Posted on: November 19, 2008 2:13 am
Edited on: November 19, 2008 2:20 am

The ESPY for Dumbest Play of the Year goes to ...

Up late, watching UAB-Arizona, and I don't know if I've ever seen a dumber ending.

Did you watch?

If not, here's the deal: After Arizona battled back from a double-digit deficit to tie the game, Kyle Fogg inexplicably (and intentionally) fouled UAB's Aaron Johnson and sent him to the line for a one-and-one because he presumably thought Arizona was behind despite the game being tied . It was a stupid, sure, but it worked out because Johnson missed the front end and Arizona actually got the ball back with the score still tied. So the clock ticked away and Nic Wise took a jumper that was perfectly timed. If it swished, Arizona would win. If not, all UAB could do was rebound and launch a halfcourt shot that would almost certainly do something besides go through the rim. So when Wise missed and the ball was rebounded by Paul Delaney it appeared the game was headed to overtime, but then Jamelle Horne did something that was both bizarre and sad.

What did Horne do?

He literally chased Delaney as fast as he could, lunged and intentionally fouled him 55 feet from the basket as if Arizona was behind and needed to stop the clock. Problem is, Arizona was not behind. The freaking game was still tied! So Delaney went to the line with 0.8 second left and made the first of two free throws to give UAB a 72-71 win.

It was unreal.

So to summarize, Arizona intentionally fouled UAB twice in the final 27 seconds despite the game being tied, which led to a loss that cost the Wildcats a trip to next week's semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-off. It gets dumber and dumber the more I think about it, and if you're into message boards -- and honestly, who isn't? -- I'd encourage you to head over to GoAzCats.com, where a thread about the insanity was started seconds after the final horn.

Here's the link.


But don't laugh.

Because it really was painful to watch.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 12, 2008 12:46 pm

Dear Gary (on Arizona's bleeding)

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: How do you see this mess at Arizona working out? Are they going to be able to land a top-notch coach at the end of the season and stop the bleeding? There are some absurd names being tossed around. Who would be on your list?

-- Beau

Of course, the bleeding can be stopped.

But it's going to be a lot like the Indiana situation.

Again, the timing of Lute Olson's retirement was a killer; it'll have a lasting effect. But I imagine Tom Crean will get Indiana turned around in a span of three years, and Arizona could easily be turned around that quickly as well if the right guy is hired.

Who is that guy?

As I've written before -- like five minutes after Olson retired -- the two obvious candidates are Pitt's Jamie Dixon and Gonzaga's Mark Few. Granted, both are in good spots right now and might not see the need to bolt. But I genuinely believe at least one of them would move for the right money if the circumstances were perfect. So Arizona would be silly not to shoot for the top, see what happens and go from there.

Posted on: November 7, 2008 11:07 am

A bullet-riddled target sheet? Seriously?

The ongoing (and never-ending) Lute Olson saga took another turn this week.

And this one is really bizarre.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, Olson's doctor filed a restraining order against Olson's ex-wife, Christine, the same day he announced his retirement. The newspaper reported that the restraining order was filed after Christine Toretti allegedly threatened Olson's doctor verbally and then by -- ready for this? -- placing a bullet-riddled target sheet on his chair in his office.

That's straight-up gangster.

And I really have no idea why this couldn't be a great reality series.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 30, 2008 1:22 am
Edited on: October 30, 2008 1:30 am

Withey planning to transfer from Arizona

Freshman Jeff Withey is expected to transfer out of the Arizona program before ever playing a game.

The Tucson Citizen on Wednesday reported Withey skipped an afternoon practice, which immediately sparked questions about his future given how his mother had been quoted extensively expressing her displeasure with Lute Olson's abrupt retirement last week. Even then, a Withey transfer seemed realistic. Late Wednesday it was confirmed as a reality, and now the Wildcats will embark on a less-than-ideal season without one of their primary post players.

Withey was ranked as the 35th-best prospect in the Class of 2008. That the 6-foot-11 center will never actually play for the Wildcats means he'll join Brandon Jennings (now a pro in Italy) and Emmanuel Negedu (now a freshman at Tennessee) as Class of 2008 standouts who signed with Arizona last November but have opted not to follow through on the pledge given the uncertainty surrounding the program.

Arizona's first exhibition is Nov. 6 against Incarnate Word.

The Wildcats will be coached this season on an interim basis by Russ Pennell.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 29, 2008 12:58 am

Former Arizona recruit headed to Washington

Abdul Gaddy is committed again ... this time to Washington.

The 6-foot-3 point guard from Tacoma, Wash., told Scout.com late Tuesday that he will sign with the Huskies next month, choosing the in-state program over UCLA. Gaddy had been committed to Arizona, but he decommitted shortly after Lute Olson's announced retirement.

Gaddy is rated as the ninth-best player in the Class of 2009.

His commitment means 13 of Scout.com's top 20 are now off the board.

Here's an updated look at Scout.com's top 20 prospects with their college situation in parenthesis:

1. Derrick Favors (uncommitted)

2. John Wall (uncommitted)

3. John Henson (committed to North Carolina)

4. Xavier Henry (uncommitted)

5. Renardo Sidney (uncommitted)

6. DeMarcus Cousins (committed to UAB)

7. Lance Stephenson (uncommitted)

8. Kenny Boynton (uncommitted)

9. Abdul Gaddy (committed to Washington)

10. Avery Bradley (committed to Texas)

11. Ryan Kelly (committed to Duke)

12. Daniel Orton (committed to Kentucky)

13. Jordan Hamilton (committed to Texas)

14. Alex Oriakhi (committed to Connecticut)

15. Dominic Cheek (uncommitted)

16. Wally Judge (committed to Kansas State)

17. Dante Taylor (committed to Pittsburgh)

18. Dexter Strickland (committed to North Carolina)

19. Mason Plumlee (committed to Duke)

20. Thomas Robinson (committed to Kansas)

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 28, 2008 1:45 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2008 4:31 pm

Could Arizona's situation be as bad as IU's?

Abdul Gaddy's decommitment has left Arizona with no pledged recruits for the Class of 2009.

That's not good.

And what it means is that the man who eventually replaces Lute Olson on a permanent basis will inherit something better than the mess Tom Crean took over at Indiana, but probably not by much. At this point you have to assume Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill will enter the NBA Draft unless either has some weird desire to play for four different coaches in four years, and Nic Wise might also be a risk to depart given how he nearly bailed on the program this offseason.

Would Jeff Withey hang around?

What about Jamelle Horne?

Honestly, it's hard to say.

But the fact that Arizona's three-man recruiting class of Gaddy, Mike Moser and Solomon Hill disappeared within days of Olson's retirement last week is going to make it difficult for the Wildcats to avoid the Pac-10's basement during the 2009-10 season. That's why Olson's timing on all this was horrendous, not because of how it will affect this team but because of how it ruined the Class of 2009 and will put his successor way behind on the Class of 2010. In other words, Arizona is losing six months of prime recruiting time while everybody else plugs away, and that's going to make an impression on the program that will take years to overcome.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 27, 2008 11:11 am

Dear Gary (on what makes a "top 10" program)

Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I see you called Arizona one of the "top 10 programs in America" last week. I'm fairly sure you also stated as much about Indiana when that job was open. So what are the top 10 programs?

-- Brian

What I mean when I describe something as a "top 10 program" is that it should be one of the top 10 programs in America when everything is going the right way. Obviously, that's not the case at Arizona right now. But assuming Jim Livengood makes a great hire I believe Arizona will again establish itself as one of the top 10 programs in America.

Does that make sense?

If not, try to think of it like this: Pretend you are the nation's hottest coaching candidate and attached to no particular school or region. Now pretend every school wants to hire you and then try to determine which 10 jobs would give you the best chance to succeed based upon factors like the level of national prestige, the recruiting advantages (geographic or otherwise), the passion of the fanbase and the commitment from the administration.

That's how you determine a great program.

In that case, my list would probably look like this:

1. North Carolina
3. Duke
4. Kansas
5. Ohio State
6. Texas
7. Kentucky
8. Arizona
9. Indiana
10. Connecticut

Posted on: October 24, 2008 4:01 pm

Arizona's recruiting class is disappearing

Arizona's recruiting class is falling apart, as predicted.

Scout.com is reporting that both Mike Moser and Solomon Hill -- a pair of top 65 national prospects -- have decommitted from the Arizona program since Lute Olson's Thursday retirement, leaving Abdul Gaddy as the only Class of 2009 product still verbally committed to the Wildcats. However, a source has told CBSSports.com that Gaddy will also likely decommit soon, and that UCLA is emerging as a probable destination.

Gaddy, a point guard from Tacoma, Wash., is ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the Class of 2009.

Arizona will announce later today that assistant Russ Pennell will coach the Wildcats on an interim basis.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com