Keep this in mind as you look for some context on Kaleb Tarczewski's 18-point, 10-rebound performance in his college debut last week:
In his freshman season at Arizona, future lottery pick Jordan Hill did not score in eight of his first 16games and finished the season averaging 4.7 points and 4.1 rebounds.
The irony is that Tarczewski was a relatively slow starter at Stevens High School, a rural area on the New Hampshire side of the border with Vermont, a few miles down Interstate 91 from Dartmouth College.
In the summer of 2009, Tarczewski asked - he wasn't invited - to be given a spot in former NBA player Jay Murphy's Big Man's Camp at Stonehill College. Tarczewski was accepted 24 hours before workouts began.
By the time the camp was over, Fordham and Providence had offered Tarczewski scholarships.
Tarczewski, coming off his freshman season at Stevens High School, lived the rural lifestyle. His late grandfather, Paul Gere, lived down the road in tiny Unity, N.H., where he earned a living as a gunsmith and, earlier, as a logger. Kaleb's parents, Susan and Erick, went to Stevens High School.
After his sophomore season at Stevens, Tarczewski was on the map. His first recruiting call, in the summer of 2010, came from Harvard coach Tommy Amaker. Then came the biggies: Thad Matta of Ohio State, Bobby Huggins of West Virginia and Sean Miller, who had just completed his first Arizona season.
Tarczewski transferred to St. Mark's Prep in Southborough, Mass., a few miles from Boston. It is one of the nation's leading basketball factories. Put it this way: When Tarczewski arrived at St. Mark's, the lineup included future Florida starter Erik Murphy, future Georgetown starter Nate Lubick, future Iowa starter Melsahn Basabe and future Duke sub Alex Murphy.
The most famous athlete from the Claremont, N.H., region is Keegan Bradley, who grew up across the freeway in Woodstock, Vt., and has become a pro golf star.
Tarczewski has a chance someday to have a similar profile.
Outstanding in the field
Hardy's year among best of Gold Glove winners
When Sabino grad J.J. Hardy, a Baltimore Orioles shortstop, was selected as an American League Gold Glove winner last week, it illuminated what appears to be one of the four or five greatest fielding performances by a shortstop in history.
Hardy committed just six errors in 779 chances, for a .992 fielding percentage.
In American League history, the only Gold Glove winner with better numbers is Omar Vizquel, with three errors in 647 chances in 2000 (or .995).
Remember Baltimore fielding whiz Mark Belanger, who won eight Gold Gloves? His career-best percentage was .985. He never committed fewer than nine errors.
Or how about the great Ozzie Smith? His top fielding season was 1991, when he committed eight errors (.987 percentage) in 639 chances, which is 148 fewer than Hardy this season.
At 30, with $14 million remaining on his deal with the Orioles through 2014, Hardy should be in his prime for the next few seasons.
The other Tucson-connected players to win Gold Gloves: Rincon grad Tom Pagnozzi, a St. Louis catcher in 1991, 1992 and 1994; ex-UA basketball player Kenny Lofton, winner of four straight from 1993 to 1996; and former UA first baseman J.T. Snow, who won six straight Gold Gloves from 1995-2000.
Put coffee on: UA home game vs. Colorado earliest since '83
Arizona's 11:30 a.m., kickoff Saturday against Colorado will be the second earliest Arizona Stadium kickoff in school history. On Nov. 12, 1983, bowing to CBS demands, the Wildcats and Bruins opened at 10:33 a.m. Only 42,640 attended even though the Wildcats would finish 7-3-1 and the Rose Bowl-bound Bruins entered the game on a five-game winning streak. Arizona won 27-24 on a late touchdown pass to Jay Dobyns. … Catalina Foothills swimmer Jason Alentado, who won the 100 fly state title Saturday, took recruiting visits to LSU, Utah and Auburn but declined their scholarship offers and has chosen to be an invited walk-on at Arizona. Much of the appeal for any swimmer at Arizona is to be around the post-grads, many of them Olympians, and compete against the world's best day to day. The UA last week added 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers to their staff, as a volunteer assistant coach. … In the same week, UA swim coach Eric Hansen got a recruiting commitment from the nation's most coveted freestyle sprinter, Brad Tandy of Indian River State College in Florida, who turned down defending NCAA champion Cal. Tandy, who is from South Africa, holds the career NJCAA records in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and continues the pipeline of South Africans such as Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, Jean Basson and Darian Townsend, all of whom became NCAA All-Americans in Tucson. … Those who fret that UA senior point guard Mark Lyons fouled out of last week's Humboldt State game, and that he is will be in chronic foul trouble, relax. At Xavier, Lyons fouled out of just two games in 2011-12 and three in 2010-11. He averaged 2.8 fouls per game last season. Arizona's modern career foul-leaders are Ricky Anderson, 3.5 per game, in 2002, and Reggie Geary, who averaged 2.8 over his career. … Cienega grad Brandon Burnett, a redshirt freshman at Indiana State, will begin his college basketball career Friday night at the remodeled Pauley Pavilion against UCLA. Burnett projects as the seventh or eighth man. The game will be on Fox Sports Net.
More Short Stuff
Mountain View coach McRae worthy of top coaching honor
You could make a strong case that Mountain View High School football's Clarence "Bam" McRae is the Southern Arizona Coach of the Year. He is MV's fourth head coach in four seasons, yet produced an 8-3 record, with a pair of wins over Cienega, including Friday's Division II playoff opener. It's conceivable McRae and the Mountain Lions will be better next season. Junior QB Cody Rochon has thrown just two interceptions this year, and junior running back Richie Estrada has rushed for 1,622 yards, including 164 against powerful Ironwood Ridge and 123 against No. 1-seeded Salpointe Catholic. … Canyon del Oro grad Chris Duncan, who hit 55 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals before injuries forced him to retire in 2009, is battling brain cancer. He underwent a six-hour surgery to remove a malignant tumor last month at the Duke University Medical Center. He now begins radiation and chemotherapy. Duncan, 31, unable to speak for about a week, has returned on a part-time basis to his job as a sports-talk host at St. Louis' WXOS-FM, which is No. 1 in the drive-time ratings in the St. Louis area. … Mike Candrea long ago completed his 2013 softball recruiting class, which projects among the top three or four in college softball when letters of intent are signed this week. It's not like the UA coach has kicked back and relaxed. Last week, he got commitments from two of the leading prospects from the high school classes of 2015 and 2016: sophomore catcher-first baseman Hillary Edior of Carson (Calif.), and prep freshman shortstop Malia Martinez of the Orange County Firecrackers. … UA Hall of Fame linebacker Ricky Hunley attended the Arizona-USC game. He is out of football altogether for the first time in his adult life, working as an executive sales official for Noribachi, a solar and LED lighting firm in Hawthorne, Calif.
Byrne has tough choice in UA women's soccer
UA athletic director Greg Byrne has a tough call to make about Arizona's women's soccer program and coach Lisa Oyen. The Wildcats are 12-39-7 in three seasons under Oyen. This year, Arizona went 6-11-3, but four of those victories were against 5-9-5 NAU; 3-13-3 Creighton; 7-9-3 Houston; and 8-8-2 Utah. Oyen's career Pac-12 record is 4-24-3. … Former Arizona football coach Dick Tomey, retired and living in Hawaii, flew to Los Angeles last week for the funeral of ex-Desert Swarm lineman Chuck Osborne. About 20 of Osborne's Arizona teammates attended, including quarterback George Malauulu, center Mani Ott and tackle Vincent Smith. Talk about a band of brothers. … Three of the most opportune coaches in college football this year are Kansas State assistants Charlie Dickey, Michael Smith and Dana Dimel. All escaped Mike Stoops' sinking ship and moved to Manhattan, Kan., in advance of Stoops' implosion. … After beating No. 5 UCLA on Friday, UA volleyball coach Dave Rubio is back in contention for an NCAA tournament berth with his unusually young team. The Wildcats are 13-11 overall and 5-8 in the Pac-12, but project to finish about 18-13 and 10-10. Rubio and Arizona earned NCAA berths the last three seasons with conference records of 11-11, 9-9 and 8-10. How good is Pac-12 volleyball? Five of the nation's top eight teams are in the league. … Hassan Adams continues to play pro basketball, although he has moved to Venezuela to do so. The former Arizona starter of 2004-06, averaged 14.9 points for Guaros de Lara of the South American pro league last season.
My Two Cents
Coach Sendek can't turn around ASU
James Harden is an Olympic gold medal basketball player, a franchise guard who has averaged 35.3 points per game in his first three outings for the Houston Rockets.
Every time I read or hear something about how good he is, I think back to his final game at Arizona State, in March 2009, matched against Syracuse in a second-round NCAA tournament game in Miami. Arizona and Cleveland State were on deck in Miami that day, so I sat courtside and watched how ASU coach Herb Sendek would use his All-America guard against the Orange.
He used Harden as a decoy. Incredibly, with Harden not involved in the offense, standing idle on the perimeter, Sendek's offense produced more shot attempts for Rihards Kuksiks and Ty Abbott.
Harden didn't attempt his first shot until 10:58 remained in the first half. He didn't make his first basket until 4:44 remained before half. He finished with 10 points - making two field goals and six free throws - even though he played all 40 minutes.
Syracuse rolled 78-67. Harden, who was openly miffed/bored, was no factor.
Every time someone tells me Sendek is a master of X's and O's, a bench coach among bench coaches, I go back to his Syracuse strategy with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.
That's why I hesitate to buy into the pledge that Sendek will turn ASU into an up-tempo team with freshman speedster Jahii Carson changing the culture of Sun Devils hoops.
If James Harden couldn't do it, who can?