Seen & heard at the Pac-12 tournament

2013-03-17T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:09:26Z Seen & heard at the Pac-12 tournamentPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Gardner honored

Jason Gardner watched two Arizona Wildcats basketball games in person this week, the first time he'd done that since he wore a jersey.

The former star point guard came to Las Vegas to catch up with friends and to be honored Saturday by the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Hall of Honor. When he heard the UA throng lead the same cheers he heard as a player, Gardner couldn't help but get excited.

"My heart's pounding, my underarms are sweating," he said.

Gardner, now an assistant at Loyola of Chicago, said it was "amazing" to be alongside the league's other 11 inductees.

Watching the Wildcats is "different" now that he's a coach.

"Just how I look at the game," he said.

The seven-year European player was inducted in a ceremony before Saturday night's Pac-12 championship game, and was honored again at midcourt during a timeout. Commissioner Larry Scott gave Gardner a replica UA jersey.

More honorees

The Pac-12 honored 11 other former players:

• ASU guard Dennis Hamilton (1963-66)

• Cal wing Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996)

• Colorado center Cliff Meely (1968-71)

• Oregon guard Chuck Rask (1958-60)

• Oregon State forward Charlie Sitton (1981-84)

• Stanford guard Ron Tomsic (1951-55)

• UCLA guard Lucius Allen (1967-68)

• USC coach Forrest Twogood (1951-66)

• Utah forward Keith Van Horn (1994-97)

• Washington guard Nate Robinson (2003-05)

• Washington State forward Jim McKean (1965-68)

Well-attended

This week's Pac-12 tournament was a more attractive - and more successful - draw than last year at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Here's a breakdown of the day-by-day tournament attendance:

Session 1: This year: 7,451 (last year: 5,873)

Session 2: 8,566 (last year: 6,747)

Session 3: 12,915 (last year: 8,780)

Session 4: 10,566 (last year: 9,317)

Session 5: 13,151 (last year: 11,615)

Session 6: 11,101 (last year: 11,197)

Waltonisms!

Bill Walton called the championship game on ESPN after spending the week working for Pac-12 Networks. The league tracked some of the former UCLA legend's famously over-the-top sayings all week long.

We narrowed them down to our favorites from the Arizona Wildcats' loss to UCLA:

"One man gathers what another man spills."

- Quoting the Grateful Dead on UCLA Kyle Anderson, who finished the game with five steals.

"Up-and-down action, finally. Solomon Hill says, 'There is nothing you can do about this. In your face!'"

- On Solomon Hill's dunk vs. UCLA

"When I'm playing basketball, I want as little on me as possible. I want a tank top. I want a pair of shorts. I want two pairs of socks and a pair of shoes."

- On UCLA's strange uniforms Thursday

Quotable

"We love you, Jordan!"

- A sign held in the Bruins' student section. Jordan Adams sat on the end of the UCLA bench with a boot on his right foot after breaking it Friday night against UA.

The big number

2 UCLA coach Ben Howland received the second coaching technical of the tournament after spiking his jacket in the first half. Fans had created a GIF of it by halftime.

Ka!

Saturday night's game came with a halftime show: a performance from Ka, the Cirque du Soleil show that's based at MGM Grand.

Two acrobats - a man and a woman - twirled from a rope suspended down from the rafters of the arena. A lone bassist - who performed the national anthem earlier - plucked along. The best moment? When the woman was held 40 feet in the air by only the guy's feet.

All week long, the tournament featured performances by the cast of Jersey Boys, a Motown cover group and Boyz II Men, among others.

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