[ {"id":"b1d97125-eaeb-56a4-8a11-27c784abdf01","type":"article","starttime":"1495679400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-24T19:30:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495687383","priority":44,"sections":[{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Balanced Arizona Wildcats poised, in position for return to WCWS","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/article_b1d97125-eaeb-56a4-8a11-27c784abdf01.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/balanced-arizona-wildcats-poised-in-position-for-return-to-wcws/article_b1d97125-eaeb-56a4-8a11-27c784abdf01.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/balanced-arizona-wildcats-poised-in-position-for-return-to-wcws/article_b1d97125-eaeb-56a4-8a11-27c784abdf01.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Zack Rosenblatt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Team has lineup, pitching staff and home-field advantage to make a deep run.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#top5sports","#latest","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"76903","label":"softball"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"dcc20e68-fb04-5a0c-bdca-a8ff0c09e213","description":"Mandie Perez skips by coach Mike Candrea after slashing a two-run homer against South Carolina in the Tucson Regional.","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1158,"hiresheight":1788,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/cc/dcc20e68-fb04-5a0c-bdca-a8ff0c09e213/59225bf521a27.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"492","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/cc/dcc20e68-fb04-5a0c-bdca-a8ff0c09e213/59225bf520c32.image.jpg?resize=492%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"154","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/cc/dcc20e68-fb04-5a0c-bdca-a8ff0c09e213/59225bf520c32.image.jpg?resize=100%2C154"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"463","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/cc/dcc20e68-fb04-5a0c-bdca-a8ff0c09e213/59225bf520c32.image.jpg?resize=300%2C463"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1581","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/cc/dcc20e68-fb04-5a0c-bdca-a8ff0c09e213/59225bf520c32.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1581"}}},{"id":"3fe50fac-62f8-5fc4-af88-87c4eb3a75dd","description":"The Wildcats bring a stacked rotation to the Super Regionals, led by ace Danielle O\u2019Toole, right, who has a 29-4 record.","byline":"A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":2950,"hiresheight":1886,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/fe/3fe50fac-62f8-5fc4-af88-87c4eb3a75dd/591a3f24f0eef.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1170","height":"748","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/fe/3fe50fac-62f8-5fc4-af88-87c4eb3a75dd/591a3f24a16dd.image.jpg?resize=1170%2C748"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"64","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/fe/3fe50fac-62f8-5fc4-af88-87c4eb3a75dd/591a3f24a16dd.image.jpg?resize=100%2C64"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"192","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/fe/3fe50fac-62f8-5fc4-af88-87c4eb3a75dd/591a3f24a16dd.image.jpg?resize=300%2C192"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"654","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/fe/3fe50fac-62f8-5fc4-af88-87c4eb3a75dd/591a3f24a16dd.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C654"}}}],"revision":12,"commentID":"b1d97125-eaeb-56a4-8a11-27c784abdf01","body":"

It hadn\u2019t even been 24 hours when the outfield wall at Hillenbrand Stadium was updated with the Arizona Wildcats\u2019 latest accomplishment: 2017 NCAA regional champions.

That\u2019s nothing new: The Wildcats have added to that portion of the outfield wall 28 times in the last 30 years.

Arizona was quick to add \u201c2017\u201d under the Pac-12 Champion section of the wall a couple weeks ago, too.

It\u2019s the next step \u2014 Super Regional Champions \u2014 that\u2019s proven the hardest to repeat. Arizona will host No. 15-seed Baylor in a best-of-three series starting Friday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Wildcats have won eight national titles with Mike Candrea at the helm, but haven\u2019t returned to the Women\u2019s College World Series for a shot at another title since 2010, when the Wildcats lost to UCLA in the championship.

Since then, it\u2019s been six straight years of falling just short.

Arizona fell to Auburn on the road last year in three games.

LSU didn\u2019t have much trouble with the Wildcats in 2015, nor did Louisiana Lafayette in 2014. Arizona didn\u2019t make it past the Regional round in 2013, and 2012 ended with a Super Regional sweep at the hands of Oklahoma. A loss in this round to the Sooners in 2011 was heartbreaking, in part because Arizona played host.

Hosts always have a better chance to advance. The top eight seeds receive Super Regional hosting bids.

Candrea said a year ago that hosting may have been the difference between winning an losing. The goal to the season then, he said, was \u201cyou need to be in the top eight so that you can be at home with your fans.\u201d

Reminded of that on Tuesday, Candrea said: \u201cShoot, that\u2019s a year ago and this is a different team. We\u2019re at home and I have thought about that. I (still) think it\u2019s good to be at home.\u201d

Home-field advantage is just one of three reasons why Arizona could return to the WCWS. Here\u2019s a look:

1. Hillenbrand is home. And Arizona is better at home. Friday\u2019s Super Regional matchup with Baylor is already near a sellout, with just standing-room-only tickets available.

Of the 40 teams to host Super Regionals in the last five years, 31 of them (or 78 percent) advanced to Oklahoma City. Two years ago, all eight host teams advanced.

The Wildcats have hosted a Super Regional six times since the round was added to the NCAA Tournament in 2005. They\u2019ve advanced to the WCWS five of those times.

\u201cBeing at home helps a lot,\u201d freshman catcher Dejah Mulipola said. \u201cHaving your fans and a home environment, that helps a lot.\u201d

2. Pitching wins championships. Championship teams typically rely on an ace that can pitch multiple days in a row.

Arizona has one in Danielle O\u2019Toole. And it may have a second one in Taylor McQuillin.

The Wildcats are one of only four remaining teams to have a pitcher with at least 25 wins (O\u2019Toole, 29-4) and another with at least 15 (McQuillin, 16-3).

McQuillin struggled toward the end of the season, managing a 4.88 ERA in her last eight appearances, but found her stride in Arizona\u2019s Regional-clinching win over South Carolina on Sunday. McQuillin pitched a complete-game shutout with six strikeouts and only one walk.

Having both pitchers is \u201cfantastic,\u201d UA pitching coach Stacy Iveson said. \u201cIt\u2019s great for them to know they have each other\u2019s backs and it\u2019s not like the weight of the world is on their shoulders.\u201d

3. And a good lineup helps. Offensive production has never been an issue, even when Arizona has lost in the Super Regionals. The Wildcats\u2019 lineup was always top-heavy, however, and lacked the consistency to keep the line moving.

This year\u2019s lineup doesn\u2019t appear to have any weaknesses, even after the Wildcats lost slugger Alyssa Palomino for the season.

Only one of Arizona\u2019s everyday hitters has a batting average worse than .300 and even that player, sophomore Tamara Statman, went 3 for 6 in three regional games. Katiyana Mauga has hit eight home runs in her last 14 games, and is just four away from tying the NCAA career home run record of 95.

Opposing pitchers can\u2019t ease up the bottom of Arizona\u2019s order, either.

Ashleigh Hughes leads the team with a .385 average; Reyna Carranco went 7 for 10 in the Regionals and has hit a team-best .462 since the beginning of Pac-12 play a couple months ago.

Eva Watson replaced Palomino in center field, and hit 4 of 6 over three games, with two stolen bases and four runs scored.

Looking back, Hughes thinks falling just short against Auburn last year \u201clit a fire\u201d.

\u201cThose kind of losses just really hurt. It motivates you to never want to be in that position again,\u201d she said. \u201cIt motivated us, for sure.\u201d

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Officially, Arizona\u2019s basketball season ended nine weeks ago with a loss to Xavier in the NCAA Tournament.

But it never did feel that way to coach Sean Miller and his staff. It\u2019s just that the drama shifted off the court and largely behind the scenes until this week, when Rawle Alkins opted to return and recruit Emmanuel Akot decided to join the Wildcats a year early.

March Madness? How about May Madness, with a little April Anxiety in between?

\u201cToday represented the end for us,\u201d Miller said on Monday, when discussing his postseason activity. \u201cBut if you would have asked me two weeks ago how it would have ended I could have given you three or four versions of it. We didn\u2019t know. We just tried to work to the end to do the best we could.\u201d

Pitt transfer Cam Johnson and high school wing Brian Bowen were two of those possible final answers, but the UA\u2019s door closed without them on Monday when the Wildcats hit the 13-player scholarship maximum.

Here\u2019s how it all played out from what was a 12-man roster at the end of last season:

And all that doesn\u2019t count the swap of associate head coaches, with former Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar replacing Joe Pasternack, who left to become UC Santa Barbara\u2019s head coach. Nor does it count the addition of forward Shareef O\u2019Neal \u2014 Shaq\u2019s son \u2014 to the class of 2018.

What was left, as it turned out, was a blend of just about every skill, size and experience level possible, making up what could be the preseason No. 1 team in the nation.

\u201cI think we have a blend of a number of characteristics,\u201d Miller said. \u201cWe have a talented group of newcomers, not just guards, not just bigs, but a balance \u2014 wings, shooting, frontcourt players, and we have a lot of talent in the freshman class, DeAndre in particular because of his physical size.\u201d

Miller\u2019s other freshmen all bring different skills, too: Barcello is an aggressive combo guard, Akot is a big wing who can pass, Randolph\u2019s an athletic shooter in the backcourt, while Lee is a high-motor power forward.

Then there\u2019s the veterans. Because Trier and Alkins opted to return, they will join three senior rotation players (Jackson-Cartwright, Ristic and Keanu Pinder) to give UA an experienced core.

\u201cWe also return a lot of proven players, experienced leadership,\u201d Miller said. \u201cI think some players who have a healthy chip on shoulder, whether it\u2019s Parker (Jackson-Cartwright) to prove himself above and beyond what he\u2019s already done, or Allonzo and Rawle to prove they can be NBA players, coveted players, the best that they can be in college. Or Dusan, who is as good of a scorer in low post as a senior center as maybe I\u2019ve seen.\u201d

\u201cWe have a lot of different qualities and some of the teams I\u2019ve had here that have made a run, that have had a high (NCAA Tournament) seed, have the same types of qualities where you have the combination of experience and talent in the freshman class.\u201d

All that is one reason why Alkins, in addition to having the chance to raise his NBA draft stock, has something to look forward to next season.

\u201cWe all have experience and we have depth, and we have a great recruiting class, and we have great leaders coming back,\u201d Alkins said. \u201cI think our team is going to be special.\u201d

Here\u2019s how Arizona\u2019s spring transition season played out:

March 23: The Wildcats\u2019 season ends with a Sweet 16 loss to Xavier in the NCAA West Regional.

March 28: One of UA\u2019s top remaining spring recruits, five-star wing Brian Bowen of Michigan, says he\u2019s waiting to see how the rosters at Arizona and his other potential choices play out before making a decision.

April 4: Associate head coach Joe Pasternack is named the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Ten days later, he posts a photo to Twitter with a view of the ocean and says \u201cIncredible view from our dorms! #beachliving.\u201d

April 5: UA freshmen Kobi Simmons and Chance Comanche both leave for the NBA draft, with Simmons doing so irrevocably by signing with an agent and Comanche initially leaving the door open for a possible return.

April 13: Allonzo Trier announces he will return for his junior season after contemplating, but not formally entering, the NBA draft. Trier missed half of his sophomore season because of a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug.

April 14: Center Dusan Ristic says he\u2019ll return for his senior season. While Ristic isn\u2019t a projected NBA pick, he always had the option of signing a lucrative pro deal in Europe because of his size, skills and a Serbian passport that would make him a non-import in many cases.

April 15: UA coach Sean Miller pulls in former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar as associate head coach a month after Romar was fired following 15 years as the Huskies\u2019 head coach. Romar said Miller opened discussions about the job by saying, \u201cThis might be out of left field.\u201d

April 19: Five-star forward Shareef O\u2019Neal, the son of basketball legend Shaquille O\u2019Neal, commits to the Wildcats for the class of 2018.

April 28: Kadeem Allen earns an invitation to the NBA combine after performing well in the seniors-only Portsmouth Invitational tournament earlier in the month. Markkanen, Simmons and Alkins are also invited (Markkanen declines) but Comanche is not.

May 3: Possibly sensing that Comanche would stay in the NBA draft pool, Miller tells a UA fan gathering in Tempe that he will add two more recruits \u2014 a prediction that turns out to be accurate with the additions of Chase Jeter and Emmanuel Akot.

May 5: Comanche announces he will stay in the NBA draft pool. \u201cThere wasn\u2019t much room for him with those four bigs, and also (Emmanuel) Akot, who can play the four no problem,\u201d said Draft Express President Jonathan Givony, accurately forecasting that Akot would move from the class of 2017 to 2018 after committing to UA in March.

May 11: In his first NBA combine game, Alkins scores 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting, generating speculation he might stay in the draft pool. \u201cIt\u2019s 50-50, and depends on the feedback that I get,\u201d Alkins said.

May 16: Former Duke forward/center Chase Jeter, a former five-star recruit sought by the UA out of Las Vegas\u2019 Bishop Gorman High School, says he\u2019ll transfer to Arizona. Jeter never regularly cracked the Blue Devils rotation in two seasons but Miller, who coached him with USA Basketball in 2014, says landing him was as big as any \u201ccoup\u201d the UA had this spring.

May 21: Alkins announces on social media that he\u2019ll return for his sophomore season, after working out at the combine and for the Nets and Raptors. He opted out of a May 20 workout in Utah because he was leaning toward returning. \u201cAround that time I spoke with coach and ... I ended up making that decision (to stay),\u201d Alkins said. \u201cCoach Miller and I had our cheers and stuff. We were happy.\u201d

May 22: Akot announces he will reclassify, skipping his senior season at Wasatch Academy in order to join the Wildcats next season, having found he was in good enough shape academically to do so.

May 22: Miller holds a news conference to discuss the changes, also confirming that forward Talbott Denny was cleared for a sixth year of eligibility after suffering two-season ending injuries. Arizona\u2019s roster is therefore full at 13 for 2017-18, with Bowen and another top UA target, Pitt transfer Cam Johnson, remaining undecided.

\u201cWe had a lot going on but at the end we have those who have returned and we have quite a few guys who haven\u2019t been there yet,\u201d Miller said. \u201cIt has the makings of a really exciting season.\u201d

"}, {"id":"f61679ac-40d5-11e7-b214-97d8e1b8f424","type":"article","starttime":"1495668000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-24T16:20:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495668040","priority":40,"sections":[{"blog":"sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"RichRod: New Arizona Wildcats QB Donavan Tate to provide 'immediate competition'","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog/article_f61679ac-40d5-11e7-b214-97d8e1b8f424.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog/richrod-new-arizona-wildcats-qb-donavan-tate-to-provide-immediate/article_f61679ac-40d5-11e7-b214-97d8e1b8f424.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog/richrod-new-arizona-wildcats-qb-donavan-tate-to-provide-immediate/article_f61679ac-40d5-11e7-b214-97d8e1b8f424.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":4,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"The former baseball player will vie with holdovers Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate for the starting job.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats football","rich rodriguez","donavan tate","brandon dawkins","khalil tate"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"d4f034c5-70bb-5a4a-9913-1fa0eeec7fe6","description":"Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said newcomer Donavan Tate will provide 'immediate competition' at the quarterback position.","byline":"Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune","hireswidth":1727,"hiresheight":1199,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/4f/d4f034c5-70bb-5a4a-9913-1fa0eeec7fe6/590bb453eeda3.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1095","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/4f/d4f034c5-70bb-5a4a-9913-1fa0eeec7fe6/590bb453ed0c3.image.jpg?resize=1095%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"69","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/4f/d4f034c5-70bb-5a4a-9913-1fa0eeec7fe6/590bb453ed0c3.image.jpg?resize=100%2C69"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"208","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/4f/d4f034c5-70bb-5a4a-9913-1fa0eeec7fe6/590bb453ed0c3.image.jpg?resize=300%2C208"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"711","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/4f/d4f034c5-70bb-5a4a-9913-1fa0eeec7fe6/590bb453ed0c3.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C711"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"f61679ac-40d5-11e7-b214-97d8e1b8f424","body":"

It doesn\u2019t sound as if Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez plans to bring new quarterback Donavan Tate along slowly.

Appearing on the \u201cAP Top 25 College Football Podcast\u201d last week, Rodriguez said he envisions Tate providing \u201cimmediate competition\u201d at the QB position.

Tate, the former No. 3 pick in the MLB draft, is joining the UA football program as a walk-on after his baseball career didn\u2019t work out because of injuries, off-the-field issues and other factors.

Arizona returns 2016 starter Brandon Dawkins and promising sophomore Khalil Tate (no relation). The UA also will add freshman quarterbacks K\u2019Hari Lane and Rhett Rodriguez, Rich\u2019s son.

Donavan Tate hasn\u2019t played organized football since 2008. He will turn 27 in September.

\u201cHe\u2019s a grown man,\u201d Rodriguez said on the podcast. \u201cHe really wants to do this. He\u2019s a very athletic guy, of course. This is a new phase of his career, and we\u2019re anxious to give him a shot.\u201d

Rodriguez said the opportunity to bring Tate into the fold \u201ckind of happened by chance.\u201d One of Arizona\u2019s analysts brought Tate to Rodriguez\u2019s attention. After researching him and meeting him \u2013 and learning it wouldn\u2019t cost the Wildcats a scholarship \u2013 Rodriguez decided that Tate would be a worthwhile addition.

\u201cWe thought it was a perfect fit,\u201d Rodriguez said.

The host of the podcast, Ralph Russo, also asked Rodriguez about the upcoming season \u2013 specifically whether it was a \u201ccrucial\u201d one for him given Arizona\u2019s 3-9 record last year and the departure of Athletic Director Greg Byrne, who hired Rodriguez in November 2011.

\u201cThere\u2019s always pressure,\u201d Rodriguez said. \u201cIf you have a bad year, there\u2019s going to be more pressure the following year, without question.

\u201cThe truth is, last year was awful. We need to prove ourselves all over again. \u2026 But that\u2019s OK. If there\u2019s a person in our program that doesn\u2019t have a chip on their shoulder and doesn\u2019t feel the need to prove themselves, then they don\u2019t belong in this program.

\u201cWe\u2019ve been working our tails off to prove ourselves. Game time will tell. I feel pretty confident we\u2019ll be able to do that this fall.\u201d

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I met Rudy Castro the day Arizona\u2019s 71-game McKale Center winning streak was broken by UCLA, 1992. I\u2019d heard many things about Rudy \u2014 a Marine, a politician, a baseball coach and a math teacher \u2014 and what I didn\u2019t know he filled in.

He said he had been part of a longer winning streak, and a few other things.

\u201cI played at Bear Down Gym the day Arizona won its 80th straight game in 1951,\u201d he said. \u201cI played basketball for and against Arizona, and made the winning shot to beat them one night. Do you know anybody else who did that?\u201d

I did not.

I knew that Castro was one of the leading shortstops in Tucson history, captain of Tucson High\u2019s 1948 state championship team, and the starting shortstop for the first Arizona team to reach the College World Series, 1954. I knew that he was the 1974 All-City baseball coach at Cholla High School, and that any time I went to a baseball game at Hi Corbett Field, Rudy would be holding court in the grandstands.

But basketball? Rudy was maybe 5 feet 6 inches tall.

\u201cLook it up,\u201d he said.

I did not look it up until Tuesday, when Rudy\u2019s friend, Pac-12 basketball referee Bob Scofield, called to say Rudy, 87, died overnight. By the end of the day, at least 10 more people delivered the same message.

\u201cRudy\u2019s gone,\u201d they\u2019d say.

\u201cRudy was a happy person,\u201d said Walt Roberson, the manager of Arizona\u2019s early-\u201950s baseball teams and longtime UA administrator. \u201cHe always had a smile and a friendly hello.\u201d

But basketball?

The UA basketball media guide does not list Rudy Castro on any Wildcat team, ever. He is not among the hundreds of players whose career statistics are recorded, and his photograph is not in the team displays at McKale. I suspected his basketball days ended when he was voted to the 1949 All-City team, part of the Badgers\u2019 23-0 championship team.

And then I found this in the archives:

\u201cDiminutive Rudy Castro, the smallest man on the court, spurred Arizona\u2019s rally with his ball-hawking. He stole passes all during the third and fourth periods and at times had the Gents perplexed with his tactics.\u201d

Rudy scored five points that night, Dec. 13, 1952, as Centenary (the Gentlemen) beat Arizona 53-52 at Bear Down Gym.

And as for those other teams he played for at Bear Down Gym? He was right about those, too. On the night Arizona won its 80th straight game, beating the San Diego Marines on Nov. 27, 1951, Rudy Castro, a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps, played against the UA freshmen as Camp Pendleton\u2019s starting point guard.

A year earlier, he played for Palo Verde Junior College against the UA freshman team at Bear Down Gym. The winning shot he mentioned? That\u2019s true, too. Castro swished a shot at the buzzer as his California JC team beat Arizona 49-47.

On Tuesday, I found all of that and much more.

I found he married his high school sweetheart, Mina, and that she tragically died during childbirth in 1961, as did their infant son, Eddie, leaving Rudy a widower with two young children.

And I found that after his basketball and baseball days he became a teacher at Roskruge Junior High School, where his influence went beyond the ballpark.

\u201cHe was truly an original. There weren\u2019t very many places in Tucson that you could go where he was not known,\u201d said Delano Price, a star on Tucson High\u2019s 1969 state basketball championship team and a TUSD educator and administrator for 30 years. \u201cWe are fellow Badgers and fellow state basketball champions. He was also my junior high teacher and football coach. He was a Marine who taught us hard work and discipline.\u201d

After he retired from his political life, Rudy bought seasons tickets at Hillenbrand Stadium, sitting behind home plate, admiring the skill and execution of Mike Candrea\u2019s softball players. But at heart, he remained a shortstop, the man whose squeeze bunt beat Texas in the 1953 NCAA playoffs.

Before he died, Rudy asked his four children to bury him in an Arizona baseball jersey. Scofield, who lives nearby in the Reid Park neighborhood, said he\u2019d take care of it.

He contacted UA baseball coach Jay Johnson. Was it possible to get a jersey for Rudy?

\u201cWhat number?\u201d Johnson asked.


A day later, Scofield went to Hi Corbett Field. Johnson handed him a pinstriped UA baseball jersey, No. 14.

That\u2019s better than a squeeze bunt to beat Texas any day.

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He expects to start playing the wing positions at the UA and says he\u2019s also comfortable at point guard.","byline":"Gregory Payan / The Associated Press","hireswidth":1763,"hiresheight":1175,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/0a/e0a5d0f7-7588-5b1e-994b-0f013f4718ba/5924de611726f.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1140","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/0a/e0a5d0f7-7588-5b1e-994b-0f013f4718ba/5924de611549b.image.jpg?resize=1140%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/0a/e0a5d0f7-7588-5b1e-994b-0f013f4718ba/5924de611549b.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"200","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/0a/e0a5d0f7-7588-5b1e-994b-0f013f4718ba/5924de611549b.image.jpg?resize=300%2C200"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"682","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/0a/e0a5d0f7-7588-5b1e-994b-0f013f4718ba/5924de611549b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C682"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"69259fc2-5b3a-5298-ade4-8c3ba73b3c9d","body":"

When Canadian wing Emmanuel Akot committed to Arizona in March for the class of 2018, the coast looked pretty clear.

The Wildcats will probably lose players at all positions next spring, and Akot\u2019s five-star talent and versatility suggested he could have stepped into a prominent role during the 2018-19 season.

He still might do just that. But once Akot decided this month to skip his senior season at Utah\u2019s Wasatch Academy and instead play for Arizona next season, the landscape changed a bit for his freshman season.

At age 18, he\u2019ll find himself battling older NBA prospects such as Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins for playing time, while fellow incoming freshmen such as Brandon Randolph and Alex Barcello will be right there with him.

Akot awaits the challenge.

\u201cThat\u2019s what I want \u2014 competition,\u201d Akot said Tuesday via telephone from Utah. \u201cI\u2019m going to compete every day against guys like Rawle and Allonzo. We have a great team, but I\u2019m going to work hard and do what I can.\u201d

That\u2019s good news for UA coach Sean Miller, who was able to get extra versatility and depth on his talented 2017-18 roster by moving the 6-7, 200-pound Akot up a year.

He might even get a long-term point guard out of it, too.

\u201cHe can play a lot of positions, and he\u2019s an adept passer \u2014 as a matter of fact he\u2019s one of best passers his size I have seen,\u201d Miller said. \u201cThat\u2019s an exciting quality, and defensively the sky\u2019s the limit.\u201d

Akot said he expects to start playing the wing positions at the UA and helping defensively, then maybe move into point guard as his career progresses. He said he models his game after big point guards such as James Harden.

\u201cI\u2019ve been playing point guard my whole life, at Wasatch and for my AAU team,\u201d Akot said. \u201cMy size doesn\u2019t bother me. I can handle it. I\u2019m a confident ballhandler.\u201d

Wasatch coach Curtis Condie said he mostly used Akot as a wing and backup point guard, taking advantage of passing ability he said jumped out at him immediately when Akot arrived as a sophomore in 2015-16.

\u201cWhen he came here I was told he was a four (power forward). He\u2019s not a four,\u201d Condie said. \u201cHe played the point, he played the wing and sometimes he\u2019d play the four if we went small. He has great vision.\u201d

Miller said Akot will have a chance to compete for time at point guard along with expected starter Parker Jackson-Cartwright and incoming freshman Alex Barcello, while saying junior wing Allonzo Trier could also slide over to the point.

Akot is \u201cvery young right now but his future might be at that position one day,\u201d Miller said. \u201cAllonzo Trier can slide over there as a veteran, somebody who continues to work to be adept at passing and scoring, and the thing about Allonzo is he has a total command of our system, and he\u2019s a great free-throw shooter. So a lot of time you want the ball in (the hands of) a guy like that.\u201d

While Trier will turn 22 midway through next season, Akot won\u2019t even turn 19 until next season\u2019s NCAA Tournament rolls around.

By then, he will have experienced a big jump in competition, no matter where it leaves him in the playing rotation.

\u201cI think any time you replace your senior year of high school with coming into a college program like ours, from a development perspective it\u2019s going to be sped up astronomically,\u201d Miller said. \u201cI think he\u2019s going to really gain a lot through our strength and conditioning program, and getting a college education.\u201d

The academic side might appear the other big adjustment Akot will have to deal with, but it isn\u2019t. Akot said he was ahead academically when he left his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, for Wasatch Academy in 2015-16, while Condie said the school brought him up to speed by not enrolling him in \u201cfluff courses.\u201d

Akot finished his core courses this year and had been thinking for several months about reclassifying so that he could play college basketball next season. He said he found out a couple of weeks ago that he could qualify to graduae, then told the UA staff he wanted to go ahead with it.

Knowing the value of quality depth especially after absences plagued the Wildcats most of last season, Miller said he welcomed Akot into doing it. Akot effectively took the Wildcats\u2019 13th and final scholarship spot for 2017-18.

Akot then quickly made plans to enroll in a UA bridge summer session course in mid-June, gain at least 15 pounds in the offseason, and start competing with his new teammates.

In college.

\u201cGraduation on the 27th and I\u2019m done with high school,\u201d Akot said. \u201cI have two finals. It\u2019s not stressful.\u201d

Allen works out
for Lakers

Former UA guard Kadeem Allen auditioned for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, saying it was his seventh team workout. He said at the NBA combine that he had plans to appear in front of 15 teams, an ambitious predraft schedule. \u201cBeen through a lot of workouts and flying,\u201d Allen said on a Lakers.com video. \u201cEast Coast to West Coast, your body gets tired. It\u2019s just a grind, but everybody\u2019s trying to get to the NBA so it\u2019s something we have to do.\u201d

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There was a point this summer when team trainer Bruce Johnston was conducting stress tests on Arizona outfielder Ashleigh Hughes\u2019 injured left thumb.

Or, as Hughes described it: \u201cHe was bending the crap out of it.\u201d

She screamed. She cried a little bit, too. Most of all, she was scared. Johnston told her to brace for the possibility that she wouldn\u2019t be able to play anymore, that this could mess up her swing and make catching fly balls in the outfield difficult.

Hughes injured the finger when a dog voraciously bit her hand, rendering her tendon 80 percent severed. Both nerves were completely severed and one of her arteries was ripped out.

The thumb doesn\u2019t even bend anymore.

\u201cIt\u2019s just stiff,\u201d she said.

Now it\u2019s May and Arizona is in the midst of preparations for the NCAA Tournament\u2019s Super Regional, the next step on a path toward the UA\u2019s first Women\u2019s College World Series appearance since 2010. The No. 2-seeded Wildcats host No. 15 Baylor in a best-of-three series beginning Friday.

After a stellar weekend in which Hughes went 4 of 8 with two runs scored in three games of the Tucson Regional \u2014 all wins \u2014 the junior outfielder leads the Wildcats in batting average at .385, more than 100 points better than she hit as a sophomore.

So much for that career-ending injury.

\u201cIt goes back to what you\u2019re wiling to let get in your way, and I don\u2019t think this ever could have gotten in my way,\u201d Hughes said. \u201cObviously, Bruce had to be realistic in saying that there is a possibility that it could not work out and we don\u2019t know what to expect from it, but I\u2019m just really glad that I\u2019m here and I\u2019m playing and I\u2019m contributing any way that I can.\u201d

Hughes said that battling the injury and the possibility of never playing again motivated her to work twice as hard and not only rehab and recover from the injury, but become a much better player.

It seems to have worked.

As a freshman, Hughes platooned in the outfield and hit .289 in 39 games. Last year, she batted second in the lineup most of the season and hit .271.

This year, Hughes has just 31 fewer at-bats than she did all of last season as she\u2019s hit in the bottom part of Arizona\u2019s lineup.

Still, she already has managed seven more hits to go with a career-high batting average (.385), on-base percentage (.424) and RBIs (16).

UA coach Mike Candrea attributes her improvement to maturity.

\u201cJust the maturity of having a bigger database,\u201d Candrea said. \u201cThe more at-bats that she gets at this level, the better she is going to be at making good decisions about what to do. \u2026 She\u2019s simplified the game.\u201d

Arizona preparing

for Baylor\u2019s speed

Arizona\u2019s catcher Dejah Mulipola hasn\u2019t had to try throwing out many runners attempting steals. Conference opponents attempted to steal on her just three times, while nonconference opponents made 11 attempts.

One of those attempts came against Baylor at the Hillenbrand Invitational in February. It was successful.

That was only one stolen base, though, and things might look a little different this weekend. The Bears attempt more than two steals per game and rank 14th in the nation with 107 total.

Only one Pac-12 school (Oregon) ranks in the top 50 in stolen bases.

Five players on the Bears\u2019 roster have at least 10 steals. Lindsey Cargill leads Baylor with 34.

Candrea\u2019s plan to stop that speed? Simple.

\u201cYou keep the speed off the bases, No. 1,\u201d he said. \u201cThat\u2019s the only way that you can eliminate it.\u201d

Mulipola, for her part, is excited for the challenge.

\u201cHonestly, this whole season I\u2019ve only had a few stolen base attempts on me and few chances to throw runners out,\u201d said Mulipola, a freshman. \u201cI mean, me and (senior shortstop Mo Mercado) have this connection where we love that. We want to get baserunners out, we\u2019re really excited. I\u2019m just excited to see if they do attempt.\u201d

Inside pitch

\u2022 Friday\u2019s game will start at 6 p.m. and will air on either ESPN or ESPN2. Pam Ward and Cheri Kempf will be on the call.

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Sixteen-year NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, World Series first baseman Chris Duncan and Arizona football coach Dick Tomey are among 14 men and women selected to the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame\u2019s Class of 2017.

Pat Darcy, president of the PCSHF, announced Tuesday that the 2017 class includes three sets of siblings, a first in the 28-year history of the Hall of Fame.

Canyon del Oro High School\u2019s Chris Duncan and his older brother, Shelley Duncan, who combined to play 12 seasons of major-league baseball, will join Salpointe Catholic graduates Sybil Dosty a basketball standout, and Whitney Dosty, a professional volleyball player, and former Santa Rita High School basketball stars Jim Pyers and Paula Pyers in the Class of 2017.

They will be featured at a news conference Aug. 9 at the DoubleTree Hotel. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Oct. 29 at 11:45 a.m. at the DoubleTree.

\u201cThe depth of this class is remarkable,\u201d said Darcy, who pitched for the champion Cincinnati Reds in the 1975 World Series. \u201cIt is diverse and reflects the athletic excellence of our local athletes, coaches and officials through the years.\u201d

Here is the Class of 2017:

Kelly Sliva-McKee. The 1979 Catalina High School graduate was an all-state volleyball player who became a three-year starter at Arizona and later an assistant coach at USC and Texas-Arlington. She coached NAU to two Big Sky Championships and later became the head coach at New Mexico.

Whitney Dosty. Ranked the No. 4 overall volleyball recruit and the 2005 Arizona Volleyball Player of the Year at Salpointe, she also won the state high jump title. Dosty became part of the All-Pac-10 freshman team at Arizona and played on Team USA in the 2007 FIVB U-20 World Championships. After leaving Arizona, Dosty played professional volleyball in Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Korea and Turkey.

Sybil Dosty. Despite tearing her ACL in both knees during her Salpointe Catholic days, Dosty was the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year in 2003, leading the Lancers to the state championship game. She averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds during her high school career. She was part of the nation\u2019s No. 1 recruiting class at Tennessee, helping the Volunteers to the 2005 Final Four. She transferred to Arizona State and became the Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women\u2019s basketball, then played professionally in Spain, Thailand and Poland before becoming an assistant coach at Seattle.

Rodney Peete. As a Sahuaro High athlete, Peete pitched the Cougars to the 1982 state championship and was a key part of the 1981 state championship basketball team. He was the Arizona high school Athlete of the Year in 1983 and became a first-team All-America quarterback at USC in 1988, helping the Trojans to the Rose Bowl. He played 16 seasons in the NFL; his 2003 Carolina Panthers reached Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Pam Reed. The director of the Tucson Marathon since 1995, Reed won the 2002 Badwater 135, beating all men and women runners in a 135-mile, non-stop run across Death Valley with temperatures near 120 degrees. She has run 11 Badwater marathons and more than 100 UltraMarathons and was named the 2003 USA Women\u2019s UltraMarathon runner of the Year. In 2007, she ran 300 miles without stopping on a frontage road near Eloy, the longest distance running feat of its time.

Jane Martindell. After graduating from Rincon High School, Martindell became captain of Arizona\u2019s basketball, softball and volleyball teams and was selected to the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. She founded Tucson\u2019s first women\u2019s AAU basketball program and became the head softball coach at Northern Colorado and Yale, taking UNC to a No. 2 finish nationally, and later was named the Ivy League coach of the year.

Shelley Duncan. Upon leading Canyon del Oro High School to the 1997 state baseball championship, Duncan set Tucson records for home runs in a season (13) and career (27). He then became a first-team All-American at Arizona, setting the school career home run record (55) that still stands. He played five years in the major leagues, with the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.

Chris Duncan. At Canyon del Oro High School, Chris was a two-time all-city football linebacker and an all-state first baseman, helping the Dorados to the 1997 state title. He was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals and hit 55 home runs in the big leagues. He started three games in the 2006 World Series as the Cardinals became world champions.

Ken Kurtz. A rare-two sport letterman at Arizona, in basketball and baseball in the mid 1960s, Kurtz played six years in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. He returned to Tucson and for 31 years was one of the leading officials in Arizona. He officiated basketball in the Pac-10, Big Sky, WAC and WCAC conferences and three times earned assignments in the NIT. He coached seven years in a variety of sports at Santa Rita High School.

Jim Pyers. He led Santa Rita High School with a 24.8 points scoring average in 1978, leading the Eagles to the state basketball championship game. A year later, he scored 52 points in a game and averaged 25. He then started for four seasons at NAIA power Grand Canyon University, twice an all-conference selection. After college, Pyers played professionally in Switzerland and later was head coach of the Swiss national team.

Paula Pyers. In 1984, Pyers scored 50 points at Santa Rita High School, then the highest total in a single game in state girls basketball history. She led the Eagles to a 28-0 season in 1984 and scored 2,082 points, then the top figure in state history. She played four years at USC, including back-to-back NCAA championships, and was the captain of the Trojans\u2019 1988 team. She also played on the USC women\u2019s soccer team and later played professionally in Switzerland.

Brian Peabody. The Sahuaro High School grad coached state championship basketball teams at Green Fields Country Day School and at Ironwood Ridge High School. He has won more than 500 games as a coach, including two trips to the state championship game at Salpointe Catholic in the 1990s. He also played for Sahuaro\u2019s 1981 state championship team. In 2016-17, Peabody coached Pima Community College to its most victories since 1992, won the Region 1 championship, and led the Aztecs to seventh place in the NJCAA championships.

Robbie Moen. Twice an All-Pac-10 outfielder at Arizona, batting .402 in 1991, Moen was a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays for seven years. At Flowing Wells High School, he hit .473 and was the 1989 Arizona Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was also an all-city wide receiver. Moen later coached baseball at Kansas State and Loyola-Marymount.

Dick Tomey. In 14 years at Arizona, 1987-2000, Tomey\u2019s football teams won a school-record 95 games, including the top season in school history, 12-1, in 1998, when Arizona finished No. 4 nationally. Tomey\u2019s teams of 1992, 1993 and 1994 were known as \u201cDesert Swarm,\u201d defenses that led the nation in rushing defense and scoring defense. His 1993 team, 10-2, beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl and finished tied for first place in the Pac-10, the school\u2019s top finish since joining the league in 1978.

"}, {"id":"2bdb301c-4006-11e7-9a41-17cd74279d23","type":"article","starttime":"1495578060","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-23T15:21:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495583057","priority":45,"sections":[{"pascoe":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona basketball: Well-traveled Kadeem Allen visits Lakers","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/article_2bdb301c-4006-11e7-9a41-17cd74279d23.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/arizona-basketball-well-traveled-kadeem-allen-visits-lakers/article_2bdb301c-4006-11e7-9a41-17cd74279d23.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/arizona-basketball-well-traveled-kadeem-allen-visits-lakers/article_2bdb301c-4006-11e7-9a41-17cd74279d23.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"And is Emmanuel Akot really a point guard in the making?","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats basketball","emmanuel akot","sean miller","kadeem allen","parker jackson-cartwright","allonzo trier","rawle alkins"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#toptwo","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"598de10a-4009-11e7-b147-13a7ac970cae","description":"Kadeem Allen worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.","byline":"Courtesy Los Angeles Lakers","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/png","width":"1010","height":"574","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/98/598de10a-4009-11e7-b147-13a7ac970cae/5924bb846a6bf.image.png?resize=1010%2C574"},"100": {"type":"image/png","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/98/598de10a-4009-11e7-b147-13a7ac970cae/5924bb846a6bf.image.png?crop=1010%2C568%2C0%2C2&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/png","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/98/598de10a-4009-11e7-b147-13a7ac970cae/5924bb846a6bf.image.png?crop=1010%2C568%2C0%2C2&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/png","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/98/598de10a-4009-11e7-b147-13a7ac970cae/5924bb846a6bf.image.png?crop=1010%2C568%2C0%2C2"}}}],"revision":15,"commentID":"2bdb301c-4006-11e7-9a41-17cd74279d23","body":"

During the NBA Combine, Kadeem Allen said he had plans to work out for 15 NBA teams before the June 22 NBA Draft.

That\u2019s pretty ambitious -- and tiring, as he pointed out to Los Angeles media following his workout with the Lakers on Tuesday.

\u201cBeen through a lot of workouts and flying,\u201d Allen said on a video posted to the Lakers' website. \u201cEast Coast to West Coast, your body gets tired. It\u2019s just a grind but everybody\u2019s trying to get to the NBA so it\u2019s something we have to do.\u201d

Allen, however, said the experience has been fun and in Los Angeles, of course, he had the chance to meet with fellow UA alum Luke Walton and Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

\u201cIt\u2019s fun playing in front of Arizona guys, especially a head coach like him, and Magic,\u201d Allen said. \u201cTwo Hall of Famers \u2013 coach Luke is going to be a Hall of Famer in the future. It was great (meeting Johnson). Never thought I\u2019d meet him.\u201d

One of the lingering questions from Monday\u2019s Sean Miller news conference was how the Wildcats\u2019 point guard situation could play out \u2013 especially since he mentioned that 6-foot-7 incoming freshman Emmanuel Akot might even play it.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright likely will head into the season as the starter, but Miller said Akot, Alex Barcello and Allonzo Trier could play the position, too.

\u201cThat\u2019s yet to be worked out,\u201d Miller said. \u201cI think Emmanuel Akot can certainly do that. He\u2019s very young right now but his future might be at that position one day. Allonzo Trier can slide over there as a veteran, somebody who continues to work to be adept at passing and scoring, and the thing about Allonzo is he has a total command of our system, and he\u2019s a great free-throw shooter. So a lot of time you want the ball in a guy like that\u2019s hands.

\u201cBut Parker is somebody who\u2019s played that position four four years. I\u2019m hoping he can get a year of good health from start to finish and he\u2019s working really hard right now\u2026 if you look at his shooting in the Pac-12 the last two years and his assist-turnover ratio, it\u2019s nice to have somebody returning who\u2019s already done that. And he has one more level he can be at as a player and we\u2019re talking to him about that every day to get to that level. He\u2019s bound and determined to do it.

\u201cSo certainly him and Alex, as you know, can play point or with a point guard, he\u2019s a freshman who we really believe in.\"

Of course, not all of those four will settle in there. Last season, UA entered with Jackson-Cartwright and Kobi Simmons penciled in as primary point guards, but was prompted to move Allen over and keep Simmons off the ball as the nonconference season played out.

\"Depth wise it\u2019ll work it out,\" Miller said. \"You can\u2019t play four guys at that position, but I think the two best will be there and we\u2019ll go from there.\u201d

Miller also mentioned Trier as a possibility when asked who might take the defensive stopper role next season. Here\u2019s how he answered that one:

\u201cThat\u2019s a great question. We have a lot of candidates, some are maybe young players, but \u2026 you look at Allonzo, Parker, Rawle and especially Allonzo, he has several levels left in him as a defensive player \u2013 talent-wise, the know-how, the ability to really guard a variety of different players.

\u201cEven someone like Rawle knows about the importance of being able to defend, not just play offense. Not until you leave Arizona do you realize the importance of that. Rawle, some of the feedback he got was about the importance of being able to guard a position in the NBA. \u2026 the exciting part for us is we don't have that worked out right now. We\u2019ll know more as we get into November.\u201d

Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday are withdrawing from the NBA Draft pool and returning to UCLA, preventing Steve Alford from completely having to remake his rotation.

After his NBA predraft experience, Utah's David Collette is trying to expand his game.

Kavell Bigby-Williams is still a Duck, at least for now.

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