Arizona Basketball

2014 interview shows Sager followed Arizona Wildcats hoops program closely


Arizona Wildcats radio analyst Ryan Hansen asked longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager during the 2014 NCAA tournament who his favorite Arizona player was to interview in the NBA.

Sager went into a bowing motion, revering former Arizona guard Jason Terry.

“Hands down … JT, he’s unbelievable,” Sager said. “Whenever we do a game and he’s playing he wants to be the guy interviewed on the court after the game.

“Whenever he sees me, he always says, ‘Hey, I’m your postgame interview. I’m your postgame interview.'”

Sager responded, “OK JET (Terry’s nickname), no problem.”

Sadly, Sager won’t get another opportunity for that interview. He passed away at 65 on Thursday morning after his bout with cancer, a fight that inspired many, including the NBA players and coaches he interviewed throughout the years with TBS and TNT.

Sager also worked with another Arizona basketball legend, Steve Kerr, while they were with Turner Sports. Kerr wore a colorful tie in October in tribute to Sager, known for his flamboyant style of suits worn during the telecast of NBA games.

Hansen caught up with Sager during the 2014 NCAA tournament in Anaheim, Calif., when TBS televised Arizona’s games there against San Diego State and Wisconsin.

“We watch them all the time,” Sager told Hansen about observing the Wildcats. “We follow every game. I do a lot of NBA games with Steve Kerr, so we live and breathe Wildcat basketball.”

Sager said he knew of Arizona coach Sean Miller when Miller was playing at Pittsburgh.

“We knew him back there,” Sager said. “When he went to Arizona, that’s a big step up because there’s a lot of tradition there. You always wondered what kind of style he was going to get, was he going to be able to recruit the top guys?

“He certainly stepped right in there and made the most of his talent.”

Some notable social media reactions involving Arizona’s players regarding the loss of Sager:

Richard Jefferson did this photobomb when Sager interviewed LeBron James during the NBA Finals in June:

Former Arizona standout Corey Williams, now an ESPN college basketball broadcaster, hails from Batavia, Ill., the same hometown as Sager.

Was just thinking about my friend when I snapped this last night at #ESPN studios. RIP Craig. You were the BEST! #batavia #32

A photo posted by Corey Williams (@collegecorey) on

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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