Is anyone out there on the basketball court – and perhaps off of it – having more fun than Arizona’s Dalen Terry?
That wide smile, that enthusiasm, that handclapping, I-got-this attitude?
Don’t forget those stare-at-the-sideline/crowd looks … oh, those looks.
“I’m a player that talks trash,” he said in a recent interview. “That’s part of basketball, I think. I’m going to let the other team hear it. Obviously do it smart so the refs don’t see it. I just love confrontation and stuff like that. It gets our team going. Me and Kerr talk to the other team and get us going. It motivates me to have good games.”
And creates problems for the opponents. Apparently, Arizona’s in-your-face attitude has caught the attention of the outside media, given the first question of last week’s media session in San Diego.
Do you win a ton of games because you’re cocky or are you cocky because you won a ton of games?
“It’s our personality,” Terry responded. “Stuff like that gets us going. It’s nothing we do on purpose, just it’s part of the game. Me doing whatever I do and Kerr doing whatever he (does), it’s another edge for our team to keep winning.”
And finally, that flexing he does to show his strength. I’ve never seen someone so thin flex as much.
“Heck, if you ask me, I’m the strongest man in the world,” he said, smiling. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
That’s Terry, leader of the fun bunch – well, co-leader of the fun bunch alongside Kriisa – when it comes to getting his team going. He does it all … and then some.
It’s helped Arizona get to 33-3 and ready to face Houston on Thursday in San Antonio in the Sweet 16.
Stay tuned, there will likely be more antics – flexing, faces, steals and dunks.
And many coming from Arizona’s “Glue Guy” “Glue Guy”, or “Swiss Army Knife” given he can do so many things on the court.
“I take that name as a compliment,” he said, referring to “Glue Guy.”
“If they didn’t call me that I’d still be that guy. I love it. It’s a good nickname. It made me laugh when I first heard it.”
Run, jump, defend, score and talk crap.
No one is laughing these days given his versatility on the court. His long arms allow him to guard on the perimeter and near the basket. His athletic ability allows him the same.
“I’ve always been a player who wants to affect both sides of the floor, being in the role that I am in now,” he said. “Last year I was fighting for minutes and that made me hungry to what I’m doing now. Now, I’m trying to maximize my minutes.”
Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said Terry has come a long way this season, developing nicely. When Kerr was out with that sprained right ankle, it helped Terry showcase more skills, his ability to play the point guard spot.
“He’s been opportunistic,” Lloyd said.
He’s also become a nice “developing shooter,” Lloyd said. He kept Arizona in the game on Sunday with a timely 3-pointer from the corner, giving UA a chance to stay close and eventually win the game.
“If teams are going to play off him, I’m comfortable with him taking those wide-open 3s,” Lloyd said. “And he steps up and makes them in critical times. They’ve been a catalyst for us these last couple of games.”
As for his antics on the court, does Lloyd have to calm him down a bit and maybe reign him in?
“I just tell Dalen, take a breath, get your feel on the ground,” Lloyd said. “When he does that it’s great. Sometimes he gets a little sped up. And I can see when it’s happening. I just talk to him, and he takes a breath.”
Breathe. Fun. Breathe. Fun. And, yes, flex.
“It’s fun every day waking up with a smile on my face,” he said. “It’s a great time to be here. All my teammates are having a good time. Young kids are here living our dreams.”