Stoudamire ready to contribute

He was out a month and the Wildcats hardly missed a beat. How many other teams could lose the conference's best freshman and not suffer the effects? Salim Stoudamire is finally healthy and he makes the ever-dangerous Wildcats that much better.

He's back in the mix and there is no doubt that the Wildcats are glad to have Salim Stoudamire back in the lineup. Not only is he the club's best outside shooter, but he's one of the team's best defenders as well.

Stoudamire struggled a little bit against Saint Louis, hitting just 2-of-six three pointers. Stoudamire played just 12 minutes and knows it may be that way for a few games.

"It's cool at this point," said Stoudamire. "I'm not going to play a lot of minutes. I just want a taste of the action."

Stoudamire's still feeling the effects of the ankle injury, but knows that he can't injure it any further.

"I'm not 100%," Stoudamire confessed. I'm at 90%. The ankle still hurts. I have to strengthen the muscles and stuff."

His teammates are glad to have the sophomore shooter back. Salim may cut into the already crowded group's minutes, but they all recognize that he brings an added dimension to the team.

"Just having him out there makes us stronger," said Hassan Adams who has gotten some starts in Stoudamire's absence.

In fact it is Adams who has most benefited from Stoudamire being out. The true freshman has led the Wildcats in scoring the two games Stoudamire did not play in.

Ankle soreness aside, conditioning may be another aspect that limits Stoudamire's playing time over the next few games. Having not seen the hardwood in several weeks has clearly hurt Stoudamire.

"He's way out of shape," said Lute Olson. "You don't get ready to play basketball without playing basketball."

Stoudamire worked hard while rehabilitating the ankle, but cardiovascular exercise will only do so much to prepare you for running up and down the court in Arizona's up-tempo style.

"I didn't play for a month," Stoudamire explained. "You can ride the bike and treadmill but it's not the same as playing."

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