Time: 2:30 p.m. (Tucson time)
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538)
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius/XM: 91/91]
TV: FSN (Justin Kutcher/Marques Johnson)
During Long Beach State’s game with Cal-Davis on Thursday night, ESPN flashed a graphic of each team’s top players. Both transferred from ASU: Keala King of Long Beach State and Corey Hawkins of Cal-Davis. Hawkins, Arizona’s high school career scoring leader, scored from all over the court and finished with 34 points in Cal-Davis’ 77-76 loss. Former ASU player Victor Rudd led South Florida with 17 points in a win over UConn the night before on ESPN. Trent Lockett, another former player for Herb Sendek, is a starter for Marquette. Combined, Hawkins (20.8 points a game), King (9.7), Rudd (12) and Lockett (7.3) are averaging 49.8 points a game. “I thought Arizona State was a good fit, but I was wrong,” Hawkins told the Sacramento Bee. “Texas and Memphis had recruited me hard out of high school and I got several letters from Kentucky. A lot of guys get caught up in the size of the program. But I was looking for a good fit, somewhere I could develop as a player and as a person.”
Greg Hansen of The Arizona Daily Star wrote a column that published today about the most memorable Arizona-ASU basketball games in Tucson in the Territorial Cup’s history. In my lifetime, the top three games between the Wildcats and Sun Devils at McKale Center: 1. Steve Kerr’s courageous performance in Arizona’s 71-49 win on Jan. 20, 1984, four days after his father was assassinated in Lebanon. 2. Arizona clinching its first WAC title outright in 1976 with its 77-72 victory over ASU, which had won six of the previous seven meetings against coach Fred Snowden. 3. Sean Elliott’s last game at McKale Center in 1989 in the 109-74 drubbing of the Sun Devils. Elliott, Cook and Lofton combined for 53 points as the Wildcats clinched their second consecutive Pac-10 title. “I feel as good as the fans do,” Elliott, a Tucson product, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “When I was growing up, I wanted the program to be a winner and now it is.”
Looking ahead to next season, point guard Jordin Mayes will be the lone senior, following in the footsteps of Horne, Fogg, Hill and Parrom as unsung guys who were with the Arizona program for four years. Mayes had his best game of the season last week at UCLA, scoring eight points and producing two assists in 13 minutes. Stretched over a 40-minute span, that translates to 24 points and six assists. Mayes’ two left foot injuries earlier in his career have undoubtedly affected him since his promising performances in Arizona’s Elite Eight season of 2010-11. Mayes was a diamond-in-the-rough recruit for Sean Miller out of Los Angeles Westchester High School. Not only did Mayes win consecutive state titles at Westchester, but he had three of his best games with the Comets against high-level competition: Against former Kentucky players Doron Lamb and John Wall and former Cincinnati standout Lance Stephenson. Westchester won each game against those players with Mayes as the leading scorer. Mayes always had promise but the foot injuries appeared to slow him down and affect his confidence.
Arizona Republic reporter Doug Haller, who covers ASU and votes in the AP Top 25 poll, has Hill and ASU freshman point guard Jahii Carson among his All-Pac-12 first-team selection. His second team includes ASU forward Carrick Felix and UCLA point guard Larry Drew II. Carson is Haller’s Freshman of the Year, earning the honor over UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad. Lyons looked like he could put himself in position for All-Pac-12 honors after productive performances against ASU and Stanford, but his struggles have translated in an omission from conference honors by Haller and others. Lyons was motivated in the first meeting won by Arizona 71-54 after Carson proclaimed through Twitter that he is the best point guard in the Pac-12. How will Lyons respond this time with Carson getting the praise and Lyons left off the lists?
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner