Bobik Ready to Challenge Stoudamire

CHICAGO – Arizona's shoot-from-anywhere-on-the-floor Salim Stoudamire may not have said it outright but the message he delivered one day before the Wildcats face Oklahoma State in a Chicago Regional semifinal game came through loud and clear – ain't no way a white guy is going to stop me.

When the 6-foot-1, left-handed Stoudamire was asked if he knew which Cowboy would be guarding him he said, "I think it's that white guy."

That guy's name is Cowboy defensive stopper Daniel Bobik, and he was not surprised when he learned of Stoudamire's comment.

"Well, the white guy is the reaction pretty much I get … that's just kind of the way it is," Bobik said, "and the stereotype that white guys are slow. But not this white guy."

Stoudamire leads the 29-6 Wildcats with an 18.6 scoring average and is the nation's top three-pointer shooter (making 51.3 percent on the season). He broke Steve Kerr's single-season three-point record and is tied for fifth all-time on the NCAA's three-point percentage list.

"I don't think anyone can shut me down," Stoudamire said. "I think when I do play bad it's because of myself and my mental approach toward the game."
Bobik, however, has done his share of shutting down big-time scoring guards the past two seasons. A year ago, with a Final Four berth on the line, Bobik was responsible for St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson going 6-for-18 from the field in the Cowboys' 64-62 victory. Just last week, Bobik spent much of OSU's 85-77 victory over Southern Illinois forcing guard Darren Brooks into a 5-of-16 shooting day. He's also helped shut down Texas Tech's Ronald Ross, Texas' Daniel Gibson and Texas A&M's Antoine Wright.

"I'm excited," said Bobik, who averages 6.7 points per game but knows his No. 1 priority it to play defense. "This is a good opportunity for me to go out there and show up.

"I try to concentrate on defense. Sometimes it frustrating because I know that I can score. I've just got to take advantage of the opportunities that I do have to score. But that's what makes a team – everybody plays a role and everybody plays it well."

OSU head coach Eddie Sutton knows the importance Bobik will play in Thursday night's game at Allstate Arena. Although the Wildcats have other potent scoring options in 6-foot-11 center Channing Frye (15.6 points) and 6-4 forward Hassan Adams (12.3), but it's Stoudamire who really concerns Sutton.

"Stoudamire concerns me most. If he can get 37 against Washington (as he did in the Pac-10 Tournament championship game two weeks ago), he can get 37 against anyone," Sutton said. "You're not going to stop him. You just have to limit the number of touches he gets, double up on him occasionally, get the ball out of his hands. But you're not going to stop him."

Bobik understands that he's not going to shut down Stoudamire, who has scored in double figures in all but six games in which he's played this season. But the OSU senior also thinks that having a four-inch height advantage will make a huge difference.

"I think my height bothers a lot of people that are smaller and they can't get good looks because I'm challenging their shots," he said. "The fact that I can play a little bit off because I am taller and I can still contest his shot, it will allow me to anticipate where he's going – if he's going to drive but also to get a hand up to challenge his shot."

Is there anything Bobik plans to do differently that Stoudamire hasn't seen this season.

"He's probably seen everything. I can't really do anything, and don't plan on doing anything other than playing how I've played all year," he said. "Just try to make him take tough shots. He's going to hit some tough shots but the more that I'm on him … I think a lot of guys toward the end of games end up shooting a lot of jump shots because they're tired because of me chasing them around all game wears them out. There's not anything particular that I'm planning to do any differently than I've done all year."

Ironically, Bobik compares Stoudamire to (are you ready for this?) another white guy.

"Actually, the guy he kinda reminds me of is Jake Sullivan from Iowa State because he can shoot really well and they run him off a lot of screens, and he has free range pretty much to do whatever he wants," Bobik said." That's the thing I was (amazed) about with him is the fact that he can shoot it from just about anywhere, and if he misses the coach doesn't care -- as opposed to a lot of different programs where shot selection seems to be really important. But for him any shot's a good shot, so it's going to be really important for me to challenge his shots, limit his touches and make him take tough shots."

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