justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pac-10 Play

The Where's Paul McPherson's four-part series chronicling UA basketball games from my couch came to a screeching halt when I was given the chance to upgrade my sofa seat 15 minutes away from the McKale center to courtside seats at the scorers table two feet away from the court. Last night I worked for the Arizona Athletics Sports Information Department and was afforded this glorious opportunity. Free courtside seats, ballin' in deed. I've never sat that close to a real game and it really allows you to appreciate the speed of well played basketball.
I sat right next to the local radio broadcasters and this woman who was in control of any problems that were happening in the arena - flooded toilets, unruly fans, etc.
Before the game started the aforementioned woman told me to press the space bar on her laptop before the national anthem began. This was the most nerve racking moment of the night because I read the previous game had an anthem fiasco. The national anthem ceremony before the Memphis game went something like this:
Introduce musician to perform the anthem
Play recorded anthem over the PA system
Cut the anthem five seconds into it
Have musician come out and sing the anthem

I was afraid that I was going to press the space bar and cue the anthem when nobody was ready. Fortunately, all the space bar did was turn off the electronic advertisements along press row. Eventually some guy would sing the anthem in the most over-dramatized manner I've ever heard in my life.
  • It was a definite sell-out in the McKale Center, but there was no clear student section. This is really embarrassing for the No. 7 ranked team in the nation.
  • Kirk Walters who has suffered from everything short of the Bubonic Plague this season is in street clothes. I would also like to propose the first Where's Paul McPherson separated at birth: Kirk Walters and The Office's Jim Halpert
  • Worthless observation from sitting courtside #1: The tattoos along Marcus Williams' triceps read "M Will" on one arm and "Smooth" on the other. Williams also has a tattoo of the old And 1 logo (which I could not find a pic of on the Internet, but i did find this weathervane that is the And 1 logo and also the coolest weathervane of all time) with "Any questions" wrote beneath it.
  • UA opens up early with a full-court press that leads to Jawann McClellen getting a steal with a huge grin on his face. I can't stress enough how fun it is to watch McClellen play.
  • 15:50 UA has four turnovers, Cal has three. That's seven total turnovers compared to nine total shots taken in the first four minutes of the game.
  • 14:04 UA racks up another two turnovers, giving them six already on the night.
  • 13:40 Mustafa Shakur gives UA their seventh turnover. On the next play Cal's Theo Robertson puts back a missed three attempt for a sick two-handed dunk.
  • 11:20 Taylor Harrison misses an easy lay-in with nobody within five feet of him. I'm not quite sure how you mentally recover from that.
  • 9:56 Daniel Dillon hits a tough jumper to make it 18-20, Cal.
  • Worthless observation from sitting courtside #2: I somehow never noticed that there is an apostrophe after Radenovic's name on his jersey. Knowing nothing about the Serbian language, I have know idea what this means.
  • 9:36 UA's full-court press is broken by Cal leading to an open Theo Robertson dunk and a fit of insanity from Lute Olson.
  • Williams responds with a three pulling the Cats to within one 23-24.
  • 7:30 Shakur drove past everyone going coast to coast before missing an easy lay-up.
  • 6:41 The Cats shut down Cal forcing a shot-clock violation. Normally the Cats will give up an easy bucket or an open three with less than five seconds left on the shot clock, so it was good to see them actually finish out a defensive stop.
  • 3:50 Without me even noticing UA went up 11 points leading 39-28.
  • Not wanting to leave any time-outs unused, Lute calls a time-out with the Cats up 51-33 and 20 seconds left in the first half. It leads to a Chase Budinger miss from deep in the corner. Still a much better play than the usual Shakur trying to break the other team's point guard off the dribble and trying a difficult lay-up.
  • 15:40 McClellen hits his fifth three of the night going 5-7 from long range to put UA up 65-43.
  • 14:32 Lute still has his starting line-up with the Cats up 65-43. Cal is shooting 44% and UA is shooting 72% from the field.
  • 13:08 Cal has only shot two free throws. They would finish 6-8 from the free-throw line compared to UA's 15-28.
  • 10:40 Dillon misses his first free throw attempt and assistant coach Miles Simon yells, "Flat-footed," Dillon corrects his form and hits the second attempt. Dillon would only make 2-6 from the line.
  • 9:45 Ryan Anderson swats the hell out of a lazy lay-up by Nic Wise.
  • 7:45 Nic Wise fires up an air ball, the Nic Wise moment of the game is once again not looking good.
  • 6:00 Wise comes off a screen, finds himself open for the ball and shoots a great "whoo" a la Ronnie Who. Shakur gives Wise the ball so Wise can clank another three-point attempt.
  • 5:02 Jordan Hill rebounds a missed Shakur three and attempts a two-handed throw-down over everyone in the paint, it's not a clean dunk by any means, but it still finds its way in. 88-62 Cats.
  • Hill rebounds a missed Wise three and tries to throw it down with a vicious one-handed dunk. This time he misses. It's reminiscent of a young Amaré Stoudemire who tried to dunk anytime he had the ball in the paint - no matter where he was or who was in front of him. Eventually he will become more athletic and able to finish those dunks and he will be learn when a lay-up will do. Hill is just as raw as people say he is and he's going to be incredible to watch in a year or two.
  • The attendance is announced at 14,562 - a number made up by the woman who sat next to me. According to her, if the game is sold out the ticket office does not call with an official number and it's up to her or the UA information director to come up with the number, anything between 14,545 (McKale Center max seating capacity) and 14,580 (which she said accounts for all the press).
  • 4:15 Fendi Onobon and Mohamed Tangara check in for their first minutes of the night. Fendi killed the half-fro/cornrows and is back to the shaved dome.
  • 4:00 Unfortunately the fresh cut is not symbolic of a fresh start for Fendi, who air-balls an 8-footer on an ugly looking shot.
  • 2:28 David Bagga gets in the game.
  • :50 Bagga hits a left-handed lay-up causing the crowd to erupt.
  • Having all of the reserves in at once kills UA's big lead and almost causes Olson to kill the reserves. They allowed the 28-point lead to shrivel to a 9-point win 94-85.
Nic Wise Moment of the Game: Fortunately Wise made up for a terrible game - 1-6 from the floor - by rocking the white/red Nike Penny IV's with red socks. The Nic Wise part about it was Wise was covering the NBA logo on his socks with pieces of duct-tape. I'm assuming the NCAA prohibits other leagues' logos from appearing in their games. That or Wise is starting some insane trend that is so ahead of its time people are yet to comprehend it. Another question raised is how come nobody would let Wise borrow a pair of white socks, does the UA equipment room really have a billion pairs of shoes but no extra socks. How does this happen?
Nic, seriously though, step your game up these past two Nic Wise Moment of the Games have been miserable.

This might be the only blog in the world that places more importance on a back-up freshman's' socks rather than Gerald Ford dying, Saddam being hung, or anything going on in the Middle-East.
Sneaker Watch: Nic Wise the only player from UA to wear anything new...Cal being a Jordan Brand sponsored school had college-exclusive all-black Jordan Laney 23's with the Cal logo on the tongue...Jerome Randle all-black Zoom Lebron IV...Patrick Christopher black/gold Jordan XIX SE...Ayinde Ubaka and Theo Robertson all-black Nike Hurache 2K6.