It's Midterm-Grade Time For Those Wildcat Basketball Boys.
By Tom Danehy
TONIGHT MARKS THE 15th game for the Arizona Wildcat men's basketball team this season, out of 30 scheduled for the regular season. Purists may argue the Cats have only played 13 official games, since two were designated "exhibitions."
Hey, I'm sorry. If those games don't count, why do they charge people to get in? And don't tell me that if those guys from Australia or wherever would happen to win one some year that they wouldn't be braggin' to the folks back in Alice Springs that they whupped Arizona. Anyway, tonight being the halfway point of sorts (I'm not counting post-season play, which I assume will go more than one game--don't say it!), here are some midterm grades for the Cats thus far:
Michael Dickerson. This guy has become the offensive threat Lute and the other coaches have been talking about for the past three years. One of the leading scorers in the nation, Dickerson has shown a deadly three-pointer, nice mid-range jumpers and a decent drive to the hole. On the downside, he occasionally exhibits worse shot selection that the FBI marksman who took out Randy Weaver's wife. But on the upside again, his defense has improved to the point that Lute had him on All-American point guard Brevin Knight during crunch time against Stanford. GRADE: A.
Mike Bibby. Are you ready for the knock that some moronic fans put on this kid? They say he's not flashy enough. What in the hell is wrong with people today? Basketball is not about being flashy; it's about playing hard and winning. And Bibby does both. Hey, Damon Stoudamire was Damon Stoudamire. Bibby is Bibby. Leave him alone. He reaches in on defense and picks up bad fouls, the kind which tend to come back and haunt one late in the game. He occasionally tries to force a pass or two. But overall, he's doing extremely well. He plays with maturity and passion. He's special. GRADE: B+ (Only so that we'll be able to reward him as he improves.)
Miles Simon. GRADE: Incomplete. Oh sure, now he gets that incomplete he needed. Simon has handled his academic problems like a man. I have no doubt he'll come on strong and be a real factor in the Cats somewhat unlikely run to the Pac-10 title.
Bennett Davison. This is a baaaad man. The junior college transfer is eating teams up on the boards and had the game-winning tip-in against Stanford a couple weeks back. He chews other teams up on the boards, and his dunks are nastier than Mimi's eye shadow on The Drew Carey Show. GRADE: A.
A.J. Bramlett. Is it just me, or does anybody else look at Bramlett and see Ed Stokes? A.J., if you're not familiar with Stokes, look at some old game films. Stokes led the world in blown one-footers. The dude missed so many dunks, Ron Shelton hired him as a technical advisor for White Men Can't Jump to teach Woody Harelson how to miss a slam realistically. Plus, Charmin wanted Stokes to be their mascot for softness. A.J., look at the Stokes file and see your possible future. If that doesn't send you scrambling into the weight room, nothing will. GRADE: C.
Jason Terry. Has done a fine job filling in as a starter during Simon's absence. Streaky shooter, had a good day (7-10 from the field) against Utah. Against Michigan, he scored nine of the team's final 18 points, but missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation. Definitely an asset to the team. He'll make Simon earn his starting spot back. GRADE: B.
Eugene Edgerson. He's not bad. I just wish people would learn how to pronounce his name. Some call him Edgerson as in "Edge" the shaving gel, or the guitar player for U2. Others call him Edgerson as in Edgar Allan Poe. (All you nitpickers out there, please note I spelled Poe's name right this time.) Sometimes you'll have two announcers in the same game pronouncing his name differently. Could become a real inside force, but hasn't yet. He missed his first 10 free-throw attempts of the season. That's the same percentage as Edgar Allan Poe could shoot right now. And The Edge could probably do better, although he does look pretty scrawny in those videos. Gene, here's the deal. Just imagine that Tyra Banks is wearing a bikini made out of toilet paper and she's sitting in one of those dunk tanks. All you have to do is make a free throw and she gets splashed. There, that eliminates all the pressure. GRADE: B.
Donnell Harris. Coming on of late. Had two double-doubles in non-conference play and appears to be making progress. Still, he lacks consistency. GRADE: C+.
Jason Lee. What a pleasant surprise. The senior transfer from tiny Allegheny College became an instant crowd favorite when he played his first game against Robert Morris in the Fiesta Bowl
Classic. Has bomb's away shooter's mentality and can light teams up from the three-point line. What I like best about him is that he was willing to take the big shot against Stanford (he missed, but the shot was tipped in by Bennett Davison for the winning points). You gotta love somebody willing to put himself on the line like that. GRADE: A.
Josh Pastner. Crowd favorite. Instant offense. Gets in when the Cats are up 30. Shoots the lights out. What's not to like? GRADE: B.
Jason Stewart. See Josh Pastner. GRADE: B.
John Ash. Destined to become the greatest Tucson-based Wildcat ever, far surpassing Sean What's-His-Name. And I knew him when. Hey, I still know him. GRADE: A.
TEAM (Thus Far): Played extremely well in spots. Had surprising early wins over Utah and North Carolina, played tough in losses at New Mexico and Michigan (I still hate losing to Michigan). Showed disturbing trend in blowing double-digit leads and having to come back late in wins over Cal and Stanford. Still, not bad. GRADE: A.
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