Shortly after Arizona walloped its second opponent in a row, two Wildcat legends shared a special moment.
Lute Olson emerged from his courtside seat and walked by the television announcers’ table, where Sean Elliott was seated. Elliott, a Fox Sports 1 announcer, spotted his former coach and blew him a kiss. Olson winked back.
“Without his teaching, I wouldn’t be the player I was in college and in the NBA, and I wouldn’t have this job as well,” Elliott said.
The Cholla High School grad, who averaged 19.2 points in his Arizona career and scored 22.3 points per game during the Wildcats’ Sweet 16 run in 1988-89, treasures his chalk talks with the venerable coach.
That’s where he learned about the nuances of the game, Elliot said.
“A lot of the announcing — a lot of that comes from watching tape with Coach over and over again and learning the game,” Elliott said. “He’s meant a lot to me and so many other players.”
Once again on Friday morning, they showed their appreciation.
Elliott, who won three conference championships during his college career, said he and several former Arizona players, including Harvey Mason, Luke Walton and Matt Othick, had breakfast with Olson.
Apparently there are some perks to being a legendary coach.
Olson was originally seated in the second row of regular seating for the Wildcats’ win over Colorado before being moved courtside across from the Colorado bench.
Less than 10 minutes after taking his seat, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott strolled over and slid in right next to him.
Oh, to be king.
Getting his props
Olson wasn’t the only one to swing by Elliott’s front-row seat.
NBA legend and ESPN announcer Bill Walton came by and gave him a thumbs up before going in for the handshake and sharing a moment.
According to NameStatistics.com, there are roughly 15,925 people named Xavier in the United States, or 0.013 percent of the male population. That would rank the name 587th among male names in the country.
So it’s quite strange to see two in the Colorado starting lineup alone.
The Buffaloes start Xavier Johnson and Xavier Talton, though Johnson makes much more of a statistical impact than his teammate.
Johnson scored 11 points on Friday, and averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 boards in the team’s first two conference tournament wins after averaging 12.1 point and 6.0 rebounds during the regular season. Talton had eight points on Friday after averaging 8.5 — with 13 on Thursday against Cal — and three rebounds in the two previous wins.
Want more coincidences?
UA coach Sean Miller’s former school?
Arizona favorite Luke Walton was inducted into the Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor, along with 11 other conference heroes, on Friday afternoon.
Walton, the only player in UA history to score 1,000 points and log 500 rebounds and 500 assists, was honored alongside conference legends such as UCLA’s Tyus Edney, Washington’s Brandon Roy and Utah’s Billy McGill.
Walton must remember the conference tournament fondly — he did, after all, win the 2002 Pac-10 tournament MVP after leading the Wildcats to the championship.
Tweet of the night
“I really hate to say this but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson appears to be a goner. Every rebound every amazing dunk=first-round pick 2014 draft.” — @BruceTennen
Arizona not only stunned Colorado defensively — the Wildcats held an opponent to sub-30-percent shooting for the second straight game — but the team also turned up the offense in the second half. Arizona outshot the Buffaloes by 37.3 percent for the half: 60 percent to 22.7 percent.