Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Jason Terry memories: Bennett Davison




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It was the night before the 1997 national title game, Arizona’s first venture that far no less. What were the Wildcats up to?

Keeping to themselves? Strictly business? Counting the hours to playing Kentucky? Chewing off the fingernails?

“We had a food fight and it was Jason Terry who started it,” Bennett Davison recalled in an interview with me Monday night. “I remember Ros (assistant coach Jim Rosborough) was with Coach (Lute) Olson at the coach’s table and he asked Coach Olson if he should break it up.

“Coach Olson told him, ‘Let them just be kids. We’ll deal with the pressure and all of the exterior forces. Let them have their fun.'”

Jason Terry

Rosborough, a down-to-earth guy who shared a friendship with the players, joked about Davison with me this morning: “He says J.T. started it, but he was probably just as much of an instigator.” Ros, as he is called, said with a laugh, “I think Bennett had his playbook there, learning his plays up to the last day of the season because it took him that long.”

It is that kind of banter that was characteristic of Arizona. The Wildcats embodied the cool confidence of Terry as the nation’s top sixth man. They handled the pressure, beating Kentucky 84-79 in overtime in Indianapolis for the school’s first national title.

Aside from the game preparation (scouting reports and practice) equally important was Arizona’s composed demeanor in dealing with all of the noise and the thought of playing against the defending champions, coached by Rick Pitino.

The throwing of calamari and vegetables at the team meal was as important as watching game film. It kept the team loose. The easy-going behavior can be attributed to Terry, the guy who gained national notoriety for sleeping in his uniform as a superstition the night before each game in the NCAA tournament.

Terry, a consensus national player of the year as a senior in 1998-99, will have his jersey No. 31 retired Thursday night when Arizona hosts USC.

“J.T. was the jokester who always reminded us we were out there to have fun,” said Davison, who was also a life of the party. It was Davison who ruffled Olson’s hair after the win over Kentucky.

“Don’t get me wrong, we took things seriously and we had a business approach to how we did things under Coach Olson,” Davison said. “But that (1996-97) team was all about not not letting the stress get to us. It started with J.T.

“When things got serious, he became relaxed. He is pretty street-wise. He grew up in not one of the best areas of Seattle. He got a lot of his confidence from his mom (Andrea Cheatham), who had a very endearing spirit with a lot of high hopes and positive energy.”


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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:

What is Bennett Davison up to?



Aside from his work in residential real estate, which has him moving from Roseville, Calif., to Dallas later this month, Davison is the Chief Executive Officer of Euro Hoop Life. Davison, a 12-year pro overseas after his Arizona career finished in 1998, founded the organization with the purpose to serve as an information resource for future, current and former international basketball players. Davison knows of the importance of making educated decisions on contracts with different pro leagues overseas. He also knows about making wise life decisions after basketball. Euro Hoop Life assists agents to help direct their players to the best possible league overseas. It also provides information to lawyers to assist in legal action against teams who do not comply with the terms of a signed contract.


Bennett Davison fishing with Lute Olson and other former Arizona players last summer — (from left to right), Tom Tolbert, Joe Turner, Olson, Davison, Craig McMillan and Craig Bergman (Davison photo).

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Terry’s collected behavior allowed for the smooth transition of freshman sensation Mike Bibby to come in and start ahead of him at point guard despite Terry’s one year in the program. Davison said he can relate to how Terry’s team-first mentality helped the Wildcats become national champions.

“You look at my role, I was the No. 1 junior college player in the nation averaging 18 to 20 points a game,” Davison said, “and when I went to Arizona, I became a role player. J.T. became that reliable sixth man off the bench.

“You never want pigeon-hole yourself. You want to put yourself in the best situation and hope that has a positive impact on the team. J.T. was a guy who kept the team going because he never put himself above the team.”


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[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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