As Arizona gets ready for its matchup against Connecticut in the Elite 8 with a chance at a Final Four on the line, Wildcat fans are reminded of the long standing tradition that allows Arizona to be back in this position once again. Arizona has made themselves comfortable making deep tournament runs and being in the Elite 8 is no different.
The last time Arizona was in the Elite 8 left a bad taste in the mouth of Arizona fans everywhere, following a 90-89 loss to the Illini and one of the starters on that team could not believed what had happened. Mustafa Shakur was a part of a talented Arizona team that season that let one slip away.
But the Arizona family is always talked about and Shakur, now a member of the Washington Wizards, says that the way that the Wildcats are playing now is making him more proud than ever.
WildcatAuthority.com: How would you describe the run that Arizona is making in the tournament?
Mustafa Shakur: Right now it is just pure excitement. The last time we were in the Elite 8 I was a sophomore but I think in some ways we had some more talent than those guys overall. However, they might be a better team than us, the way they really share the ball, the way their offense is, just excitement.
WildcatAuthority.com: While watching the game, how did it feel to watch Arizona handle Duke like that?
Mustafa Shakur: I felt proud. The history with Duke, us losing to them in the championship in 2001 and there are other things behind it being a player.
WildcatAuthority.com: Do you still keep in contact with anyone on the current team?
Mustafa Shakur: I talked to Jamelle Horne here and there and the guys that I know but it is a little bit different.
WildcatAuthority.com: People remember the last time Arizona was in the Elite 8 was against Illinois, talk about that game and what you remember?
Mustafa Shakur: One thing that I liked that they did that night was they had the lead but they kept being aggressive. What we did was that we ran a little bit of a slow down and tried to milk the clock and that did not work in our favor. What did work in their favor was being aggressive and that was a great thing. It kind of reminded me of that game and I said ‘whoa, these guys have to be aggressive against this team' and that's what's they did.
WildcatAuthority.com: How do you think Arizona will fare in its Elite 8 matchup on Saturday?
Mustafa Shakur: I think it's a win. I think we have to key in on the big dog (Kemba Walker) from UConn and everyone knows who that is. If we do that well then I think it will be a pretty good win for us by 11. I went with seven last game and I was off so I'm going to say 11 this time.
Five Questions with Mustafa Shakur
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