Wildcats basketball logo

When Sean Miller played college basketball in the early 1990s, the UA coach says, a guy of Derrick Williams' size was often the norm for power forwards and centers.

But the 240 pounds on Williams' 6-foot-8-inch frame don't quite look the same today.

"Now he's small," Miller said. "It's just a different game."

Miller's belief is a major reason why he and wife Amy pledged $250,000 toward what was formally dedicated as the Cole and Jeannie Davis Strength and Conditioning center Monday night inside the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

Miller said in remarks at the ceremonial podium that "winning a national championship in 2011 is different than winning one in 2000," underlining his belief in how quickly the need for better strength training has developed.

The Millers' gift then attracted a $2.65 million pledge from Cole and Jeannie Davis, and the funds were allocated toward a $2.9 million project that includes the Wildcats' new men's basketball locker room and planned hallway renovations. The conditioning center represents about half the project's total cost.

"They're the guys who really made this happen," Cole Davis said of the Millers. "It was their vision."

Already, the Davises had pledged $1million to name a practice court inside the "RJ" after former UA women's player Shawntinice Polk. Cole Davis said he and his wife were glad to help give the Wildcats the tools to be successful, and there were no doubts the gift was appreciated.

The three Wildcat teams that practice in the RJ - the men's and women's basketball teams and the volleyball team - will now have the convenience of working out on weight and aerobic machines in the same facility.

They also will be using machines customized to bigger frames and a more basketball-specific style of weight-lifting favored by UA strength and conditioning coach Chris Rounds.

Which means Williams can actually break a real stride on a treadmill and work out more effectively.

"The bikes and the treadmills are made for people over 6-5," Williams said. "Every single weight that I've done, and every machine, I've gone up in weight since we started. It's smoother, and there's no distractions. It's good for us."

During a series of brief speeches at the podium, UA women's player Davellyn Whyte said she also appreciated the facility's lack of distraction while volleyball coach Dave Rubio expressed gratitude that his team no longer has to lift at McKale Center and then walk to Bear Down Gym for practice.

"There was always a facility issue," Rubio said.

Not anymore.

Lighter look

Williams said his injured right pinkie has improved, and he tweeted after Arizona's 71-49 loss at UCLA that it was the "last game with that stuff on my hand."

However, Williams still is likely to wear at least a less-intrusive bandage this week against Oregon State and Oregon that offers some protection but more mobility.

Wildcats slip to 18

UA fell eight spots in both major college basketball polls Monday to No.18 in The Associated Press Top 25 media poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches Top 25 poll.

The Wildcats were No. 10 in each poll last week but lost at both USC and UCLA over the weekend.

Stat leaders

For all their problems last weekend, the Wildcats still managed to hold USC and UCLA to a combined 3 for 21 from beyond the arc.

As a result, Arizona ranked second nationally in three-point percentage defense in NCAA statistics released Monday. UA has held teams to just 27.4percent from three-point range, behind only New Orleans (27.1).

Cal Poly is third at 27.8, and West Virginia is fourth at 28.1.

Additionally, the Wildcats are 13th overall in three-point shooting at 40.1 (their instate cousins at NAU are first at 43.1).

While Williams has not shot enough to qualify for the individual leaders in three-point shooting (62.2 percent), he's seventh in overall field-goal percentage at 60.9.

Rim shots

• USC's Nikola Vucevic was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 22.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in the Trojans' wins over UA and ASU.

• The Wildcats' game against Oregon on Saturday will be shown to 65percent of the country on CBS, with the Midwest and parts of Florida getting Michigan-Michigan State instead.

• UA forward Kevin Parrom turned 20 on Monday.

Up next

• Who: Oregon State at Arizona

• When: 7 p.m. Thursday


• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)