Olson upset with WSU's P.A. announcer

Many Arizona fans were around ten years ago to remember when McKale's P.A. announcer, Roger Sedlmyr, forgot to turn his microphone off and was overheard yelling in frustration when Wildcat Matt Muehlebach missed a three-pointer. Well, this past Thursday at Washington State, the Cougars public address man may have one-upped Sedlmyr in terms of unprofessionalism when Arizona's Salim Stoudamire stepped to the free throw line.

Arizona head coach Lute Olson was still upset four days later about an incident involving Washington State's public address announcer late in the Thursday night game.

The incident took place when Wildcat freshman Salim Stoudamire was on the foul line with 37 seconds remaining in the game and the Wildcats holding a tentative four-point lead over the Cougars.

As Stoudamire stepped to the line, the P.A. announcer—who represents the school, mind you—said something to the effect of, "Salim Stoudamire's at the line and he's made his last 17 free throws!", which served only to fire up the small yet vocal crowd even more.

"That was just Bush (league)," Olson said at his weekly press conference Monday afternoon. "It's not very professional for someone to do that as a representative of the school."

To his credit, Stoudamire said he didn't ever hear what the announcer said while he was on the line.

"Good," Olson said, when informed Salim didn't hear anything. "That means he was really focused."

Although that response drew laughs from the assorted media in attendance, Olson turned serious again almost immediately after the laughing subsided. He asked Arizona's director of basketball operations, Richard Paige, what was being done as far as an official complaint to the Pac-10 offices. When Paige said that he was looking into it and told the coach that he'd get something going right away, Olson concurred.

"Well we should do something official because that's about as unprofessional and unethical as I've heard," he said. "We've heard stuff like that at a few other places but not in the league. The league usually does a really good job of making sure that everyone on (press row) is very professional".

Paige, who's in his second year as the basketball program's jack-of-all-trades, was nice enough to sit down with Cat Tracks and explain how the process works and what might be done as far as disciplinary action goes.

"What I'll need to do is contact the conference offices and find out what steps to take from here," Paige said. "Once we submit something official, it will be up to the Pac-10 to decide what happens from there.

"It's not like the conference is going to come out and fire the guy, it's more of something just to lodge a formal complaint and to make sure it doesn't happen at anymore (Washington State) home games.

"It's one thing to have a home-court advantage but when you have administrators doing something to incite the crowd then that's a problem."

Stoudamire's streak is at a school-record 27 made free throws in a row now after going 10-10 in Arizona's sweep of the Washington schools. It dates all the way back to the second half of the Texas game in Austin.

Olson said that Salim is now the team's first choice when it comes to getting the ball into the hands of a dependable shooter in crunch time for free throws.

"I'll bet that if you go back and look at all the freshmen who have played college basketball, you'll find that most have percentages 20-30 points lower than what they shot the year before in high school," Olson said. "They get steadily better in their four years in college after they get used to the crowds and the cameras in their face but usually it takes some time.

"But with Salim, he just doesn't seem to be bothered by any pressure."

Talk about this story on the basketball message board: BASKETBALL MESSAGE BOARD

Wildcat Authority Top Stories