Net Notes: Cats prep for Red/Blue game

Arizona basketball gets closer and closer to their first exhibition games. On Sunday they'll play the Red/Blue scrimmage. Already there are some interesting developments as a pair of players battle injuries and the rest of the team battles for playing time.


Two Wildcats have been battling injury issues. Isaiah Fox has battled several nagging injuries. His knee was giving him some trouble and he recently turned an ankle that has limited him. He will likely play on Sunday.

"He's had to sit out some because the leg is bothering him a little bit, or he's turned his ankle as he has the other day," Lute Olson said. "That's the biggest problem. When Isaiah is at full strength, he plays very well."

Mohamed Tangara continues to be plagued by a back injury. It's an old injury that has flared up again. His status for Sunday is not known and Olson mentioned that he needed to strengthen the back to fully recover.

"He's had some lower back pain, so they've been trying to build up his core muscles," said Olson. "We're not sure how much he'll play. We just have to take it slowly, at this point, because if we push it one day we're going to lose him a couple days by doing that."

With Fox and Tangara limited, there is an opening at the four and it appears as if Ivan Radenovic is doing his best to earn a starting spot.

"He's there everyday and he's in excellent condition," Olson said of the Serbian sophomore. "(He) has the edge in that battle right now."


According to Lute Olson it is too early to evaluate which, if any players will redshirt. He said that kind of decision doesn't even begin to occur until the third week of practice, and is usually not finalized until after the exhibition games. Olson said that they would hold out any players they were considering a redshirt for from the Team Georgia and Sonoma State games, because NCAA rules prohibit a redshirt from participating in exhibition contests.

One player for whom a redshirt has been discussed is Kirk Walters. Olson noted that they would do whatever is best for his development. If there are not going to be enough minutes for Walters, or any player, to make improvements then a redshirt will be in order.

"We don't want to keep him from being as good as he can be," Olson said. "If there are not going to be minutes to make it worth while, we'd consider that."

Olson did not rule out reshirting a perimeter player either, with Daniel Dillon seemingly the most logical candidate.


Right now true freshmen Daniel Dillon and Jesus Verdejo have been getting all of the time in practice as Mustafa Shakur's back-up. The Wildcats want to give Salim Stoudamire as many minutes as possible at the two, but did note that if the season were to start right now Stoudamire would be Shakur's top replacement.


Olson admitted that he has taken a look at the preseason polls but that he does not take much stock in them. He feels they are very good at generating fan interest in college basketball, but is not a very good predictor of a team's success. When asked if he felt the Cats' No. 11 ranking in the coaches poll was too low he admitted that many people are not sure which Arizona team they are going to see.


Olson was not surprised that Andre Iguodala was named a starter by the Philadelphia 76ers.

"He's a guy who led us in three categories," Olson said. "He can do a lot of things."

He pointed out that Iguodala led the 76ers in assists during the preseason.


Josh Pastner was recently quoted as saying that this could be the best defensive team that he had seen in his three years as an assistant coach. Olson was not ready to go that far, but did note that they were as long and as quick as any team they have had in the past few season.


Olson noted that of all the freshmen Jesus Verdejo seemed to be the most ready to compete. Olson noted that Verdejo is a year older than the other recruits thanks to his playing at a prep school last year.

Apparently Jawann McClellan is struggling a bit, but not due to a lack of ability. McClellan has been going up against Hassan Adams every day in practice. McClellan is a great shooter, but Adams has not made it easy for him to get his shot off. On a number of occasions McClellan thought he had an open shot only to have the speedy Adams get a piece of the ball.

"That competition at practice will get Jawann ready to play," said Olson. "He has to create more space for his shot."


To a man the team and coaches have praised the attitude of Salim Stoudamire. Olson has publicly noted a change in his senior guard's demeanor. Olson was a bit critical in the past of Chris Rodgers but had high praise for the versatile junior, noting that he has been working very hard in practice.

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