Arizona Basketball

Throwback Thursday: Arizona’s last conference tournament title



Clip from an story on Arizona and MVP Luke Walton winning the 2002 Pac-10 tournament title, the Wildcats’ last conference tournament championship.

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Remember the last time Arizona won a conference tournament title? It was way back in 2002, when Stanley Johnson was in kindergarten.

Arizona beat USC for that 2002 conference tournament title, with junior forward Luke Walton earning Most Outstanding Player honors.

Walton had 23 points and eight assists in the title game against USC, playing all 40 minutes in the 81-71 victory.

“It just shows what type of player he is,” Arizona point guard Jason Gardner was quoted as saying by the Tucson Citizen’s Steve Rivera. “He’s finding players with the ball and leading the team. He did a great job for us.”

Arizona struggled against USC’s full-court press in the first half, committing 10 turnovers, but then coach Lute Olson moved Walton to the middle of the floor, where he could direct traffic and find open teammates.

“Luke is like our eyes on the court,” said freshman center Channing Frye. “We just move around, and Luke will find us.”

Gardner and shooting guard Salim Stoudamire, a freshman, were selected to the all-tournament team along with Walton.

The Pac-10 tournament was held from 1987 to 1990 before being discontinued. The tourney resumed in 2002. Arizona won four in a row (1988, 1989, 1990, 2002) but none in the last 12 years.


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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:

[/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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