BASKETBALL

Arizona basketball seen and heard

2012-11-12T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:13:00Z Arizona basketball seen and heardPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 12, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Voice change

If you closed your eyes Sunday, McKale Center sounded like a different place.

New announcers were everywhere during UA's 82-73 opening win over Charleston Southern.

Jody Oehler, the host of a drive-time radio sports talk show, "Happy Hour," sat in as the Wildcats' public address announcer.

It was a first for Oehler, who has served as the Arizona Stadium football PA guy the past few years.

He had never called a men's or women's basketball game.

Oehler filled in for regular announcer Jonathan Norris, who had a previous family engagement.

"It was fun," Oehler said with a smile. "It's talking into a microphone, which is the one discernable thing I'm qualified to do."

Joking aside, he said calling basketball was different than football.

"You can hear everything that's going on, and there's a lot less play-by-play for me," he said. "It's definitely a unique experience."

Norris will be back Thursday for UA's home game against UTEP at 8 p.m.

More change

The television and radio booths were different, too.

The Wildcats made their Pac-12 Networks debut Sunday, with a familiar voice in a different place.

Regular radio color commentator Matt Muehlebach, who played at the UA from 1988-1991, did the same job for the Pac-12 Networks. He said television was different than radio.

"You have to really be aware," he said. "There's more going on."

Producers are "in your ear," too, giving announcers information, he said. He worked ASU's 79-64 win over Central Arkansas in his TV debut Saturday.

Sunday marked the first of five Pac-12 Networks conflicts Muehlebach will have with his regular radio duties.

In his place sat Ryan Hansen, the former UA color commentator.

Hansen has spent the last year or so at Bon Voyage Travel after working for the UA athletic department for 19 years. From 1997-2009, he was a regular on the UA's radio broadcasts.

Muehlebach took over for Hansen in 2009.

Huh?

Charleston Southern is in Northern Charleston, S.C. Seriously.

The school was founded in 1964, affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. While it since dropped the Baptist name, it kept the reference to the American South.

The school boasts about 3,300 students and sits on 300 acres of what used to be a rice and indigo plantation.

Famous graduates include South Carolina Republican congressman Tim Scott and New York Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell.

The big number

3 - International players who started for the Buccaneers: forward Mathiang Muo (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), center Allie Fullah (London, England) and forward Paul Gombwer (Kaduna, Nigeria). The other two starters were Georgian - from the state, not the country.

Quotable

"Green and blue shoes! Maybe that's the problem! Why not red and blue?"

A courtside fan critical of freshman forward Brandon Ashley's green and navy low-top basketball kicks

Celeb watch

The Arizona Wildcats welcomed back two famous athletes on Saturday.

Sitting courtside was former UA basketball star Michael Dickerson. Now 37, Dickerson played on the Wildcats' 1997 national championship team before being drafted No. 14 overall by the Houston Rockets. Dickerson made his name, and fortune, with the Vancouver and Memphis Grizzlies.

Terry Francona, the former all-world baseball player at the UA, sat in the last row of blue seats behind the Wildcats' bench. The former Boston Red Sox skipper was named the Cleveland Indians' manager Oct. 6 after spending the past season as an ESPN analyst.

Another big number

4,202 - Miles traveled by Charleston Southern on the team's two-game, four-night road trip. The Buccaneers played Charlotte on Friday.

Desert

Mathiang Muo has lived a lot of different places - he was born in Sudan, then lived in Egypt for two years before moving to Sydney, Australia.

The Charleston Southern forward started playing hoops at 13 in Australia.

"The neighborhood I moved in, there was a park," he said. "I went there and watched kids play, and fell in love with it and never stopped playing."

He enrolled at College of Central Florida and later Charleston Southern.

Asked if Tucson reminded him of Egypt, he smiled.

"A little bit," he said.

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