Stoudamire and Rodgers happy to head home

Arizona heads to the Pacific Northwest and for Chris Rodgers and Salim Stoudamire it will be a homecoming. Both of the Wildcat guards hail from the Portland area and will have a chance to play in front of friends and family.

For Salim Stoudamire it will be the final collegiate trip to his home state. Stoudamire is 4-2 in games against Oregon and Oregon State and he'd love his second sweep.

Both players will have a lot of fans in the stands, but will also take their share of heat from Oregonians who are still bitter that the two players left the state.

"I thrive under situations like that," said Stoudamire of the heckling.

Rodgers takes it a step further and tries to ignore the taunts and insults all together.

"I don't let anything get to me out on the court and just try to stay focused on the task at hand and play ball," Rodgers said.

Rodgers doesn't take it personally and knows in the end they are just trying to gain their club an advantage.

I think it is more just a familiar face. They know our names. They want to help their team win, so they'll do whatever they can.

"I think it is more just a familiar face," Rodgers explains. "They know our names. They want to help their team win, so they'll do whatever they can."

While the fans are always hostile, it is a chance for the two players return home and see some familiar faces.

"It feels good," Rodgers admitted. "I haven't been back to my hometown in a while. It'll be good to get back to Oregon and see all the fans and see all my friends and family."

The two will get a chance to spend some time with friends and family, but the emphasis of the weekend is to get a sweep. The Wildcats are looking for their first Pac-10 road sweep since early March of 2003. They know they must win this weekend to keep pace in the wild Pac-10.

The first game sees the Cats heading to Mac Court and a game against the 14-3 Oregon Ducks, another team near the top of the Pac-10 standings.

The Ducks have one of the best home court advantages in the conference, a fact not lost on Rodgers. "It's the best in the Pac-10 in my opinion," Rodgers said. "It's just the atmosphere. The structure of the arena. It's a great facility for the fans."

While Stoudamire admits that Mac Court is a tough place to play, he likes playing at Oregon State even less. It is not that the crowd is tougher or the Beavers are a better opponent. No, Stoudamire's dislike is purely aesthetic.

"I don't like the color in Gill," Stoudamire admitted. "I don't like that orange, it is not Halloween. Hopefully that will change this year, but most importantly we will win."

Neither player denies that they want to win. Of course they want to win every game, but these two contests are just a little extra special for the duo.

"It means something for everyone, I think, going back to where they grew up most of their life," said Rodgers.

"It is my last time so I want it to be something sweet," Stoudamire added.

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