Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was in Tucson last week to attend his first game at McKale Center, a dreaded 9 p.m. start to accommodate ESPN2.
The UA announced a capacity crowd, 14,564, which was amazing considering it was snowing and Montana-type cold outside. No other team in the league would've sold out that game, especially against a second-division squad like Washington.
To his credit, Scott delivered on his promise to broadcast every Pac-12 conference game; last year, many games were not.
The give-and-take of televising so many games is that it requires late tips, Wednesday games and Sunday games. Sometimes, as with Saturday night's ASU-Washington game, a 9 p.m. start in Tempe, it's a bit extreme.
Arizona gets its first Wednesday-Saturday trip this week at USC and UCLA, following a Thursday-Sunday visit to Colorado and Utah earlier this month.
"I don't like the new scheduling," UA senior forward Solomon Hill told me in Salt Lake City. "We're gone way too long. I've got class. I'm still a student-athlete, you know. But I guess they'll do just about anything for TV."
It's far too late to change the TV-dictates-policy routine. You can see it every week in the Pac-12.
Last week, Colorado announced it has begun a $170 million fundraising campaign to totally remake the school's dated football facilities.
A few days earlier, Oregon confirmed its assistant football coaches will be paid more than $3 million this year. Get this: the Ducks are paying tight ends coach Tom Osborne $367,584.
And don't forget that the Pac-12 championship game, March 16 in Las Vegas, begins at 8 p.m. Tucson time.
Lack of postseason games stops Whyte from mark
UA senior guard Davellyn Whyte improved her career scoring total to 1,989 after last week's historic triple-double in a loss against Arizona State. Adia Barnes' school record 2,237 is out of reach because Whyte is unlikely to get an extended run in the postseason with a non-contending Wildcat team. Entering today's rematch against ASU, Whyte had played on UA teams that had gone 60-60; Barnes played on Joan Bonvicini's Arizona teams of the mid-90s that had successive years of 22-8, 23-8 and 23-7, all resulting in NCAA appearances. Barnes is now an assistant coach at Washington. … Amphi wrestling coach Sam Portillo, who has become a regular figure on the USA Wrestling staff, was in Cuba last week, helping Team USA win six medals in Havana. Wonder if he brought back any cigars? … Former UA point guard MoMo Jones entered the weekend with a 22.9 scoring average at Iona, No. 3 nationally. Jones told the New York Daily News last week that his life and lifestyle have changed with the birth of his 9-month old son, Jace. "I don't feel I'm the same person on the court anymore," said Jones, whose team is a distant fifth in the MAAC standings. "In the past I was always the rowdy guy, screaming and yelling and pumping my chest whenever we made a basket. Now there's no need for that. I've grown up. I don't need to act like a child. Jace has helped me in that way." … If you watched any of ESPN's coverage of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Drive4COPD 300, you might've noticed Tucsonan Alex Bowman's shiny yellow Toyota Camry. The name featured prominently on the bumper of Bowman's car said, "Daymond John's Shark Branding." John, a regular on the financial TV reality series "Shark Tank," has taken a bold leap into NASCAR to sponsor the Ironwood Ridge High School grad. John's previous forays into entertainment/sports were to sponsor boxer Lennox Lewis and rapper Pitbull. This isn't your grandpa's auto racing. Bowman will be in Arizona on Saturday to race at the Dollar General 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. … Former Salpointe Catholic offensive lineman and All-Pac-12 USC center Kris O'Dowd was a spectator at the ongoing WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships this week. O'Dowd's football career - he had tryouts with the Cardinals and Seahawks in 2011 and 2012 - is apparently over. He expects to begin a job in commercial real estate in Los Angeles next month.
More Short Stuff
Cholla, Cochise big man racks up offers from 4-year schools
Cholla High School grad Ajak Magot, a 6-foot 11-inch sophomore at Cochise College, has scholarship offers from Idaho State, Idaho, Stephen F. Austin, Portland State and Coppin State. He's a defensive force for coach Jerry Carrillo's Apaches, who enter the ACCAC playoffs this week at 25-5. The native of Sudan averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds this season. … Cochise ended its regular season with a 99-59 victory over Pima College on Friday. It's amazing how far PCC's men's basketball program has tumbled since coaches Karl Pieroway and Jim Rosborough took it to a seventh-place finish in the NJCAA just three years ago. The Aztecs finished 1-21 in the ACCAC, ending with 18 consecutive losses. … Tucson High grad Sama Taku is having a strong season at Pacific, helping the Tigers into second place in the Big West Conference. The sophomore point guard went 10 for 10 from the foul line in a win over Hawaii last week and is averaging 8.5 points for the NCAA tournament-hopeful Tigers. … Brian Peabody, who coached Providence's Bryce Cotton, Arizona's Matt Korcheck, Indiana State's Brandon Burnett and Nevada's Michael Perez on his Tucson Heat AAU basketball team, will hold tryouts for the 2013 club next Saturday and Sunday at La Paloma Academy. Players currently in the eighth, ninth and 10th grades will play from noon to 1:30 p.m. High school juniors and seniors will try out from 1:30-3 p.m. … Santa Rita grad Terrell Stoglin, who leads Greece's EuroLeague in scoring at 24.9 points per game, had his first off night, missing all nine three-pointers he attempted last week against Greece AGOR, scoring just eight points overall.
Sunnyside boys matter again, thanks to new coach Harrison
Looking for someone to nominate for Tucson's prep basketball coach of the year? How about first-year Sunnyside boys coach Rob Harrison? His first Blue Devils team went 19-10 and won a game in the state playoffs. Sunnyside was 39-88 in the five seasons before Harrison took charge; he previously coached four Cienega girls basketball teams to an 82-27 record. Harrison has made Sunnyside hoops relevant again, which it has struggled to be since Hall of Famer Dwight Rees' teams of the '80s and '90s. … Pro golf is so brutally competitive at the highest levels that the ongoing Web.com Tour in Panama includes 10 players who appeared in the Accenture Match Play: Woody Austin, Daniel Chopra, Heath Slocum, Alex Cejka, Ryuji Imada, Mathew Goggin, Rich Beem, Briny Baird, Todd Hamilton and Len Mattiace. Getting in the Top 64 rankings is tough; remaining there is tougher. … UA football coach Rich Rodriguez begins spring practice Saturday. It ends April 13 with the annual spring game at 1 p.m. at Kindall/Sancet Stadium. The Pac-12 Networks will cover the game live, part of its commitment to televise spring games and attendant festivities of every conference team. Almost like the SEC, huh?
Aztecs' dominant 6-5 center Edwards yet to pick a college
Named the ACCAC Division II Player of the Year on Saturday morning, Pima College sophomore A'jha Edwards was a state championship shot putter at Tombstone High School. She has made her mark as the Aztecs' dominant basketball center. Incredibly, she has 19 double-doubles this season, capped by Friday's 17-point, 21-rebound performance against Cochise College, ending a week in which she was chosen the NJCAA national Player of the Week. What makes Edwards' performance more impressive is that she averages just 23 minutes per game and yet leads the NJCAA in rebounds at 13.2 per game and is fourth in the nation with a .605 field goal percentage. She has yet to make a four-year college choice. … Preston Guilmet, the 2007 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year at Arizona, is in his first major league spring training camp, with the Cleveland Indians. He has 59 saves in the last two minor league seasons and is likely to open at Triple A Akron. How'd he spend his off-season? Giving pitching lessons in his hometown, Rocklin, Calif. … Flowing Wells girls basketball coach Michael Perkins could've walked away, retired on top, when the Cabs won the 2008 state championship with an epic 33-1 season. Much to his credit, he stuck with it, rebuilding through some difficult seasons, 2-20 and 4-20, and Saturday capped a two-year run of 56-9, by reaching the state title game again, losing to Scottsdale Saguaro. That's the kind of high school coaching I grew up with, in a different generation. It's rewarding to watch Perkins exhibit that it's not all about winning.
My Two Cents
Say it ain't so, Joe: Broadcaster Garagiola retires from booth
Joe Garagiola made his Tucson debut in 1964, emceeing the Tucson Conquistadores' annual Sports Award Banquet. In 1976, NBC made him the face of the Tucson Open, renaming it the Joe Garagiola Tucson Open.
The Hall of Fame baseball announcer parted ways with Tucson in 1983, when the PGA Tour implemented the Seiko-Tucson Match Play Championships at Randolph Park.
We loved Joe and he embraced us. We named a park after him adjacent to the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. He brought all of his famous friends to our golf tournament, especially Yogi Berra. And when he became part of the Diamondbacks' broadcasting crew, it felt like we had one of our own in the booth.
Garagiola, 87, announced his retirement from broadcasting last week - I already miss him.
When he took charge of the Tucson Open in 1976, he said, "I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning who did come downstairs to find a pony.''
We know, Joe. We felt the same way.