Schu Strings: Who's the man late?

Arizona remains a basketball team with issues to address, but as the season winds down yet another question looms. In crunch time, who gets the ball? The UA probably has three legitimate options, all with areas of uncertainty.

At some point during Arizona's eventual stay in the NCAA Tournament, it will endure a key possession on the offensive end of the floor. It's the nature of Big Dance. Unless you win your games by blowouts or get bounced early in a similar fashion, there comes a time where a possession late in the game could act as the determining factor between survival and elimination.

The UA is a high-scoring basketball team, and that suggests that any number of weapons could be available in a given big-basket situation. Six players could be candidates, given their on-court time in potential clutch moments. So let's eliminate the three it won't be off the top.

Channing Frye: Inside players are generally not go-to simply because they need someone to get them the ball. That's not saying Frye can't be the benefactor of somebody else's creation, but the likelihood of Arizona running a play specifically designed for Frye probably isn't very strong. If open, Frye is a candidate to hit the big shot, but again, someone will have to give him the ball, by drawing the defense, to make that happen.

Hassan Adams: As a wing player, Adams should be in a position to act as an option. However, his points have come almost exclusively from set-up jumpers, breakaway buckets and offensive rebounds. Adams has yet to show he can beat someone off the dribble and get a good look on the move, and that's a critical facet in the clutch equation.

Chris Rodgers: Rodgers has struggled more in Arizona's offensive flow than any of the team's big-minute players. He has a tendency to hold on to the ball too long in possessions, and when he takes it to the hole, the result is generally an off-balance, ill-advised effort.

So that leaves three real possibilities.

Mustafa Shakur: As a freshman, Shakur appears to understand the nuances of the game better than anyone else on the team, but he seems better equipped at this stage of his career to excel when Arizona is on the break. There have been times where Shakur has canned some key shots, and he is certainly an option, but if covered, he must be able to find the right guy, in the right place, to give that player the best possibility for success. Shakur could be in line to hit some big buckets before the smoke clears, but it doesn't appear he's yet developed the outside shot that Mike Bibby had at this stage in his career.

Salim Stoudamire: Arizona assistant coach Rodney Tention says Stoudamire is the man he wants taking these shots. Stoudamire has two advantages. First, his amazing range. He's also shown the ability to drain the fade-away and get into the lane on penetration. But the drawback occurred in the loss at Stanford. Stoudamire can break down a number of opponents one-on-one, but when double covered he has a hard time passing to an open man. His two-man game works best with Frye, but sometimes he seems myopic in his desire to involve the junior center. He is a great option, but probably better suited for the role if someone gives him the ball after forcing the defense to commit.

And that someone should be Andre Iguodala. The Pac-10's triple-double leader has many of the qualities necessary to be successful in this critical role. He's a good ball-handler who can move a defender into position for a high-percentage look. Additionally, he's a superb passer, so if the opposition double-teams, Iguodala can see the floor well enough to find an open man. He has some of the rudimentary gifts that made Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant so deadly in late-game situations, but there's one weakness. He's a marginal jump shooter, so teams could conceivably play off just a bit and make Iguodala prove he can bury the rock, thus limiting passing options.

Still, while not the perfect scenario, when the game is on the line, it is Iguodala who should control the flow. He is best suited for enhancing Arizona's odds in crunch time.

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