Arizona Basketball

Friday Fix: List of ex-UA athletes whose sons played elsewhere includes Van Tuinei and Gayle Hopkins





UA linebacker Hank Hobson, whose dad Butch starred as quarterback at Alabama, will take precedence for his father tomorrow night in a game at UCLA instead of the Alabama-LSU showdown.

If you have not checked out UASports.net, do so. I picture it as a bar hangout of Arizona fans who have stories about the past and offer opinions on the present and future. After writing a blog about the father-son connections involving Arizona athletes whose sons played elsewhere, I received some valuable feedback at UASports.net. This is in response to UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley Jr. playing against his father’s former team, Arizona, tomorrow night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Among other father-son connections involving UA athletes: Former UA All-American cornerback Chris McAlister chose not to play for the alma mater (UCLA) of his dad James McAlister and UA linebacker Hank Hobson is with the Wildcats instead of where his father Butch Hobson (former major-leaguer) played quarterback — Alabama. Butch Hobson was actually born in Tuscaloosa. … Jim Thorpe Award winner Antoine Cason of Arizona is the son of former Oregon defensive back Wendell Cason. The Ducks featured wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei, son of former UA defensive end Van Tuinei (played with the Wildcats in 1995 and 1996). The younger Tuinei was the Rose Bowl’s offensive player of the game when the Ducks beat Wisconsin in 2011. … Former UA offensive lineman Joe Longacre is the son of former Cal rugby player Randy Longacre. Gayle Hopkins, the UA’s first NCAA champion in the long jump in 1964, cheered for his son Chris Hopkins, who played at ASU from 1992-1995. Former UA quarterback Jim Krohn’s son Jeff Krohn started as ASU in 2000 and 2001 before transferring to Massachusetts to end his career. …

Matt and Ryan Kalil are not the first USC linemen whose father (Frank Kalil) played at Arizona. Norm Katnik Sr., who played for the Wildcats when they entered the Pac-10 in 1978 and 1979, watched his son Norm Jr. (who was born in Tucson) star at USC from 2001 to 2003. Furthermore, former Salpointe Catholic standout Kris O’Dowd opted to play at USC — where he became the first freshman to start at center — instead of playing for Arizona — his grandfather’s alma mater. Jack O’Dowd played for the Wildcats from 1930-32. His father Charlie received a scholarship offer to play football out of Palo Verde High School but an automobile accident prevented him from furthering his career. … Kyle Ingraham, the son of a former UA football player (Corky) and swimmer (Susan), was a wide receiver at Purdue from 2003-2006. Corky Ingraham played linebacker for the Wildcats in 1977-78. He led the UA in tackles in 1978. … I referred to Luke Walton not attending his father’s alma mater UCLA. The same holds true for Mike Bibby, whose father, Henry Bibby, starred at UCLA. Moreover, UA freshman walk-on guard Jacob Hazzard — a valuable practice player who could earn playing time by the time his career is over — is the grandson of former UCLA great Walt Hazzard. …

Another son of an athletic father: Ken Griffey’s son, Trey Griffey, is a freshman receiver with the Wildcats. Griffey, who will likely redshirt, knows all about the psychology of sports having followed his father throughout his career. ArizonaWildcats.com published today a Q&A with Griffey and fellow freshman linebacker Dakota Conwell. When asked how the Wildcats are staying focused after upsetting No. 10 USC 39-36 last week in Tucson, Griffey answered: “The more you win, the more you have to (be) loose. It already happened to us earlier this year when we beat Oklahoma State then went to Oregon. Now that we know how it feels, we don’t want it to happen again.” … Kameron Rooks, son of former UA center Sean Rooks, has received scholarship offers from Washington, Oregon State, Cal-Irvine and ASU. He is a 7-foot, 270-pound senior at San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills High School. Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported last week that Arizona coaches are interested but they want to wait until the spring. That might coincide with the decision of prized recruit Aaron Gordon, a frontcourt player who is considering Arizona, Kansas, Oregon and Kentucky. … Former UA receiver Mike Thomas was traded from Jacksonville — where he fell out of favor — to Detroit this week so guess which team he plays first with the Lions? … The Jaguars in Jacksonville. Thomas was passed by a rookie and a second-year player on the Jaguars’ depth chart and also lost his job as the team’s primary punt returner. This happened after he signed a three-year, $18-million extension, including $9 million guaranteed, with the Jaguars. He had what seemed to be a breakout season in 2010. He caught 66 passes for 820 yards and four touchdowns and returned 34 punts for 358 yards and one touchdown. …

Gilbert Arenas with his large assortment of sneakers that he will take with him to China if he plays professionally there (Arenas photo).

Although former UA guard Gilbert Arenas has probably played his last NBA game, he remains exuberant. He recently published a picture of him on his Facebook page with his luggage packed for China, where he wants to play professionally like former NBA players Tracy McGrady and Stephon Marbury. In front of him in the photo on a coffee table were at least six pairs of Nike shoes. Contract talks have stalled between Arenas and Guangdong of the Chinese Basketball Association, but he is hopeful of being in China by next week. Arenas, 30, has a history of lavish spending and might continue to do that in China. He still remains under contract with Orlando after waiving him in 2010. His contract was listed last week by ESPN.com as the worst in the NBA currently. The Magic still owes him $42.9 million over the next two years. … Former UA post player Channing Frye, out this season with the Phoenix Suns after he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, is not missing former teammate Steve Nash, who signed as a free agent with the rival Lakers. Frye received a Tweet this week that said “Bet you really missin Mr. Nash”. Frye responded: “No I like playing with @Goran_Dragic and @BassyS31T” Those are the Twitter names of Suns guards Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair. …

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Channing_Frye/status/263498363578748928″]

Rivals.com has rated Arizona’s Class of 2013 commit Rondae Jefferson as the fifth-most versatile of the class. Jefferson, 6-7 and 200 pounds from Chester, Pa., can play point guard, shoot guard and small forward. Rivals.com also suggests that Jefferson can be used at the power forward position. Former Wildcats that come to mind that were that versatile include Sean Elliott (who often brought the ball up the court), Chris Mills and Richard Jefferson (no relation), to name a few. Here is the Rivals.com assessment of Rondae Jefferson: “A big part of being versatile is the ability to play defense at multiple spots and Jefferson is one of those guys who can do it. A natural small forward who is a physical player, Jefferson also has the strength and toughness to be an excellent interior defender at the four. On offense, Jefferson isn’t a great shooter but he is a good ball-handler and an excellent passer for a 6-foot-7 guy.” …. The Arizona football team has defeated two AP Top 25 teams — No. 18 Oklahoma State and No. 10 USC — in the same season for the 10th time in the program’s history. If the Wildcats defeat the 25th-ranked Bruins tomorrow night it will be the first time since 1998 that Arizona beat three ranked teams in the same year. The Wildcats defeated No. 20 Washington (Ortege Jenkins’ “Leap by the Lake” game), No. 12 Oregon (a 38-3 rout in Tucson) and No. 9 Nebraska (the 23-20 win in the Holiday Bowl). The most wins against AP Top 25 competition was achieved in 1989 when the Wildcats won four games against No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 11 Washington, No. 22 UCLA and No. 15 Washington State. With the Wildcats finishing the season with games against Colorado, Utah and ASU, in order them to reach four this season — if they beat the Bruins — would likely have to occur in a bowl game. …

The funeral of former UA defensive lineman Chuck Osborne last Saturday brought together a veritable who’s-who of UA football, including former head coach Dick Tomey. Wildcats from that era of UA football (1992-1995) shared pictures of their reunion on Facebook. In the photo below, from left to right, are Leighton Milton, Richard Dice, Joshua Shapiro, Ty Parten, unidentified, Charlie Camp, Jim Sprotte, Rob Waldrop, Vincent Smith, Shawn Parnell, Heath Bray, Tomey, Joe Smigiel, Mani Ott, George Malauulu, Khashayar Ta and Rodney Williams. … Osborne is a Santa Clarita (Calif.) Canyon Country High School graduate. At the funeral ceremony, current members of Canyon Country’s team performed a drill in Osborne’s honor. Dennis Bajgrowicz, Osborne’s father, was quoted as saying by the Santa Clarita Valley Signal: “He had a smile, boy I tell you, when he smiled he could sell snow to a snowman.”

(Heath Bray Facebook photo)

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner

[rps-paypal]



To Top