Hoop thoughts

As expected Arizona got their first win of the season beating NAU 101-79. Although the Wildcats won handily, it may not have been the convincing win many Wildcat fans wanted to see after the tough finish in Virginia.

Walters Out

Senior center Kirk Walters is out indefinitely after coming down with Mononucleosis. There is not timetable for his return and if he is out long enough there could be the possibility that Walters gets the redshirt he attempted to get his first two seasons in the program.

Whether or not it happens depends on how long Walters is out. If he is sidelined for just a few weeks, then he would not be able to get the extra year. However, if the illness lingers until late in the season then the medical redshirt could be explored. What has to be factored in is not only the illness, but the recovery time after he returns. If Walters is out a few months, he'll need several weeks to get in anywhere near game shape. The preseason concussion that kept him out of most of the preseason would also be factored.

The shame is that Walters played three minutes against Virginia. Had he not played those 180 seconds Walters could have redshirted without any problems.

Rookie Of The Year

Everyone assumed the Chase Budinger had the ability to contend for Pac-10 Rookie Of The Year, but no one knew if he'd have a big enough role in the offense to put up the necessary stats. With Jawann McClellan and Marcus Williams in the mix, it was no sure thing that Budinger would get enough touches.

After two games it is apparent that he will not only get enough shots to contend, but he may have a big enough role in the offense to contend for All-Pac-10 honors.

After the first week of the season it is way too early to rule any freshmen out for the ROY award, but a few have served notice. Three games into the season Oregon's Tajuan Porter is averaging 31.0 points a game. He leads the Ducks in scoring and is just killing it from behind the arc. Add to that the fact that his is just 5-6 and you have a story. Redshirt freshman Josh Tarver is averaging 12.7 ppg and 3.3 assists. While his brother Seth got the headlines in recruiting, Josh has benefited from the year in the system and is a key part of the Beaver offense.

Stanford big man Robin Lopez is averaging a solid 12 points and 8.3 rebounds after three games. He's shooting over 57% from the field and has blocked eight shots so far.

Washington has two serious contenders. Small forward Quincy Pondexter has the early numbers. He's averaging 13.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg. From the wing he's shooting 58.6% from the field and a tad over 33% from behind the arc.

Spencer Hawes is probably the co-favorite along with Budinger. To date he's averaging 10.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg and has blocked seven shots. His numbers are not outstanding yet, but he played his best game against Northern Iowa, and should continue to improve. Budinger's numbers? He's averaging 24 ppg, six rebounds and is shooting an amazing 67% from the field and behind the arc.

Attitude

Marcus Williams appeared to be in the dog house on Wednesday night. After taking a few bad shots Lute Olson benched Williams and scolded the sophomore on the bench. Whatever was said did not please Olson, because Olson had assistant coach Miles Simon to talk to him.

In his post game comments after both games Olson alluded to the fact that Budinger shouldn't worry about taking shots away from older players. He made no mention of Williams, but if Williams is worrying about getting looks he shouldn't. Even if Budinger averages over 20 points a game, the Cats should average between 85-90 points as a team, which means there will be plenty of scoring opportunities for everyone, especially Williams.

There is no guarantee that Williams won't be the No. 1 scoring option for most of the season, but even if he isn't he shouldn't worry. In 2001 Richard Jefferson was not the go-to guy, having to sit back and watch as Gilbert Arenas went crazy. Jefferson got his share of points, but concentrated, especially in the NCAA Tournament, on playing defense, rebounding and being a versatile player. His reward? Jefferson was an NBA Lottery pick and is now a multi-millionaire. Williams may not have the raw athleticism that Jefferson did, but his well rounded game will have many NBA teams knocking when he does come out.


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