Schu Strings:

As Arizona lands among the nation's top recruiting classes, it indicates yet another example of Lute Olson's willingness to change with the evolution of college basketball. Ndudi Ebi, Kirk Walters and Mustafa Shakur make up one of the most highly anticipated prep triumvirates in the history of Wildcat basketball, but they are also an illustration of understanding what it takes to be highly successful at the Division I level.

Once again, Olson has made some minor adjustments to his recruiting approach. He's done this in the past, and it's one of the reasons he has defined constant success. His most noteworthy adjustment occurred now a decade ago, when he opted for a backcourt presence over beef in the middle.

Landing the likes of Damon Stoudamire, and a slew of guards to follow, has, as we know, played a major role in Arizona's reputation as one of the nation's top up-tempo entries.

Following the Stoudamire-Khalid Reeves backcourt combination, the UA's desire to exploit quickness became a trademark. And it has been very effective.

But that's not the only change in the Wildcat recruiting approach. Whether by accident or design, Olson discovered the value of lank. That is, players who extend beyond their height. It really started with the effective defensive efforts of Michael Dickerson against smaller point guards, and culminated when the UA advanced to the national title game in 2000. Loren Woods, Richard Jefferson and Gilbert Arenas all played long, and as a result, transition buckets occurred aplenty.

Note last year's recruiting class: Andre Iguodala, Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers. All possess good height, and better reach. Opponents will have a much more difficult time finding openings on the offensive end, and it enhances the UA's opportunities in transition.

With this year's recruiting class, Olson has incorporated something unusual, a potential one-year player in Ebi. But even if Ebi leaves after just one season in Tucson, the addition of Walters gives Arizona solid depth in the frontcourt. Ebi could be an impact player. Walters appears to be someone who might take longer to develop, and thus could be vital to the team's success down the road.

In this day and age, players will leave for the NBA before their college eligibility expires. Olson has not only stockpiled a strong corps of early departures, but he's included good developmental role depth for complementary purposes.

Arizona doesn't recruit anymore. It selects. And that selection process has been an overwhelming success story. The more things change…

Speaking of change, this year alone I have purchased three DVD players, all for friends on their birthdays. It seems everyone wants, or already has, a DVD player. Those DVDs are hot items.

I don't own a DVD player, and only one DVD, a Hong Kong bootleg of an anime movie. Really bad subtitles. I only know this because I watched the DVD on the friend's DVD player. Yeah, the one I bought for his birthday.

Anyway, I think the whole DVD thing is a sham. Sure, you can put more information on those discs, but the VCR and VHS tape is just easier to control. Or I should say, the remote controls are easier. If I want to rewatch an especially hilarious sequence from the bad movie I'm enjoying, with the VCR remote, all I have to do is press rewind, let it zip back a few seconds, and watch it again. Let the hilarity resume.

Not the case with the DVD remote. Heck no. With those things, it's like you have to unlock a NORAD coding structure. Press the freeze button, press the chapter button, find the X button, zip backward…whoops, too far. Dang, gotta try again. Where was that scene again? What am I doing this for? Way too complex. By the time you get to the scene in question, the novelty has lost its flair. Unpleasant indeed. Now where's the entertainment in that, unless you're a morbid sort and consider my struggles with a remote somehow humorous?

The Star Wars DVD has now been released, and as is the case with everything Star Wars, there's all kinds of hype and bonus fare. Usually analog tracks are absurd - directors yacking for eight minutes about three seconds of film - but I'd be interested in hearing commentary attempting to explain away the pitiful casting of Annikan Skywalker, and all those gruesomely unbearable, repetitive teen love sequences. That might be worth the coin right there.

[Editor's Note: Schu did not buy me a DVD player for my birthday. I'd like to remind him that it is in February and that although my Playstation is also a DVD player, any other major electronics item would be appreciated. --Brad]

Wildcat Authority Top Stories