Hansen Sunday Notebook: Cordes in 'comfort zone'

UA, Ford Aquatics give US champion reason to stay put
2013-06-30T00:00:00Z 2013-08-17T22:15:45Z Hansen Sunday Notebook: Cordes in 'comfort zone'Greg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Kevin Cordes won U. S. swimming championships in the 100 and 200 breast stroke finals last week, owns two American records, is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 200 and is the reigning NCAA male Swimmer of the Year.

Time for the UA junior-to-be to go pro, right?

"I know they have their eyes on him," said UA swim coach Eric Hansen. "It's pretty mind-boggling what he's done."

But the UA swimming program and its attendant Ford Aquatics post-grads organization are among the most productive in the world. Why leave now to swim independently?

Cordes, an honor student with a 3.6 GPA, has daily access to an acupuncturist and a massage therapist via UA swimming. His day-to-day competition, against Olympians such as Clark Burckle and Matt Grevers, provides a training advantage.

"This is Kevin's comfort zone," said Hansen. "Right now, there's nothing to be gained for Kevin to go pro. I expect he'll do that after his senior year, 2015, when he really starts getting prepared for the 2016 Olympics. The clock works just right for him."

It's unlikely the UA ever had three individual athletes of the skill and accomplishments of Cordes, high jumper Brigetta Barrett and distance-runner Lawi Lalang in a calendar year, as it did in 2012-13.

It's impossible to pick the better athlete among the three; combined they've won eight NCAA titles this year, indoor and outdoor, and were undefeated against collegiate competition.

What are the odds of that ever happening at Arizona again?

NBA 2nd-rounder faces big odds

Track record for 40th picks doesn't bode well for Jerrett

When Grant Jerrett became the 40th pick in the NBA draft last week, it put him in some not-so-elite company.

Of the previous 13 men chosen with the 40th pick this century, only one, the Bucks' Monta Ellis, has become star-level, full-time NBA regular in multiple seasons.

Here's the list, starting in 2000: Hanno Mottola; Jamison Brewer; Mario Kasun; Derrick Zimmerman; Justin Reed; Ellis; Denham Brown; Sun Yue; Chris Douglas-Roberts; Derrick Brown; Lance Stephenson; Jon Leuer; Will Barton.

Seven of those men are now playing in Europe. The player who most closely resembles Jerrett's style of play, as an outside-shooting power forward, is Leuer, a former All-Big Ten player at Wisconsin. Leuer, a slightly-built, 6-10 shooter, stayed four years at Wisconsin and has already played for three NBA teams, another in the D-League, and has a career average of 3.7.

Jerrett's most likely destination in 2013-14 is Oklahoma City's D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers. Here's how secure that life is: The 66ers played 50 games last year and made 104 personnel transactions.

Short Stuff

Ex-Sabercat Tolzman now on Toronto Raptors staff

There aren't many better success stories in Tucson sports than that of former Sabino basketball standout Dan Tolzman. After a strong basketball career at low-level Minnesota-Morris, he moved to Denver and wrote for Nuggets.com, an online site connected to the NBA. He later was hired to work as a statistician and PR guy for the Nuggets and worked his way into becoming a chief scout. Last week he was hired to be a scouting director for the Toronto Raptors. Outstanding. … Tucsonan Abdi Abdirahman finished sixth in the USA Half-Marathon last week in Minnesota. He won that event twice, among his 13 American national championships. What's next for the four-time Olympian, a 36-year-old former UA and Pima College athlete? "He's still got good years left as a road runner, that's where the money is in his sport," said retired UA Hall of Fame track coach Dave Murray, who is Abdirahman's coach. "We all know there comes a time when baseball players can't swing a bat as well, or basketball players lose their quickness, and it's no different in distance running. The good thing for Abdi is that he has been healthy recently. I see no reason he can't stay at the top a while longer." … Pima College hit it out of the park with the hiring of golf coach Clark Rustand, a Sabino High and BYU grad who won, among other things, the 2004 Utah Amateur. Rustand has good genes; he is the son of former Arizona All-WAC point guard Warren Rustand and brother of Eric Rustand, who finished seventh in the PGA Tour's 1999 Tucson Open. … UA softball coach Mike Candrea made what I consider a major addition to his roster last week, signing Pima College second-team All-America outfielder Cynthia Pelayo for 2013-14. Pelayo hit .440 for Armando Quiroz's Aztecs this year - the No. 3 team in NJCAA softball - and stole 23 bases. The entire Arizona team stole just 35 bases this year. Pelayo is a gold glove-level outfielder.

More Short Stuff

RichRod's son to play at Foothills

Rhett Rodriguez, son of UA football coach Rich Rodriguez, will play high school football at Catalina Foothills. He shared the starting job during a 40-game summer passing league season even though he is a sophomore. "He's been around, and you can't teach that," said Foothills coach Jeff Scurran. "How could I teach a kid any better than having Rhett come up to me and say, 'This is how we attacked and adjusted to that coverage at West Virginia?' He's 6 feet, 160 pounds, now and has a lot to learn. But I'm eager to see how he progresses as he moves through his high school years." … Sahuaro High baseball coach Mark Chandler, whose team reached the state semifinals this year, helped the Tucson Cowboys to the USA Baseball Junior Olympics quarterfinals last week in Phoenix. Of 52 teams, the Sahuaro-Salpointe-Buena stocked club went 7-1, winning four times with walk-off rallies. Among those who played well were Salpointe's Ryan Ramsower and Sahuaro's Justin Hammergren, and Vinnie Tarantola. The Tucson team did not have Sahuaro standout Alex Verdugo, who is playing summer baseball in the Chicago area. … UA junior golfer Kendall Prince won the Oregon Women's Amateur last week. She was No. 2 a year ago. Prince, who helped the Wildcats finish No. 8 in the nation this year, won five matches in Oregon. … Tucson High football coach Justin Argraves appears poised to put the Badgers back on the map in Southern Arizona prep football. His team went 7-0 to win the Pima College summer passing league championship last week. … Palo Verde grad Bryce Cotton, the Big East Conference's leading scorer (19.7) last year, failed to make Team USA for the World University Games. At the trials last week in Colorado, coaches chose BYU shooting guard Tyler Haws and Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie over Cotton, who will be a senior at Providence.

Ex-Lancer Slania signs with Giants

Salpointe grad Dan Slania signed a $283,500 bonus with the San Francisco Giants after saving 13 games with a 1.21 ERA at Notre Dame this year. He has yet to make his minor-league debut after the Giants selected him in the fifth round. … A year after he was the College World Series MVP, ex-Arizona right fielder Robert Refsnyder has fully converted to being a second baseman. He is hitting .299 for the Tampa Yankees, the High Class A affiliate of the Yankees. … More troubles for beleaguered IRI Golf, whose golf enterprises in Southern Arizona the last decade have not turned out well. Its once-remarkable Arizona National property is again brown and sun-burned, leveled by (lack of) water and financial woes. The former home of the UA golf program is to be open only on the weekends until further notice. … In an attempt to improve his game, UA sophomore-to-be Brandon Ashley played last week in the Nike Skills Academy in New Jersey, an invitation-only camp. His competition included new Oregon forward Mike Moser, a UNLV transfer, and Cal's 6-11 Richard Solomon. … Jim Livengood left his athletic directorship at UNLV last week, retiring (or something like that), after three seasons. In retrospect, his 16 years at Arizona were superior. Remember this: He put into place the building plan and template to redo Arizona Stadium and McKale Center. In his two decades in the Pac-12, first at Washington State and then at Arizona, he was a heavy hitter in the league, ranking with Oregon/Wazzu's Bill Moos and Stanford's Ted Leland as the league's most accomplished ADs. UNLV is really going to miss him.

My Two Cents

Miller has made Red-Blue a ticket as hot as the weather

Sean Miller has not been shy about establishing a year-round presence in Tucson, communicating openly and frequently via Twitter (although I doubt he's actually typing all of those messages into a laptop himself).

Last week he announced that the Red-Blue Game will be held at 3 p.m. on October 12. That's football turf in most cities, and the earliest date for a college hoops debut in Tucson. On that day alone the TV options will include college football matchups of Texas-Oklahoma, Oregon-Washington and LSU-Florida.

Arizona plays football two days earlier, an Oct. 10 Thursday night TV special at USC.

In the last two years, Miller has created a spectacle for what is essentially a scrimmage. It was sold out last year, on Oct. 21, on an NFL-heavy Sunday afternoon. It has become the school's top recruiting day of the year, one Miller has used to help impress and acquire prep All-Americans Kaleb Tarczewski and Aaron Gordon, among others.

This year's game will honor the 1994 Final four team, a 20th anniversary weekend. Get your tickets now, right?

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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