Cats assemble for hoops media day

Basketball media day was on Wednesday and that means the college basketball season is just that much closer. The Cats are just a few days away from the official start of practice and this was the first chance for the players and coach Olson to address the media as a group.

There were several common themes among the players including improved chemistry, the tough schedule and the overall talent of the team.

To a man the players believe that the overall chemistry of the team is better this season. No player can pinpoint exactly why, but to a man they said that this group of players has been getting along better on and off the court.

The Canada trip was a good chance for the players to bond, but that has not been the only positive experience. The team has spent a lot of time together over the summer and the early part of the school year. Although they have played a lot of pick-up, they have also done things like go out to dinner and hit the movies.

As expected, the Wildcat seniors have provided leadership but sophomore Marcus Williams has also assumed a leadership role.

"Marcus has been a great leader," said Daniel Dillon. "That may surprise some people because he is just a sophomore."

Another frequent topic of conversation is the Wildcats' schedule. Some players are excited about the prospect of playing teams like North Carolina, Illinois and Louisville, while others are anxious to prove themselves against great players.

"Great teams have great players and I love the chance to go up against great players," said Bret Brielmaier.

You'd expect players who go to Arizona to want to face competition and that is exactly what players were saying on Wednesday.

"What do you think?" Fendi Onobun said when asked if he'd rather play a good team or play in a one-sided game. "You want to play the best."

For players like Kirk Walters and Mustafa Shakur media events like this are old hat, while other players are experiencing things for the first time.

Jordan Hill has played very well in the preseason workouts and is gaining confidence.

"I was telling people I would play this year," Hill said. "I still need more weight but I think I can get a lot of minutes."

Another player who has not had as good a start is Chase Budinger. Budinger got sick on the Canada trip and recently had minor surgery. Since the surgery Budinger has lost 15 pounds and is still trying to get in shape. Despite that, he is gearing up for the start of the season.

Media day is just the first event in a series before the start of the season. Next up is McKale Madness and before you know it the first game will be upon us.

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