Arizona basketball: Seen and heard - '88 forever

2012-10-22T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:05:51Z Arizona basketball: Seen and heard - '88 foreverPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 22, 2012 12:00 am  • 

'88 forever

The Wildcats saluted the 1987-88 team in appropriately old-school fashion.

The UA produced a "This is … Arizona" video specific to the program's first Final Four team. Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, Tom Tolbert and others listed the UA's achievements.

The squad was then introduced through a tunnel of pyrotechnics to an appropriate tune - 1988's "It Takes Two," by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock.

"The atmosphere is pretty much the UA atmosphere, I feel," said Kenny Lofton, the former guard who became a Major League Baseball star.

The crowd chanted the familiar "Steeeeeeve Kerrrrrr" line, and saved its loudest ovations for him, the Tucsonan Elliott and coach Lute Olson.

Craig McMillan, the first McDonald's All-American to play for the UA, said the team is beloved because it was "the first really successful team of coach Olson's era."

Tom Tolbert said the atmosphere is unique to Tucson.

"If I'm a kid looking at a program in basketball, it's great, because Arizona is one of the few places where basketball trumps football," he said.

Dunk!

Freshman guard Gabe York won the slam contest after dunking over dudes. On the first try, he jumped over a UA staffer, who lobbed an alley-oop that he caught and, in one motion, dunked.

Then, he dunked over teammates Angelo Chol and Matt Korchek, who stood on the right block facing the rim.

"Gabe is a very talented young man, very similar to (sophomore guard) Nick (Johnson)," UA coach Sean Miller said.

Miller bemoaned his 0-for-4 showing in the scrimmage's first half. He finished with three points and three assists.

"It goes to show he's a freshman," Miller said. "He's working his way through things."

A.I.

Between the dunk contest and the scrimmage, the Wildcats aired a highlight package of plays by Andre Iguodala, who played at the UA from 2002-04 and was formally added to the Ring of Honor.

Iguodala, a member of the Denver Nuggets, couldn't travel to McKale Center for Sunday's festivities.

"Hopefully, we can get Andre Iguodala here in a break in the action sometime, either in the NBA season or in his NBA All-Star break, if he's not an NBA All-Star," Miller said.

Iguodala sent a video clip that was played on the scoreboard.

"Sorry I couldn't make it this year," he said, "but I'm looking forward to getting back and spending time with you guys."

Quotable

"We know what's going to happen the day after Thanksgiving against the school up north."

- UA football coach Rich Rodriguez, speaking to the crowd

Standing O

The first standing ovation of the day went to the UA's Paralympians.

Before the Red-Blue Game began at 2 p.m., players from the UA's Disability Resource Center played a wheelchair basketball scrimmage.

At halftime, the UA introduced five London Paralympians who attend the school:

• Pharmacy student Jenn Poist, who played on the fourth-place USA wheelchair basketball team.

• Visually impaired track athlete Tanner Gers, a junior, who finished 11th in the long jump.

• Physiology major Zach Abbott, who participated in the four track events.

• Psychology major Jordan Bird, a junior, who placed sixth in the 100 meters.

• And Bryan Barten, a coach and UA alum, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the tennis quad singles.

Two other UA athletes - tennis players Adam Kellerman and Noah Yablong - played in the Games but were not in attendance Sunday.

Brigetta!

The best athlete on campus sang the National Anthem.

We can't remember anyone doing it better.

Olympic silver medalist high jumper Brigetta Barrett, a theater major who once tried out for "American Idol," provided a soulful, well-paced version of the song.

It wasn't her first solo - after medaling in London, she sang the anthem before an Arizona Diamondbacks game.

Another quotable

"They're going to start getting commitments from embryos pretty soon. It's absurd."

- Tolbert, on the nature of recruiting nationwide.

The big number

14,365

Sunday's attendance

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