Arizona’s new uniforms are lighter and have improved breathability and flexibility.

Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Now back among college basketball’s elite, Arizona is borrowing from the Wildcats who were there over a decade ago.

UA introduced five new basketball uniforms Wednesday for the 2014-15 season that mix new technology with inspiration from the Lute Olson era, using the same font and similar side trim as the Wildcats wore during their national championship run in 1997.

Gone are the multi-color shoulder stripes on recent UA uniforms, and a solid trim up and down the sides has been added back. Both the 90s-era and current shorts are about knee-high.

Whereas the late-90s Wildcats wore thick double stripes on the hemline of their shorts and thin red and white stripes around the neck, the new unis have a solid stripe around the neck and, on the bottom of the shorts, have a thick line in the trim color that is broken up with a pinstripe.

The backs of the jerseys, meanwhile, feature an expanded cactus-based “aerographic” that blends in, replacing the smaller version the Wildcats wore last season.

More practically, the new uniforms are lighter, with improved breathability and flexibility.

They are a mix of clean and new with old and traditional.

“Our entire team is excited about receiving these new uniforms,” senior guard T.J. McConnell said in a UA statement. “Not only are they going to look great, but the technology that went into making them will benefit us on the court. So many great players in Arizona history wore similar uniforms, and it’s nice to be able to honor them while we try to do some of the same great things on the court.”

The uniforms give the Wildcats more options than ever. At home, they can wear a white set with red trim, a white set with blue trim or even a gray set with blue and red trim. On the road, there is blue with red trim, and red with blue trim, while the grays can also be worn away from home.

All of the uniforms feature the full name “Arizona” on the chest, along with “Cats” on the side of the shorts, as they traditionally have. In 2011-12, the Wildcats briefly wore a gray set of uniforms with the word “Zona” on them, as part of a Nike promotion with teams who had won national championships.

While the new Nike Elite Fit 2.0 uniforms may not make the Wildcats jump higher or run faster, they just might make them feel better. UA says the jerseys will be more durable and feature more flexible armholes. The shorts are 66 percent lighter, have better ventilation and a fuller hemline for added mobility.

Rim shots

  • Sporting News’ annual preseason basketball yearbook has put Arizona on top of its preseason Top 25. Utah, at No. 20, is the only other Pac-12 team SN ranked.
  • Las Vegas big man Stephen Zimmerman, one of UA’s top remaining 2015 targets, has scheduled a Sept. 10 in-home visit with Arizona, according to Zimmerman is scheduled to visit the UA campus Nov. 7.
  • USC’s Nikola Jovanovich, Utah’s Jeremy Olsen and Washington’s Andrew Andrews scored in double figures during the Pac-12’s 73-47 win over Chinese university all-stars during the first game of the conference’s exhibition tour. Walk-on guard Jacob Hazzard is representing UA on the tour but did not play in the game.

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball