The missing ingredient

The tourney nears an end, and life goes on for Arizona after losing in the first round. The loss to Seton Hall ended a disappointing season. Arizona was a team with infinite potential. Of all the starters, at least three will be playing in the NBA. The Wildcats had the talent to win games. However, as Herb Brooks put it, "You think you can win on talent alone…gentleman, you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone."

This is not to say Arizona did not have a lot of talent, but it takes more than talent to win games. Chemistry was the missing ingredient in this team.

Arizona won games in decisive fashion when playing as one. When this team moved without the ball, passed often and played as a team, supporting one another, they could beat any team in the nation. For example, Arizona dominated Texas in Madison Square Garden this season because they played as one.

Many people look to blame the season on one thing. I have done the same. The one thing is chemistry. Teams with chemistry have done amazing things. Arizona in 1997, UCLA in the ‘60s, and who can forget the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey team. When teams have chemistry, they make up for a talent deficiency. When an extremely talented team has chemistry, they are nearly unbeatable.

Arizona lacked chemistry this season. At times players shot before looking for the open man. Against USC, in Las Angeles, the Cats failed to move without the ball, and a bad loss came from it. They seemed to only trust themselves. This was something that happened consistently all year. Every player felt like they could lead the team on any given night. This is true, each and every player in the top six has the talent to lead the team to victory, but no one player was good enough to do it every night. Even Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and from time to time would trust his role players. Frankly, no player on this team is Michael Jordan, not yet.

One has to wonder what could have been if there was more chemistry on the team? While the lack of a post presence was certainly a factor and depth was a concern, in the end it was chemistry that cost the Wildcats a chance to be special.

We have all heard the rumors concerning certain players and their attitudes towards other players. Rumor as about this player sulking, or that player looking ahead to the draft were rampant, especially towards the end of the season. I myself never wanted to believe these rumors. Unfortunately, things have changed. I don't know for sure which rumors were true, which were exaggerated and which were totally false. Sadly, where's there's smoke, there's fire. While no one player caused all of the problems, a number of small incidents added up and eventually eroded the team's bond.

The best thing for this team is to spend as much time together as possible there is no simple solution, but this team needs to bond. Perhaps the answer is having all the players take classes this summer, spend time together, and have everybody help each other. If this occurred, the group could become more tightly knit. Somehow they have to develop a brotherhood, even an "us vs. them" attitude. When this mentality is present in teams, they can beat anybody. They realize that five players on the court at any given moment can beat any other five players. They just need to work together.


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