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By popular demand, after our publication of Arizona’s Top 10 Football Badasses, AllSportsTucson.com brings you the Wildcats’ Top 10 Basketball Badasses. The countdown switches to this site’s new slideshow format.
The following slideshow features some of the most tough-minded, grind-it-out, never-accept-losing players in the history of the Arizona Wildcats’ hoops program.
They embody the grit it took for Arizona to evolve from instability to becoming one of college basketball’s elite programs.
The toughness was derived from the characteristics of Fred Snowden, Lute Olson and Sean Miller — Arizona’s three modern-day head coaches who brought to the program their own toughness.
Snowden grew up in the Motor City with blue-collar values. Olson was forced to grow up fast on a small farm in tiny Mayville, N.D., after his older brother and father passed away when he was only 6. Miller hails from Pittsburgh, the Steel City, where nothing is earned without putting in the hard work.
“Nastiness is required,” is what Miller’s message was to the Wildcats in 2009 when he was hired. Arizona was in search of an identity after Olson’s retirement saga in 2007 and 2008.
That identity was found and it mirrors the image of Miller’s intense face during practice and games.
“We’re not going to back down from anybody, no matter who you are, where you come from, how big you are, how tough you are,” Stanley Johnson told AllSportsTucson.com’s Anthony Gimino in a piece for TucsonNewsNow.com on Miller’s respect for the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” image in the late 1980’s.
“We’re the tougher dudes and, guess what, we’re going to show you — not by fist fighting — but by how hard we play on every possession, how hard we crash the glass, how we play our offense, how we play our defense. That is just the way we play our basketball.”
To start the slideshow click the “Next” bottom either to the top right or bottom right.
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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: