frank Scelfo, a former Arizona quarterback coach, holds the same position in Jacksonville.
Scott tweeted: “Headed to Jacksonville!” and “Got a chip on my shoulder I’m coming for someone’s spot #yougonelearntoday #jaguars”.
Other Wildcats considered candidates to be drafted — receiver Dan Buckner, center Kyle Quinn and fullback Taimi Tutogi — didn’t hear their names called either, making this the first draft since 2005 without a single UA selection. It’s also the first draft sans a single Wildcat or ASU player since 1963.
Quinn tweeted that he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, reuniting him with former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles.
Buckner is reportedly in discussions to join the Arizona Cardinals.
In a text message to the Daily Wildcat, Tutogi said, “no word yet” as for his NFL destination.
Arizona softball won national championships in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997 and UCLA pulled out all the stops to prevent five in a row.
From 1991 to 2001, Arizona and UCLA met six times in the national championship, with UA winning four, but officially the Bruins only won one of the other two as there is no national champion for 1995.
UCLA was led to the 1995 national championship by Australian pitcher Tanya Harding, which the New York Times called “U.C.L.A’s Ringer From Down Under.” Harding joined the Bruins in March and dominated.
“Twenty-six games into the season, here comes another player, and a great one at that,” UA head coach Mike Candrea said in a 1995 New York Times story.
Harding won 17 games, including all four of the Bruins’ Women’s College World Series contests and batted over .400. She won the WCWS MVP.
Harding did not earn any credits, arriving in March for UCLA’s spring quarter and leaving in the beginning of June before the quarter ended but after the Women’s College World Series. She took incompletes in all her classes and returned to Australia after winning the title.
“It’s difficult for me to comment,” Candrea said in the New York Times story. “But I have personal feelings. It’s not something I would do.”
Sports Illustrated wondered if Harding knew the full name of UCLA, bothered to buy any books or a notebook during her ten weeks as a Bruin.
UCLA was stripped of the championship, but not because of Harding. The NCAA found that the UCLA softball team had used soccer scholarships on softball players in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
The Bruins had to return the trophy and vacate the 1995 title.
“I am surprised, shocked and disappointed,” UCLA Athletic Director Peter Dalis said in a 1997 Daily Bruin article. “Once we discovered [the violations], [UCLA] took the appropriate action, severe action. For [the NCAA] to add on what was added on is a complete shock.”
UA and UCLA have combined to win 19 national championships. The most recent was in 2010, when the Bruins beat the Wildcats in the championship series.
Manon Gidali of the Arizona women’s golf team has been named the Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Month.
Gidali is a sophomore who comes all the way from Paris, France. She played a big role in bringing the Wildcats to their first win of the spring season at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational on Wednesday, March 13. Gidali won the individual title and is ranked No. 36 by golfweek.com. She scored 71, 70 and 72 in the tournament, making this win her best tournament of the season, totaling a score of 213 (-3).
This is Arizona’s first team member to earn the golfer of the month award this season. Gidali is no stranger to this award, as it is her second time earning it in her career.
• The NCAA Elite Eight men’s basketball round was in full effect this weekend, leaving Ohio State out of the competition after falling to Wichita State 70-66. Syracuse blew away Marquette, putting themselves in position to play Michigan.
• UCLA hires a new head basketball coach, Steve Alford from New Mexico. Since Ben Howland was fired last week after UCLA’s loss to Minnesota, the search for a new head coach has been a rollercoaster.
• Andy Murray defeats David Ferrer in a dramatic tiebreaker at the Sony Open. Murray became the first men’s tennis champion of the Sony Open to save a championship point.
• Oregon men’s basketball may be out of the NCAA Tournament, but it was lead to a Sweet Sixteen appearance this year thanks to head coach Dana Altman. Altman has fit in well with the Oregon mentality and was named Pac-12 coach of the year, making a name for himself.
• Long-time Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant became the No. 4 all-time NBA scorer Saturday, passing Wilt Chamberlain on the list. Bryant now holds 31,421 points to his name.
A good walk-up song is a baseball player’s secret weapon. They spend countless hours over their playing career trying to find that perfect 20-second snippet of a song.
Depending on the player, a walk up song is meant for motivation, relaxation, or intimidation. But whatever it is, baseball players take great pride in it.
“Oh it gets me going,” shortstop Kevin Newman said with a smile about his walk-up song “Till I Collapse” by Eminem. “I listen to it every time I go up to hit.”
Walk-up songs vary depending on the genre of music each player listens to and for the Arizona baseball team it’s pretty diverse. The Wildcats have everything from Brandon Dixon’s “Hillbilly Deluxe” walk-up song to Scott Kingery’s “Mambo Number 5”.
“I love country music,” Dixon said. “[Hillbilly Deluxe] just gets me going and sets a good mood for when I’m batting.”
Walk-up songs are also a form of personal expression for baseball players and are taken seriously throughout all locker rooms.
“A good walk up song is important,“ Newman said. “We’ll tease some of the guys if we think if they have a bad or funny one but it’s a cool way to say a little something about yourself before you go up to bat.”
Here is some of the variety of walk-up songs that is on the UA baseball team:
Johnny Field – “The Stroke” by Billy Squier
Kevin Newman – “Till I Collapse” by Eminem
Brandon Dixon – “Hillbilly Deluxe” by Brooks and Dunn
Trent Gilbert- “Work out” by J. Cole
Riley Moore- “Surfin USA” by The Beach Boys
Joseph Maggi – “It’s Tricky” by RUN DMC
Scott Kingery- “Mambo Number 5” by Lou Bega
• This weekend was full of March Madness excitement, and Arizona learned its Sweet 16 fate Sunday when Ohio State defeated Iowa State on a last-second three pointer. The Wildcats will face Ohio State in the next round of NCAA Tournament play.
• Flagrant fouls have been an issue throughout March Madness, and coaches argue that referees have been inconsistent in their calling of the foul.
• The Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando is put on a hold, as well as Tiger Woods’ fight to retain No. 1 in the world due to heavy storms.
• Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil has agreed to a multiyear contract with the Baltimore Ravens. The agreement is for five seasons and $35 million.
• Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees is not expected to play until April 6 because of his ankle injury. This means he will likely miss opening day.
Senior inside receiver, Terrence Miller, should learn his fate in the next few days of whether or not he will be able to return to the Wildcats in the fall as a redshirt senior.
Miller entered 2012 with plenty of game time experience, but only had a total of 42 receptions for 507 yards to his name. But early into the Rich Rodriguez era it became evident that Miller was a vital role to Arizona’s success before being sidelined with a severe sprained ankle.
“The good thing about Terrence is that he can play multiple positions, “Rodriguez said. “He’s a smart, tough guy and I think he’s going to be one of the real leaders on the team because he was last year [too].”
Miller played the first four games of 2012 before the injury. In those four games the senior had 13 receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Miller though, could never fully recover from the injury and missed the remainder of his senior season.
Expressed by his teammates as an all around good and fun guy, Miller was devastated by the injury and possibility of missing a majority of his final season.
However, due to the injury and its early timing, Miller has filed for a medical redshirt, which the NCAA must rule on in the next few weeks.
“I’m pretty confident,” Miller said about his chances of playing next season. “I’ve gone over the rules with the coaches and I fit the qualifications.”
If he is allowed to play for a fifth season, Miller would bring even more depth to an already deep, veteran receiving group.
If he does return, Rodriguez is not worried about catching up Miller to the new offense that he is less accustomed to.
“Terrence fortunately got enough time and enough reps that he learned what we were doing beforehand,” Rodriguez said. He’s very, very comfortable in everything we do offensively.”
While he waits for the NCAA’s decision, Miller is participating in spring practice and planning as if he will return for a fifth year in Tucson.
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