Up-tempo play highlights scrimmage

It was homecoming weekend in Tucson and Lute Olson decided to give the returning alumni a gift by opening another Saturday scrimmage. The few thousand in attendance were not disappointed as the up-tempo Cats put on a show.<FONT color=red> UPDATED with photos</FONT>

The scrimmage was wildly entertaining as both sides got up and down the court. It was a positive sign to see so much scoring, but unfortunately all of the scoring was coming against Wildcat defenders.

The team played two mini-scrimmages. The first was 20 minutes and the second was an abbreviated 12-minute affair. The first scrimmage really showcased the much-vaunted up-tempo style. Although the full court press was used sparingly, both sides were running up and down the court. Before the first 4:00 time out could be called, the two units combined for 24 points.

With Luke Walton sitting out to nurse an ankle sprain, Jason Gardner proved how vital he is to the team. He led the blue team to a win in the first 20 minutes and then after being dealt for Chris Rodgers in the second scrimmage he led the white squad to 40-24 lead.

"It just points out how vital that point guard position is," Olson said of Gardner's play.

Gardner played well, spending most of the day getting his teammates involved and keeping the flow of the offense moving. He took just eight shots in the two scrimmages, but dished out 13 assists.

Gardner and Will Bynum were teamed up for the first part of the day and the sophomore point guard thrived with the pairing. Bynum graded out very well with Gardner by his side, and was potent offensively. Bynum scored 17 points and added five assists in the first 20 minutes. Bynum and freshman Hassan Adams combined for a number of high light reel alley-oops. Bynum was less effective when opposing Gardner, but overall had a good day. Bynum seemed more in control than he was during the Red/Blue scrimmage where he turned the ball over nine times.

"We've had Will playing the point opposite Jason so much that we wanted to see him playing with Jason," Olson said. "Sometimes he tries to do too much. He played his best today in the two-guard spot."

Isaiah Fox continued his strong play. He was very active on the glass and did a good job matching up with Channing Frye. His offensive game appears to be more polished than it was a year ago.

Rick Anderson continues to be a force on the boards. The fifth-year senior is making a statement that his starting job is not going to be easy to take. Anderson had 15 boards in the two sessions, with a staggering 11 coming during the first 20 minutes.

Andre Iguodala is proving that he may be even better than advertised. The freshman wing player was all over the court. He combined to score 27 points and pull down 12 rebounds. Iguodala was very active on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. His long arms and good jumping ability makes him a formidable rebounder. Iguodala not only sunk a three pointer at the buzzer to conclude the first scrimmage, but was also in on the play of the day. Iguodala kept a fast break alive by making a behind the back pass to Gardner. Gardner proceeded to toss a perfect alley-oop pass to Chris Dunn who dunked it home.

For more information or to just discuss the team, go to the BASKETBALL MESSAGE BOARD.

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