A - Alyssa Palomino
Alyssa Palomino won her first All Pac-12 First Team Award this past year for Arizona softball after being third the Pac-12 in home runs (18) and slugging percentage (.784). She battled back from two injuries last year and is making a name for herself in the Pac-12.
B - Basketball
Ask any Arizona Wildcat fan and they’ll tell you that it’s all about basketball in the desert. The Wildcats have one national championship that they won back in 1997 and haven’t been to the Final Four since 2001. Arizona fans are hungry for another Final Four and national championship.
C - Candrea
Candrea, as in Mike Candrea. The Arizona softball coach has been at the helm for 33 years now. He has a 1,547-397-2 record and has eight national championships. He has taken the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament for the last 32 years in a row, which is the longest streak in softball history.
D - Devils
Whether ASU comes down to Tucson or the Wildcats travel up to Tempe, you can always expect a close game. It’s one of the most intense rivalries in the country, with fans on both sides who just down right don’t like each other. The Territorial Cup trophy is the oldest rivalry trophy in the country and is given to the winner of the annual football game. ASU currently has the trophy in Tempe after beating the Wildcats last November.
E - Elliott
Bob and Sean Elliott were two Arizona basketball players at two very different times in Arizona sports history. Bob Elliott was from Michigan and played from 1973-77. He set the record for most points in an Arizona basketball career with 2,131. Sean Elliott played at Cholla High School in Tucson and then played at the University of Arizona from 1985-89. He helped take Arizona to their first Final Four in 1988 and broke Lew Alcindor’s (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) points record in the Pac-12.
F - Fred Snowden
Fred “The Fox” Snowden was the Arizona basketball head coach from 1972-82 and was the first African American basketball coach at a major university. He got Bob Elliott to come to Tucson and got Arizona men’s basketball started.
G - Geist
Jordan Geist was the first freshman to win the Pac-12 shotput and discus championships this past year. He had a throw of 20.06 meters in the shotput and 57.56 meters in discus. He’s only a freshman and will be a force to watch in future track and field events.
H - Hoffman
Trevor Hoffman played baseball at Arizona from 1988-89 as a shortstop. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1993 and eventually was traded to the San Diego Padres. While with the Padres, he was switched to a closer and had one of the best careers of all time. Hoffman finished with 601 career saves, which ranks second all-time behind Mariano Rivera. He was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame earlier this year.
I - International
Athletics at Arizona have a big history of recruiting overseas. Looking at any sport at Arizona, there are athletes that come from across the world. Whether it’s from the Bahamas, Canada, Finland, or islands in the Pacific, these athletes usually come in and really make a name for themselves in an Arizona uniform.
J - Jay Johnson
Jay Johnson has been the Arizona baseball coach since 2015 and has had a run of success with the ‘Cats. He took the team to Omaha in his first year but ultimately lost in the championship. In his first three years at Arizona he hasn’t had the big name recruits yet like other powerhouse schools, but that should change this upcoming year, as he’ll be in his fourth season and has been talking to recruits for a couple years now.
K - Kevin Sumlin
Kevin Sumlin is the new football coach for this upcoming year. After Rich Rodriguez was let go in January, Sumlin became one of Arizona’s top targets and Dave Heeke was soon able to land the former Texas A&M coach. Sumlin comes to town with high expectations and will look to have an immediate impact on a football team that has the tools to make noise in the Pac-12.
L - Lute Olson
Lute Olson is a household name when it comes to Arizona men’s basketball. The former head coach built the program into the national powerhouse it is now. He led the Wildcats to their first Final Four and won the program’s only NCAA Championship back in 1997. Arizona also built a statue of Olson and unveiled it outside the McKale Center in April.
M - My-King Johnson
After redshirting his first year, My-King Johnson will make his debut on the football field for Arizona. He made NCAA history before the start of last season by becoming the first openly gay football player on scholarship. The whole Arizona team and community has been looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field this upcoming season.
N - Nick Foles
Nick Foles was the Arizona quarterback from 2009-2011. He finished his three years at Arizona with 10,011 passing yards and led Arizona to the Alamo Bowl in 2010. Last year he led the Philadelphia Eagles on a magical playoff run and eventually beat the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. He was also named the Super Bowl MVP.
O - Offense
Arizona football had a dynamic offense in 2017 and is expected to have more of the same this year. Khalil Tate was the most exciting player in college football last year. He won four straight Pac-12 player of the week honors during October. He can do it all from running the ball to throwing downfield and making important decisions. J.J. Taylor will lead an explosive Arizona backfield that looks to continue to be one of the best in the Pac-12. Wide receiver Shun Brown will be part of a receiving core hoping to catch touchdown passes from Tate.
P - Postseason
2017 was a successful year for Arizona Athletics. Basketball, football, softball, soccer and hockey (even though it’s a club sport) all made postseason appearances. Next year should see similar success based on recruits coming in and new coaches.
Q - Quarterbacks
After Khalil Tate, the quarterback situation goes as follows: K’hari Lane, Rhett Rodriguez and then Andrew Tovar. Tovar and Lane are both redshirt freshman while Rodriguez is a sophomore. Lane is an interesting story. He had great success at a small high school in Georgia but was overlooked by every other college besides Grambling State. When he got offered by Arizona, he signed and came to Tucson. He redshirted last season and is now available for the 2018 season.
R - Rose Bowl
Arizona has never been to the Rose Bowl, but this year with Khalil Tate, Kevin Sumlin and an impressive defense that will returns most of its starters, there might not be a better chance. USC and UCLA are expected to have down years and the Rose Bowl isn’t one of the games for the College Football Playoff. Could this be the year for Arizona football?
S - Sean Miller
Sean Miller is the current basketball coach. This past year, he has been caught up in FBI investigations involving a pay-for-play scheme. As a result, Miller’s recruiting took a hit and ever since the end of the basketball season he’s been scrambling to get transfers and whoever else he can find. Despite this challenge, Miller has managed to haul in a top-25 recruiting class. While most people are expecting a down year for the team, don’t be shocked to see this team compete for another Pac-12 conference title.
T - Tate
After putting up video game numbers last season under center for Arizona football, Khalil Tate will be looking to prove that last season wasn’t a hoax. Many people are expecting Arizona as one of the favorites in the Pac-12 South this season, and that’s because of the quarterback. Tate is already at 9/1 odds to win the Heisman.
U - Underrated athlete
Whether it’s because Arizona baseball is having a disappointing year or because he gets overshadowed by other big name players on the team, sophomore Nick Quintana is one of the best third baseman in the conference. He has a .291 BA with 12 home runs and has a sure glove hand with a laser arm.
V - Volleyball
2017 was the first time in 10 years that the Arizona volleyball team finished below a .500 record. In those past 10 years alone, Arizona volleyball has a strong conference contender, consistently ranked and always competing with the top schools in the country.
W - Wildcats
Arizona got the name “Wildcats” back in 1914 after it played Occidental College in a football game that it ultimately lost. After the game, a Los Angeles Times columnist wrote, “They showed the fight of Wildcats,” and the name stuck.
X - X Factor
Arizona football has a rich tradition of having strong place kickers, but the last couple of seasons have been nothing special. That should all change this year. Lucas Havrisik came to Arizona last year as a five-star kicker. He didn’t see too much action last year but when he did come in, he nailed 50-plus yard field goals and was almost always reliable to get a touchback on kickoffs. He could be the x-factor Arizona needs if it wants to make a run in the Pac-12 South.
Y - Youth
2018 is supposed to be a rebuilding year for Arizona basketball. The entire starting five from last year either graduated or left for the NBA draft. This year, the team is going to be made up of transfers who have never played together, sophomores who didn’t see much court time last season and a couple of new recruits. Most of the players who will see playing time will be either 18 or 19 years old and they’ll be going against some of the best teams in the country with Oregon, UCLA and other teams from the Pac-12 expected to have a good season.
Z - ZonaZoo
ZonaZoo is the student section at Arizona. In 2015 and 2018 they won the NCSSA Loud and Proud award for best student section in the country. They have a section close to the field for football and close to the court for basketball. They’re the best seats in the stadium, where every student should be on game day.
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