Schu Strings: Cheap pops, cheap plugs

You might wonder what hardcore professional wrestling and best-selling author Mick Foley has to do with female athletes at the UA. Well, allow me to elaborate.

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You see, aside from making his name by virtue of being tossed from the top of a steel cage, Foley could plug anything at any time, and kiss up to packed houses nationwide. It's the plug part that works here.

As his wrestling career wound down, Foley opted for easy cheers, what he would call the cheap pop. It's like the band that announces the city where it's playing during the concert. Crowd hears its hometown, goes crazy. But in the midst of this cheap pop, Foley would also promote his latest project, generally some sort of book that would ultimately rocket up the New York Times bestseller chart.

And here's where the UA female athletes come in. Note the ad banner on the upper left hand corner of the front page. It's sort of hard to miss Jennie Finch. Yup, that's this month's issue of Cat Tracks, the Magazine, dedicated to Arizona's on-going litany of female sports icons. And note my mention of said issue as the fulcrum of this column.

If I were say, ESPN, I would write the bulk of this column about how women continue to do the UA proud, how they've excelled despite less opportunities or traversed the dangers of being viewed as little more than eye candy. I would then pawn this column off as timely news, not referencing the obvious tie-in with the cover story of the magazine, thus giving it the dual purpose of added publicity within the façade of legitimate coverage.

If I were ESPN, I'd do an online feature on Jennie Finch, then have Dan Patrick interview Annika Sorenstam on ESPN Radio, then cover Arizona's rousing success in female athletics as part of an ESPN TV expose. Coincidentally, just in time for the release for the magazine. Sadly, at Cat Tracks, we don't have quite that many options. And we just aren't as good at making it look like news, when really it's simple cross marketing.

But darn it, we're working on it. As an aside, the issue has features on Finch and softball coach Nancy Evans, not to mention a series of profiles on successful female athletes at Arizona. And Brad Allis' central piece on the perception of athletics is the outstanding cornerstone. Can you be a centerpiece and a cornerstone? Well, if it's written by Brad Allis, apparently so…

…moving on…

…Now that the NBA Draft has run its course, with little to no great surprises in regards to talent connected to Arizona, it brings up a couple thoughts. Dangerous, I know.

Anyway, first, if Luke Walton weren't American, how higher would he have gone? In essence, the Lakers might have landed themselves a mid-first round talent some 20 picks later. Walton is one of two things: a throwback to an era when American players understood fundamentals and the nuances of the game, or an American player with a foreign game. In other words, he understands fundamentals and the nuances of the game. Had Walton played his ball in some one-time Iron Curtain land, he could have been the guy the Suns, or Utah, or Atlanta, or New Jersey, landed. Instead, he's a second-round selection for LA, which is likely better off as a result.

Thankfully, Wildcat recruit Ndudi Ebi was nabbed by Minnesota in the first round. Thankful, because there's next to no chance he'll even begin to entertain thoughts of passing the time with Arizona. Never was a big Ebi fan, as past columns will attest. Didn't like the idea of a guy staying, at most, one year. Didn't like the idea of someone paying a lot more attention on where he'd rather be than taking care of business for his college team. Didn't like the potential for chemistry issues. Certainly didn't like his desire for attention and his tendency to play ridiculous games. Now I don't have to think about Ebi. That may be the best feeling I have from the entire draft experience.

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