Arizona Basketball

Ending of an era: Arizona Wildcats team that played in 2000-01 title game down to one pro

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FORMER ARIZONA WILDCATS IN THE NBA

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
mug.JerrydBayless Jerryd Bayless G Bucks 34 7.53 1.85 2.76
ChaseBudinger3 Chase Budinger GF T'wolves 27 4.48 2.37 0.78
Channing Frye F-C Magic 36 7.94 4.78 1.22
AaronGordon3 Aaron Gordon F Magic 11 5.82 3.00 0.64
mug.JordanHill Jordan Hill PF Lakers 35 12.03 8.03 1.46
2012.13.SHill Solomon Hill SF Pacers 36 10.33 4.50 2.31
mug.AndreIguodala Andre Iguodala SF Warriors 32 6.97 3.34 2.78
mug.RichardJefferson Richard Jefferson SF Mavericks 31 5.35 2.45 1.00
2012.13.Jerrett Grant Jerrett PF Thunder 4 1.75 1.00 0.25
Nick Johnson Nick Johnson SG Rockets 17 3.24 1.41 0.35
JasonTerry5 Jason Terry G Rockets 32 8.12 1.56 2.03
mug.DerrickWilliams Derrick Williams F Kings 29 6.79 2.10 0.38

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The release two weeks ago of 36-year-old veteran center Loren Woods by a Lebanese team means that Dallas’ Richard Jefferson is the lone professional player left from Arizona’s 2000-01 team that played Duke in the national title game.

After playing his first five seasons in the NBA with Minnesota, Miami and Toronto, Woods has spent most of the last nine seasons playing overseas. He played for Sporting Al Riyadi in Beirut for the last three seasons before his release on Dec. 20.

Another top frontcourt player in 2000-01 — power forward Michael Wright — announced his retirement from basketball before this season after playing his entire 13-year pro career overseas. Wright became a naturalized citizen of Turkey, where played most of his last nine seasons. He became popular in Turkey and changed his name to a Turkish one — Ali Karadeniz.

Wright surprised some by leaving after his junior season. He was selected in the second round in 2001 by the New York Knicks, who released him before the season. He did not make it in the NBA, but he did well for himself overseas.

In his final season last year, Wright, a Chicago product, averaged 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. He could have kept playing.

Jefferson, Woods and Wright are three of six players from the 2000-01 team who went on to the pros. Jefferson, Luke Walton and Gilbert Arenas are the most notable of the group.

Walton, who played 11 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland, is an assistant to Steve Kerr at Golden State.

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Michael Wright announced his retirement before this season after spending most of his pro career in Turkey (Michael Wright Facebook photo)

Michael Wright announced his retirement before this season after spending most of his pro career in Turkey (Michael Wright Facebook photo)


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FORMER ARIZONA PLAYERS IN D-LEAGUE
a-Left Arizona before ending collegiate career

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
JosiahTurner4 a-Josiah Turner PG LA Defenders 14 4.71 1.86 1.93

FORMER ARIZONA PLAYERS INTERNATIONAL
a-Transferred from Arizona before ending collegiate career

BELGIUM

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
Kyle Fogg</td>
<td > 2011-12 University of Arizona Men's Basketball mug (8/26/2011; 0300) Kyle Fogg SG Port of Antwerp 18 16.89 4.28 2.39
JPPrince a-J.P. Prince SG Telenet 23 14.0 2.48 1.83

CANADA

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
ZaneJohnson a-Zane Johnson SG London 13 12.54 2.62 2.23

CHINA

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
willbynum2 a-Will Bynum PG Guangdong 13 19.69 3.69 6.69

ISRAEL

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
Mark Lyons</td>
<td > 2012-13 University of Arizona men's basketball mugs. 8/20/12 (0065) Mark Lyons G Ironi 13 15.62 2.31 3.54

ITALY

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
JessePerry1 Jesse Perry PF Aget 6 17.7 8.0 1.3

JAPAN

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
JamelleHorne Jamelle Horne PF Toyama 26 12.1 5.2 0.7

LITHUANIA

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
RobertasJavtokas2 Robertas Javtokas PF Zalgiris 28 6.79 4.96 1.07
MustafaShakur3 Mustafa Shakur PG Neptunas 28 9.50 3.00 3.39
Natyazhko3 Kyryl Natyazhko C Lietuvos 17 3.18 2.35 0.24

MEXICO

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
KevinParrom3 Kevin Parrom SF Correcaminos 20 12.35 5.80 1.50

ROMANIA

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
Daniel Dillon; 091207 G4  (139) Daniel Dillon SG CSM Oradea 15 14.53 4.80 5.87

SAUDI ARABIA

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
MoMoJones Lamont Jones PG Al Ittihad

TURKEY

Player Pos Team G PPG RPG APG
NicWise3 Nic Wise PG Istanbul 3 8.33 2.00 8.67

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Arenas, a three-time NBA All-Star, announced his retirement from basketball after playing in China in 2012-13. He also played 11 years in the NBA.

Jason Gardner, the point guard captain of the 2000-01 team, did not get a shot in the NBA but he had eight successful years overseas before his retirement in 2011. After serving as an assistant at Loyola (Ill.) and Memphis, Gardner is head coach at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.

The Jaguars are 5-10 overall and 1-0 in the Summit League in his first season.

Jefferson continues to be a solid contributor for Dallas.

Last night he played good defense on Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson to force overtime, in which Dallas won 96-88. He is averaging only 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds a game but he fits his role well of being a veteran leader for the younger Mavericks.

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With the 2000-01 team down to one pro player, it makes Jason Terry’s longevity even more incredible. The former Arizona point guard, whose No. 31 will be retired at Arizona next month, is in his 15th season in the NBA.

It’s hard to believe, but it was 18 years ago that Terry, the sixth man, and Arizona won the national title.

Terry, now a mentor for former Arizona guard Nick Johnson with the Rockets, is one of the best to come out of Arizona in terms of basketball and his personality. He continues to amaze with this tweet of him the other day:

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In case you missed it, Sports Illustrated published an article this week about former Arizona forward Solomon Hill, describing him as a “silver lining” for the struggling Pacers.

Hill talked about how much he cherished earning Sean Miller‘s gold jersey in practice, signifying the team’s best player in the workouts.

“The thing is even if you’re just trying to win the gold jersey so you don’t have to run (sprints), you still had a good week of practice,” Hill told SI. “If you have a good week of practice you’re building good habits. So it’s hard to have good weeks of practice and nothing good happens in the games. So (for me) it became trying to knock them together: Gold jersey after gold jersey after gold jersey.”

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Hill is one of 14 former Arizona players coached by Miller who are playing professionally. That’s a phenomenal number when you consider Miller is only in his sixth year at Arizona.

Even more incomprehensible is the fact that 15 Lute Olson-coached players at Arizona are still playing professionally. Olson last coached at Arizona eight years ago.

Some pro players have overlapped the Olson-Miller regimes. They include Kyle Fogg (Belgium), Jamelle Horne (Japan) and Nic Wise (Turkey).

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also has published articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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