Arizona Basketball

Nothing But The Notes: Ka’Deem Carey can restore Heisman reputation with maturity and Arizona’s support





Ka'Deem Carey must face his off-the-field hardships like he does tacklers on the field, full speed ahead

Ka’Deem Carey must face his off-the-field hardships like he does tacklers on the field, full speed ahead (Fox Sports video still)

The best thing for Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey to do is face his demons head on and work out his problems instead of trying to escape them or go into denial. A promising football career is a terrible thing to waste. Carey and his family are trying to deal with increasing criticism locally and nationally after his recent three brushes with the law after the conclusion of the 2012 season. The latest incident occurred last week during the UCLA-Arizona game at McKale Center when Carey had a reported verbal confrontation with the arena’s event staff and police, which was first reported by the school’s newspaper, the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

This follows Carey’s well-publicized domestic violence charge by his ex-girlfriend and minor traffic violations of driving without registration and no proof of insurance. Most important to Carey and his potential Heisman candidacy and future NFL career is to become humbled by these events and realize that NFL scouts and front-office personnel will become enamored by him if he handles these issues with maturity. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and athletic director Greg Byrne should make it a priority to sit with him, pledge their allegiance to him and his family and provide ongoing support. They must become a big part of Carey’s life. Now. No time to waste. They shouldn’t condone Carey’s alleged transgressions, but they should let him know that his reputation can be restored by the start of next season. One more standout season will guarantee a high-round NFL draft selection. NFL owners view players as investments. If character flaws exist with a prospect, owners and their general managers will think long and hard about the risk of investing in that player. Questions will arise if Carey polarizes himself, and worse yet, becomes disenchanted about staying in Tucson and playing for Arizona next season. Arizona officials must not delay getting in Carey’s corner and staying there. It’s that serious. …

The Sporting News published another story on Rodriguez’s transition from Michigan to Arizona on Jan. 29. That indicates two things: Rodriguez’s popularity and the infatuation over his divorce with the Michigan program will not subside. Why else would a story like this be written six weeks after the season? When does it become old news? The most noteworthy part of Matt Hayes’ article: “If he led West Virginia to within a sniff of that BCS National Championship Game one year and a Sugar Bowl win over SEC heavyweight Georgia in another; if he built the program so strong that even when he left for Michigan, that same team rolled on remote control and destroyed Oklahoma; he certainly can get Arizona to the Rose Bowl. There’s a reason Michigan hired him, and a reason Alabama thought it had closed a deal with him the season before.” … The Detroit Press and other Michigan media outlets emphasized this quote from Rodriguez to Hayes: “We got total buy-in from the get-go here. From the players to the support staff to everybody that was touching the program. We had some guys committed at Michigan, but we had others that weren’t. Some guys felt a sense of entitlement. The name on the chest, and ‘I’ve already arrived.’ The Chad Hennes and the Jake Longs put the work in and succeeded before us, and guys behind them thought they were entitled to the same status but hadn’t proved anything.” That has lit up the comment boards at Michigan Web sites and blogs. An Arizona-Michigan Rose Bowl would be a game for the ages, not only in Tucson and Ann Arbor, but nationally. …

Arizona 2013 recruit Anu Solomon is rated by Sports Illustrated as the nation's No. 1 impact player at quarterback in the incoming class (YouTube video still)

Arizona 2013 recruit Anu Solomon is rated by Sports Illustrated as the nation’s No. 1 impact player at quarterback in the incoming class (YouTube video still)

College football’s national signing day is Wednesday. Scout.com ranks Arizona’s class No. 23 nationally. Pac-12 programs UCLA (No. 6), USC (No. 10), Washington (No. 11), Oregon (No. 16) and California (No. 22) are ranked ahead of the Wildcats. The four-star recruits Rodriguez and his staff have attracted are Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman quarterback Anu Solomon, Poway (Calif.) cornerback Derek Babiash and San Diego Madison Senior running back Pierre Cormier. Cormier, who chose Arizona over Washington, finished the season with 2,233 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns. … Sports Illustrated last week ranked Solomon the No. 1 2013 quarterback recruit who will make an impact next season. The Arizona starting quarterback position is open with Matt Scott exhausting his eligibility. SI’s Ben Glicksman writes: “Keep in mind: Rodriguez hasn’t hesitated to go young under center before. Pat White started the latter half of his redshirt freshman season at West Virginia, and Denard Robinson attempted a pass in all but three games of his first-year campaign at Michigan. Especially given the lack of experience elsewhere on the depth chart, don’t be surprised if Solomon is handed the reins to Arizona’s offense from the get-go.” Robert Griffin III started as a true freshman with Baylor and finished 4-7. USC’s Matt Barkley went 9-4 as a true freshman starter losing three of his last four regular season games. … ASU and Nebraska continued to recruit Babiash after he committed last July. The Wildcats beat Oklahoma and former head coach Mike Stoops for his services. His commitment did not waver since he pledged to Arizona. He originally committed to Washington before Rodriguez and his staff showed increasing interest in him. “I love the coaching staff and the direction Coach Rodriguez is taking the program,” Babiash (6-foot and 173 pounds) told Scout.com. “I love the campus, the opportunity to play early and just the comfort level I had there (during his official visit) was special.” …

UA Class of 2013 recruiting target Aaron Gordon has added Oregon to his list of suitors (YouTube video still)

UA Class of 2013 recruiting target Aaron Gordon has added Oregon to his list of suitors (YouTube video still)

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Sean Miller’s prized recruit, Rondae Jefferson of Chester (Pa.) High School, is a McDonald’s All-American. When Jefferson plays for the Wildcats next season, he will become the UA’s 18th McDonald’s All-American. Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 wing who can immediately fill in for Solomon Hill, will play in the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago on April 3. The spring signing period is two weeks afterward. San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty forward Aaron Gordon, a likely McDonald’s All-American selection, can become the 19th such player to suit up for the Wildcats. … News broke late Friday that Gordon has added another prospective school to his list — Oregon. Kentucky, Arizona and Washington were the only programs on his list before Eric Bossi of Rivals.com Tweeted that Gordon is now considering the Ducks. When Gordon trimmed his list to three in mid-November, he eliminated California, Kansas, Stanford and UNLV among others. Kentucky has six commits in 2013 and could add another. Arizona currently has a two-man class — Jefferson and Concord (Calif.) De La Salle shooting guard Elliott Pitts. Oregon already has a power forward committed, Jordan Bell of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High. A trio of guards have committed to Washington, including Nigel Williams-Goss, a former teammate of Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley with Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. While at the Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago Gordon told reporters that loaded recruiting classes and teams having players already at his power forward position will not affect his decision. The Wildcats are slated to return forwards Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Angelo Chol next season. …

California and Washington, with two of the longest termed coaches in the Pac-12 (Mike Montgomery and Lorenzo Romar), are each 4-4 in the conference and 12-8 and 12-9 overall, respectively. That’s not what the league’s followers have come to expect from its top coaches. Lute Olson, they are not. Olson’s poorest start in 20 games following his first season of 11-17 in 1983-84 — the year he took over a moribund program — was 13-7 twice. One of those seasons was in 1986-87 when Steve Kerr was forced to miss the season with a torn ACL. The other was in 2006-07, Olson’s last season as Arizona’s head coach. In his first season with the Wildcats, Olson was 5-15 after 20 games. But the UA finished that season winning six of its last eight games, signaling a rebirth of competitive basketball in Tucson. … Miller was 11-9 after 20 games in his first season of 2009-10 (after replacing two interim staffs at Arizona). He was 13-7 after 20 games last season. The UA started 16-4 in its Elite Eight season under Miller in 2010-11. The Wildcats are 18-2 this year. With the talent Miller is recruiting to Arizona, it is difficult to imagine the UA starting 12-8 (like Montgomery and Romar this year) or worse for as long as he is coaching. … Arizona outfielder/infielder Johnny Field was selected Friday the third-team designated hitter in Baseball America’s All-American team. Field is the reigning Pac-12 batting champion (.370 batting average in 2012). …

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

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