Andre Iguodala’s two years with the Arizona Wildcats in 2002-03 and 2003-04 are almost a blur because of his sudden departure to the NBA, a move by players fans in Tucson have become accustomed to in recent years.
Now 13 years into his NBA career, Iguodala continues to be impressive in his overall game, including his shooting, which was not yet fully developed when he left Lute Olson and the Arizona Wildcats following his sophomore season.
The two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP in 2015, is one of the most accomplished former Wildcats to play in the NBA.
If your memory of Iguodala’s feats with the Arizona Wildcats has faded away because of the 13 years since he played for Olson, the following ranking will make you recall his value. He is the only Arizona player with three triple-doubles to his credit (all in one season, 2003-04).
In that same season, Iguodala was the first Arizona player to lead the team in rebounds, assists and steals in the same year.
Some of his better games with Arizona Wildcats did not make the list like the time he scored a career-high 25 points with eight rebounds at California (Feb. 5, 2004) or when he had a 10-point, 15-rebound game at Washington State (Jan. 29, 2004).
Against Washington State at McKale Center on Feb. 28, 2004
Andre Iguodala, in only his sophomore season in 2003-04, became one of the best players in the nation while starring for the Arizona Wildcats. He grabbed a career-high (and Arizona season-high) 16 rebounds to go with 12 points and three assists in the 72-60 win over the Cougars at McKale Center.
“We needed a win bad,” Iguodala was quoted as saying by the Associated Press as the Wildcats improved to 18-8. “Also, I really need to attack at all times instead of being passive. I was just trying to attack today.”
The Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak with the win. Iguodala’s hustle set the tone for the grind-it-out victory against the Cougars.
Against Liberty at McKale Center on Dec. 28, 2003
Iguodala achieved his second triple-double of the season with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 107-91 win over Liberty at McKale Center on Dec. 28 as part of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
With 6:34 left and Arizona ahead 96-67, Iguodala turned into a point guard, finding freshman Mustafa Shakur for a layup. His triple-double was complete.
“It’s not very often that you have a chance at a triple-double, and that’s why we left him in a little longer than we probably needed to,” Lute Olson told Steve Rivera in a Tucson Citizen report.
Iguodala told Rivera playing the point took him back to his boyhood days.
“It was like high school, because I was a point guard (then),” the Springfield, Ill., native said. “I just called the play and found the open man.”
Iguodala joined Loren Woods as the only Arizona player to have two triple-doubles at that time.
Against Louisiana-Lafayette at McKale Center on Dec. 30, 2003
Only two nights after the triple-double against Liberty, Iguodala thrilled the McKale Center crowd with a career-high 23 points (his first career 20-point game) that included the game-winning three-pointer with nine seconds remaining. He also had nine rebounds to go with five assists in the 72-69 win over the Ragin’ Cajuns in the title game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
Louisiana-Lafayette coach Jessie Evans, an Arizona assistant for nine years under Lute Olson, told the Tucson Citizen: “We were right there.”
Iguodala put the Wildcats on top with his 20-foot jumper with only two seconds left on the shot clock and nine seconds overall. Arizona point guard Mustafa Shakur passed to Iguodala in the corner for the shot although he was the third option behind sharpshooters Salim Stoudamire and Chris Rodgers.
“That’s the first time it ever worked like that,” Iguodala told the Citizen’s Steve Rivera about being the viable option for the pressure-filled shot.
Against UCLA at McKale Center on Feb. 14, 2004
In what was dubbed the “Valentine’s Day Massacre” by the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Iguodala posted his Arizona-record third career triple-double with 14 points (behind 9-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line), 11 rebounds and 10 assists to go with five steals in the 107-83 rout of the rival Bruins.
Iguodala’s performance was magnificent but it was a subplot to Salim Stoudamire’s career-high 34 points behind 13-of-17 shooting from the floor, including 7-of-9 from three-point range.
“He’s just like Luke Walton was last year for us, except more athletic,” Stoudamire told the Wildcat about Iguodala, who now plays for Walton (a Golden State assistant).
Iguodala had more offensive rebounds (five) than the Bruins, who managed to grab only four. He complimented Stoudamire and others for allowing him to gather 10 assists.
“I thank my teammates,” Iguodala told the Wildcat. “If they don’t shoot the ball well, I wouldn’t be able to find them. I’m just in the right place at the right time.”
Against Texas at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Dec. 9, 2003
Iguodala had a better performance than nearby Broadway posting his first career triple-double — the seventh in Arizona Wildcats history — with 13 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists in the 91-83 victory over Texas in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Iguodala’s triple-double and Hassan Adams’ career-high 30 points with 10 rebounds enabled Arizona to win at Madison Square Garden for the ninth consecutive time and increase the Wildcats’ winning streak over the Longhorns to eight games.
“We had a chance to break it open all game,” Iguodala told the Associated Press. “Once we clamped down on defense, it opened things up and we got onthe boards hard and we kept running and tired them down.
“Our chemistry is coming together, and I’m having a good time with it.”
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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.