Cats showing well in playoffs

If you wanted to make an argument about what was the greatest time period of the Lute Olson, the classes that played from1997 to 2002 should come to mind. Besides the obvious evidence of this, namely two appearances in the championship game in four years, one most only look to this year's NBA playoffs. It seems like no matter which team you watch there is a Wildcat feel.

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Six former Wildcats have played key roles to help their NBA teams to playoff success. Success like this is of course vital because any future Wildcats can look at this list and see that Olson and his staff can make you into NBA caliber player. Not many programs can say that they have such a success rate. Here is a quick run down of what some of the Cats have done so far.

Jason Terry- In the first round of the playoffs Terry averaged 17.5 points per game in the four game sweep of Memphis. He also scored 14 points in the first game of Dallas second round series against the Spurs. He followed that up with a modest 11 points and three rebounds in the Mavericks' 22-point win over San Antonio in game two.

Terry has been a spark plug for the Mavericks, just as he was with the Wildcats. His 5.5 assists per game have played a roll in Mavericks playoff success. He and Devin Harris have provided the Mavs with a two-headed point guard attack that has really helped an offense that starts defensive specialist DeSagana Diop.

Richard Jefferson- The most significant impact of the former player has come from Richard Jefferson. He averaged 23 points in the Nets six game first round series. In game one of the conference semi finals Jefferson light up the board for 20 points and picked up 4 rebounds. He also had five critical assists before going down with an ankle injury.

Right now Jefferson is doubtful for game two and all indications are that the team will not rush him back into the line-up and risk further injury. If the Nets are to go deeper in the playoffs there is no doubt that Jefferson will have to play a major roll.

Luke Walton- Walton averaged 6.4 rebounds per game in the Lakers' seven game series against the Suns. He averaged 12.1 points per game in the same series. Although his numbers were not staggering, his play was huge for the Lakers. He was inserted into the starting line-up the last month of the season and it really sparked the LA offense. With the great passing Walton in the game, the Lakers were able to get Kwame Brown and Lamar Odom more involved, which took a lot of the pressure off of Kobe Bryant. When the balanced offense was in effect, the Lakers were at their best. When it became the Bryant one man show, the Suns took advantage.

Gilbert Arenas With the Wizards Arenas averaged 34 points in the six game series. In addition he had 5.5 rebounds per game and 5.3 assist per game. The Wizards were eliminated in the first round, in part to a pair of missed free throws.

Arenas went toe to toe with LeBron James and nearly matched the phenom shot for shot. In the end James made a few more big shots, but Arenas hit his share of huge buckets, including a 30-footer that sent the final game to overtime. It was a real coming out party for Arenas, who served notice that he is right there with the league's best.

Mike Bibby With an average of 16.7 points per game in his playoff series against the Spurs, Bibby did all he could to keep the Kings in the series. Bibby averaged 3.8 rebounds and five assists during the series and continued to showcase why he is among the better point guards in the league. Despite the good performances, it wasn't enough to overcome Tony Parker and the Spurs. The Kings where eliminated in the first round. It's unlikely that any Wildcats players are going to be on the next NBA Championship team. Terry and Jefferson are the only two left, but they have difficult roads. Terry has the best chance, but he and the Mavs have to find a way to get past the Spurs first. That's not necessarily the point, rather it's that Lute Olson truly runs one of the great college programs, as if you had any doubt.


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