Mustafa, keep having fun

Mustafa, the last three games have been a joy to watch. Not just because of your stellar performances. Sure those are nice, but there is another reason I have gotten a kick out of your play. It finally looks like you are having fun.<

You were good in Oregon, but you were great against Stanford. I don't know if it was the fact that Chris Rodgers is gone, but something is different. Last night you played with confidence and passion. If Rodgers was a primary cause of the chemistry problems, he is no longer a factor.

Mustafa, you don't have to worry anymore. You looked like you having fun in Oregon, on Thursday you looked like you were having a blast. You don't have to be concerned with someone wanting your point guard spot. There is no one coveting your role. Sure J.P. Prince and Daniel Dillon want minutes, but they are just as happy playing next to you as they are playing in place of you.

You have tried for so long to be stoic. You felt you had to show no emotion to be a floor general. You'd bottle up the good and the bad until you burst. When things got very bad you'd melt down and throw a head band or sit on the bench with a towel on your head.

The last three games we've seen a new Mustafa Shakur. The one who is not afraid to pump his fists after a big basket. The point guard who is heady enough to call a timeout while falling out of bounds and then can barely contain himself because he is so excited to make a game changing play.

What we really saw was a player who was having fun playing the game.

What we hope we've seen is a coming out party.

Against Stanford we saw the player Arizona fans thought they were getting when they landed the nation's No. 1 point guard recruit three years ago. We saw a player who dished out more assists in the first half than the entire team dished out against Oregon. We saw a player who played under control and on 12 separate occasions found teammates for buckets.

Against Stanford we saw a player go up against a point guard who has made a career of killing the Wildcats and outplay him.

You want rebounding? Staf had four. You want defense? Hernandez was held to just 12 points, all coming off of threes, most of those in transition or coming off multiple switches. You want ball control? Shakur had an assist to turnover ratio of 4-to-1.

Shakur was 9-9 on the line, shooting so well that Stanford refused to foul him at the end of overtime.

You want clutch? How about the defensive job that Shakur did on Hernandez late in the game. He's a player who often struggles with his defensive footwork sealing off the lane and forcing Hernandez to pass before he was ready.

Most of all you seemed relaxed, calm and dare I say happy. I don't know if it was because of Rodgers' absence or just a turning point of your career. Maybe you finally gained the confidence in your ability to live up to all of the hype you received so early in your career.

In the end all I can say is keep it up.

Keep it up and have fun.

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