- Lost in the clutter of Arizona’s anticipated early-season basketball schedule is a Monday, Nov. 11 home game against Long Beach State. It is officially the “Fiesta Bowl Classic” game, minus a banquet and the fanfare of those remarkable post-Christmas tournaments that included Duke, Michigan, Florida, Michigan State and Purdue. This year, Arizona doesn’t play a game from Christmas to New Year’s for the first time since 1959. As much as athletic director Greg Byrne has difficulty finding a suitable home football opponent, the Preseason NIT foraged for seemingly forever before persuading Metro State, Rhode Island and Fairleigh Dickinson to be designated-victims in Arizona’s home games Nov. 18-19. The games were then given dismal start times of 9 p.m. on a Monday and a Tuesday. As the Star’s Bruce Pascoe reported, the UA had to pay a total of $461,000 to get Southern, New Mexico State, Long Beach State, Cal Poly and NAU to visit McKale Center this year. The NIT pays the teams involved in that field.
- Sean Miller’s 2009-10 grad assistant, Luke Murray, will return to McKale as part of Rhode Island’s coaching staff. He is the son of actor Bill Murray.
- As part of a video series with CBS’s Seth Davis, former Wildcat All-Pac-12 forward Luke Walton last week told collegeinsider.com that “basketball has allowed me to be a kid long enough; it’s time for me to grow up.” Walton, 33, has earned an estimated $33.9 million in the NBA, and is a free agent. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Denver Nuggets sign him as an 11th or 12th man; his attitude and acumen would benefit any contender. Walton is close friends with Denver president Josh Kroenke, who attended Walton’s recent wedding celebration in Aspen, Colo.
- Friday was a special football night for Catalina Foothills coach Jeff Scurran. His young team improved to 3-1 by whipping Sahuarita 51-6. Simultaneously, his 1990 state championship team at Sabino was inducted into the Sabercats’ Hall of Fame. His wife, Joan Scurran, represented him at Sabino, along with Patty Green, widow of Jeff Green, a long-time assistant coach at the UA, Sabino and Pima College, among others. Those from the 1990 Sabercats who attended were Greg Tellam and Cole Ford, who played at USC.
Fiesta Bowl Classic no longer a must-see event
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