From Classroom to Basketball Court

Jason Ranne is attending the University of Arizona on an academic scholarship - a double major in Political Science and Economics, a GPA of 3.6. Yet it's somewhat surprising Ranne isn't an athlete first and a student sometime later.

As a walk-on with the UA Basketball team, Ranne has a unique role as a Wildcat.

"I really enjoy the position I'm in," Ranne said. "Even as a freshman, 16th on the bench, people would yell my name."

Air Force, Baylor, and Colorado recruited Ranne. Before leaving New Mexico, Dave Bliss had been recruiting Ranne as well. When Bliss went to Baylor, he offered Ranne a scholarship to play basketball but Ranne didn't go to Baylor, he became a Wildcat.

Arizona was high on Ranne's list for a number of reasons. Both of his parents attended the UA. His dad played first base for the Wildcat baseball team in the 70s. His grandparents still live in Tucson, and the Ranne family visited Old Pueblo often.

The journey to becoming a Wildcat began when Ranne met UA assistant coach Jim Rosborough in Florida.

"I played a lot of basketball my junior and senior years in high school," Ranne said. "I flew to Tucson in October of my senior year, and Coach (Rosborough) said I could walk on."

Ranne was excited to be a Wildcat and his first step onto McKale Center left a lasting impression.

"It was a little nerve wracking, really nerve wracking," Ranne said. " I'd never been in front of 14,000 people before."

While playing mostly on the scout team, Ranne learned a lot during his first season.

"I've learned that a guy has to go full speed while on the court," he said. "Offense doesn't make up for defense. Coach Olson has taught me to take care of business, be punctual."

As a first-year walk-on, the trip through the NCAA tournament was an awesome experience for Ranne. He said that when he walked onto the court a few hours before the NCAA championship game, it was really inspiring. It made him want to come back every year!

"The scout team had tee shirts made for the Final Four," Ranne said. "They said, 'No Comment' and that was for the press. The press never wanted to interview (the scout team players). It was a big joke for us."

During the recent pickup games, Ranne has had his opportunity to evaluate this year's team. He says with only 11 guys on the team it's bringing everyone closer together, but a lot of players will be competing for spots. He also noted this year's team is very explosive and will surprise the pollsters.

"Right now, (according the pre-season polls) we are really underrated," Ranne said "But that will change."

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