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The NBA season tips off tonight with 13 former Arizona Wildcats playing at the next level.
Incredibly, seven of them are still Lute Olson-recruited players, including 17-year veteran Jason Terry of Houston.
Olson coached his last game with Arizona in the 2006-07 season, nine long years ago, yet his seven players in the NBA are more than many programs boast about today.
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The number does not include Utah Jazz center Jeff Withey, who signed with Arizona but transferred to Kansas after one semester after Olson took a leave of absence in 2007-08.
Louisville’s Rick Pitino presently has only two former Cardinals in the NBA. Tom Izzo of Michigan State has only five. Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan has eliminated Arizona the last two years in the Elite Eight but only two Badgers are in the NBA and he’s coached there since 2001.
Sean Miller has produced six NBA players in his first six seasons at Arizona, including three rookies this year — one of them the unlikely T.J. McConnell, who made the Philadelphia roster because of his all-out hustle which is making his teammates around him better.
Three other Miller recruits — Grant Jerrett, Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley — were cut in the preseason but their NBA dreams will likely remain alive this season playing in the D-League.
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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:
— Mike White (@mwhiteburgh) October 27, 2015