Schu Strings: Praise be the seniors

For three vital seniors, this is the McKale Center curtain call. Jason Gardner, Luke Walton and Rick Anderson have been instrumental in continuing the successful legacy of UA basketball. Arizona needed to rely on the consistent play of its three seniors to be successful this year. While it hasn't always been smooth sailing, those players have and will be critical to the UA's fortunes.

Jason Gardner will depart Arizona a four-year starter at point guard. His future as a legitimate NBA prospect remains uncertain, but if he isn't mentioned among the best floor generals in Wildcat history, that's a crime. Gardner defines competitive. He thrives in big situations, and loves the opportunity to deliver. Last year he often carried Arizona when it needed it during those young, developmental times. He hasn't been asked to score as much this year, but generally when it's been necessary, he's been there. Gardner hit a shooting slump early in the season, but now looks as comfortable running the offense than at any time in his special career. Miles Simon, Sean Elliott and Mike Bibby were big-time clutch players. So is Jason Gardner. Gardner maintained Arizona's presence as a point guard factory. Next season, it will be up to Mustafa Shakur to continue the trend. Gardner may only be 5-foot-10, but Shakur still has big shoes to fill.

Luke Walton was projected as little more than a role player upon his arrival, but along the way he became one of the most dangerous mismatches in college basketball. Nagging ankle injuries have hindered consistency during his senior season, but now he finally appears to have hit stride. The neo-hippie son of the original basketball hippie, Walton has been one of this program's influential ambassadors. Such a great understanding of the game, and so versatile, he has added a consistent outside shot to his repertoire, and that might be the final piece to an NBA puzzle. Walton burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman when Richard Jefferson broke his foot at No. 1 Stanford. Since that time, he's been undeniably instrumental in Arizona's success.

Rick Anderson has always been a bit quirky, and being on a different page can bring more than it share of abuse. If another player has been in Lute Olson's doghouse more regularly than Anderson, I certainly don't know who it was. As a result, fans seem to enjoy using Anderson as their whipping boy as well. Still, while he has lapses, he's also hit numerous big shots. He hit the jumper at the gun that gave a young UA team a huge win at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic. Those victories over Maryland and Florida helped to boost the UA's confidence last season, and helped Arizona work its way through one of the most daunting non-conference slates in school history. He's hit some clutch buckets this season as well. Anderson has been a lot of things to a lot of people, but he's never been boring.

…Moving on…

It was nice to see the light-hearted tone of Wednesday's press conference confirming Lute Olson's engagement. While not in attendance, I later dictated tape from the event, and while somewhat unusual—a basketball coach holds a press conference announcing his nuptials, and every media outlet in town is there—it was obviously a fun gathering. The overwhelming majority of Tucson residents have nothing but best wishes to share, which makes it sad that a rare few actually seem to have issues with this. If Olson'sm happy, and his family is behind him, then the decision is a no-brainer. I've had this conversation with one of my parents. It's a pretty simple answer. If you're happy, do it. Happiness is good, and many of us are never fortunate enough to really achieve it. Olson and Bobbi had a fabulous life with a fabulous family, and now that family has lent its support behind Lute. They want the man to be happy. The Olson family has been adopted by Tucson, which was obvious in light of the turnout at the Great Nuptials Press Conference. Christine Toretti will be privy to that remarkable warmth in the very near future…

…Which brings me to…

…The latest reality TV program on Fox. On this ditty, contestants let America choose who they'll marry. Those who know me believe I carry the banner for the anti-matrimonial mindset. I'm not married myself, and I'm getting pretty old, so I'm guessing the likelihood of a Johnny Schu aisle walk isn't in the offing. People have a tendency to interpret that as anti-marriage sentiment. Not the case at all. Actually, it's just the opposite. For whatever nutball reason, I still think marriage is about as sacred an endeavor as it gets.

My frustration is that I think people get married for too many wrong reasons, and then don't have the gumption to bother to even attempt to stick things out when the going gets rough. Marriage scares the hell out of me, and aside from some therapy-level personal commitment issues, I don't know that I've come across someone with whom I think I could spend the rest of my days. Or more accurately, nobody wants to endure walking past the Godzilla and prog rock CD collection. So as it odd as it might seem, it bugs me when programs like this, or the Bachelor or Bachelorette, or Meet the Parents, or you get the drift, treat the sanctity of marriage like it's a disposable diaper. Eh, if it works it works. When we get tired of it, let's just discard. If I could discard one thing, it would be that mindset.

Talk about this on the Cat's Lair MESSAGE BOARDS


Wildcat Authority Top Stories