UA HOOPS

Arizona basketball: Seen & heard in Los Angeles

2013-02-28T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:33:10Z Arizona basketball: Seen & heard in Los AngelesPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In the house

Derrick Williams, the Arizona Wildcats star who was taken second in the NBA draft two years ago, sat about 15 rows behind the Wildcats bench.

Williams' team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, practiced in El Segundo, Calif., on Wednesday and will play the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.

Williams spent Monday night in downtown Tucson at his new apparel store, VII Grand.

Lakers forward Jordan Hill, another former UA star, landed in Los Angeles on Wednesday and headed toward the Galen Center. Hill was diagnosed with a hip injury in January and is out for the remainder of the season. Hill hung out outside the Wildcats' locker room after the game, catching up with friends.

He was joined by former UA forward Isaiah Fox and former forward Dennis Latimore. Fox, a Santa Monica, Calif., native played for Lute Olson from 2001 to 2006.

Latimore played for Lute Olson from 2001 to 2003 before leaving the team and landing at Notre Dame.

Three former UA managers sat behind the Wildcats' bench, too, after saying hello to team staff an hour or so before the game.

The big number

5

Teams to play 12 or more top-50 RPI teams as of Sunday: Kansas, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin and … USC.

Huh?

Entering Wednesday night's game, Mark Lyons had missed five free throws all month.

Against the Trojans, he missed four in the first half.

What gives?

Consider this: The senior point guard had missed only 15 freebies all season.

At 86 percent on the season, Lyons was the best free-throw shooter in the Pac-12 entering Wednesday night's game.

Quotable

"We shot really well. I couldn't be happier for our guys right now. It gives us a lot of confidence."

USC coach Bob Cantu

Music majors

We learned something about USC before the game even started: The school offers a pop music degree.

A pop music major sang the national anthem before the game. The USC Thornton School of Music began the pop music degree in 2009 because, according to its website, "it recognized the opportunity to address the needs of musicians who did not fit the traditional classical and jazz offerings that are typical in most university music programs." Twenty-five students enrolled.

The Wildcats, of course, would counter with their minor in hip-hop, which was recently added to the school's Africana Studies program.

Another big number

25-31

Arizona's record at USC

Another quotable

"They mean the world to me. You never know when you'll stop playing basketball … I'm going to go out there and produce and do well. I might shed a tear or two."

USC forward Eric Wise, on Wednesday about playing his final home game Saturday against Arizona State

Tweet of the Day

"Hey #USC, let us know when you're ready to compete with the big student sections. #TooLegitToQuit" - From the UA student section, Zona Zoo (@ZonaZooOfficial)

LA Love?

Remember when the likes of Kyle Fogg, Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill talked about the pressures of returning to Southern California to play in front of their friends and family?

Turns out, it ain't no joke.

Solomon Hill left the Galen Center on Wednesday night after taking his third loss in four years. The Los Angeles native is 1-2 against UCLA, too, with the finale coming at new Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.

Wednesday's loss was no fault of Hill's; he finished with 21 points.

Hill didn't give the locale any thought.

"It doesn't matter the city," he said. "It's matters the situation."

No One

USC public address announcer Petros Papadakis, a local radio show host and former Trojans football player, helped guide fans through the music selection Wednesday night.

USC let fans vote for one of three choices: '90s two hip-hop songs and a tune by boy band One Direction.

"I think we can all agree" not to vote for One Direction, Papadakis said.

And they didn't: "Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team won.

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