Arizona basketball, fast-break style …
— Arizona’s program is ranked fourth among the most valuable programs in the country, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal published yesterday.
The Wildcats’ operation (valued at $224.1 million) trails only traditional powers Louisville ($291 million), Kansas ($259.3 million) and North Carolina ($228.6 million).
Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, calculated intrinsic valuations for 100 top Division I programs. Among other factors, the study examined each team’s revenues and expenses and made cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections, according to the WSJ report.
— USA Today reporter Dan Shanoff reported today his top five freshmen in NCAA tournament history, and included an honorable mention of three players. Not one was Arizona’s Mike Bibby, who was a significant reason why the Wildcats won the 1997 NCAA championship.
Shanoff lists, in order, his top five as Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Pervis Ellison, Anthony Davis and Chris Webber — all deserving of that honor. Also receiving consideration are Michigan freshman post player Mitch McGary, Greg Oden and Michael Jordan.
Considering that all of these players are either wing players, power forwards or centers, Bibby should be considered the best freshman point guard in NCAA tournament history.
In Arizona’s Final Four victories over North Carolina and Kentucky in 1997, Bibby totaled 39 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and six steals. He had 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the championship game against Kentucky.
Moreover, former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino — who will try to coach Louisville to a championship tonight against McGary and Michigan — had to abandon his patented full-court press during the game because of the way Bibby directed Arizona’s execution.
— I wrote earlier today about former UA graduate assistant Luke Murray and former Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck as worthy candidates to fill James Whitford’s spot on Sean Miller’s staff.
Other deserving candidates, of course, are San Diego State assistant Tony Bland and former UA point guard Damon Stoudamire, now on Josh Pastner’s staff at Memphis.
It was erroneously reported earlier today that Bland accepted a position with Andy Enfield at USC. Bland — one of the top recruiters on the West coast — will also reportedly interview with Miller.
Miller can’t go wrong with either Bland, Stoudamire, Murray or Peck (there are likely at least 25 more who have applied).
Stoudamire’s name and success overall at Arizona and the NBA is a value Miller can bank on. It would also enhance Arizona’s chances to reclaim the Pacific Northwest in its recruiting pursuits. Stoudamire is from Portland.
Lute Olson made a priority of targeting that region with the signings of Michael Dickerson, Jason Terry, Chris Rodgers and Marcus Williams.
Arizona senior-to-be Jordin Mayes would welcome Stoudamire with open arms. His father, Darryel Mayes, mentored Stoudamire when Stoudamire grew into a talented high school player at Woodrow Wilson High School in Portland. The families have remained close over the years. Damon and Salim Stoudamire (they’re cousins) granted Mayes’ request to wear their uniform No. 20.
Stoudamire’s presence would continue to help make Mayes’ confidence hit full stride after his struggles with foot injuries most of his career.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner