Ask Cat Tracks

<B><I>Ask Cat Tracks</B></I> is a new feature we've added to answer your questions about Arizona athletics. The questions were collected from e-mails, phone calls to the office, radio show call-ins, and posts on the Cat Tracks message boards.

From XXWildcat via Football Message Board:
Q: What's going on with Byron Smith? I was just wondering if this guy was done or not. I have heard that it didn't look good, but that was a few months ago. Does anyone know anything new? Obviously this guy could help us if he ever gets here.

A: Apparently Smith is still trying to plea out the case. The DA is offering the "lowest" felony, while Smith's attorney is trying to get them to accept the "harshest" misdemeanor. Smith had hoped to move to Tucson to finish up some classwork, but he will now do the work in Texas and hope the legal matters are finished by August.

If he can plea down to a misdemeanor he will play for the Wildcats. A felony means he will not play for Arizona. If Smith can play, he will fight for a starting spot on the defensive line.

From dsman22 via the Basketball Message Board:
Q: With the Okwandu signing, does this change things? Do we not need a true post for the 2005 class? Also do we have three or four scholarships? I guess my big question is: who do we want also based on who likes us the most?

A: Right now officially the Cats have just two scholarships to give, Frye's and Stoudamire's. They have filled one of those already with Fendi Onobun. They are recruiting as if they will have at least one additional scholarship available (Adams?).

The priority of the class is a big wing. The top four seem to be Martell Webster, Julian Wright, C.J. Miles and Marcus Williams. The Cats are in shape with Webster and Wright more than with Miles, but Miles is certainly interested. Marcus Williams may be a notch below, but they like him a lot. If enough scholarships are available, the Cats would consider taking two wings.

I would say a point/combo guard and a power forward would be pretty even in terms of need/desire and it may come down to which position commits first. The Cats like Terrence Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts at guard and Jon Brockman and Kevin Rogers at PF. Guard may be a little more important as Onobun can play PF, but if one of their top post prospects was anxious to come they would probably take him.

From fgreek via the Basketball Message Board:
Q: How old is Okwandu? When will he come to Tucson? Will he play in the Corey Williams' JCC summer league?

A: Okwandu is 17 years old. He is due to come to Tucson in August. There is a lot of paperwork associated with international players, so it will be difficult to get him here any sooner. If he is coming in August he would miss the JCC summer league.

From Art via telephone call to office:
Q: Why are they bringing in Okwandu, especially so late in the process? How do they find these guys?

A: The main reason they are bringing in Okwandu is that it is all but impossible to bring in an athletic, 7-2 American big man these days. With all of the quality high school big men going pro right out of high school, this is a chance to bring in a special player. At worst he is a 7-2 practice player that will be a challenge to shoot over. At best he can be something special.

Olson has connections all over the world. In Okwandu's case he was tipped off by NBA scouts and he followed up with coaches in Africa who have seen him play. Josh Pastner was also valuable in the recruitment as he too has many international contacts.

From Benny via e-mail:
Q: Just how good is this football team going to be?

A: You really can't say at this point, but by their attitude alone they should be better. If you listen to folks in Oklahoma who know Mike Stoops, they all feel that this will be a bowl team. I feel that they should win between 4-7 games. The thing you really want to see is improvement. If the Cats are competitive in every game Arizona fans should be happy.

From rickyk via Premium Chat:
Q: Have you seen Brad Wood (newest football signee and local product) play?

A: When I coached at Cholla we never met Sabino, so I have never seen him play in person. I have talked to people who have seen him play and he is a guy with a lot of potential. He is quick, but not necessarily fast. He has nice hands and is pretty athletic. Most of the people I talked to about him feel that he is probably better suited bulking up and moving to tight end.

From Miles via "Cat Tracks on the Air" radio show:
Q: What is going on with the two-sport stars from Houston?

A: This answer has actually changed since the question was asked. He was wondering about Martellus Bennett and Jermichael Finley, two athletes from Houston. Both players have been given the go ahead to play basketball and football for the Wildcats. Both are considering the Wildcats, but Bennett gave a "soft" verbal to Miami the other day. He has indicated that he will still go through the recruiting process and will visit Tucson in September. Finley has long listed Arizona and Texas as his favorites and that appears to hold true. Finley will visit the same weekend as Bennett, as will Fendi Onobun, the Wildcat hoop recruit, who is friends with both players.

Got a question? Post it on the Cat Tracks Message Boards or e-mail us at Premium subscribers can also participate in our Wednesday night chats.

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