A roundup of University of Arizona sports news.
Coach Olson washes hands of NBA bolters
After losing standout guard Jerryd Bayless to the NBA draft and watching top recruit Brandon Jennings trade college ball for European leagues, Arizona head basketball coach Lute Olson said he’s through with single-season recruits.
“It’s a situation now that if someone’s a ‘one-and-done,’ we’re not going to pursue them anymore, no way,” Olson told the L.A. Times last Thursday.
The 73-year-old Hall of Fame coach called the trend of young players who evade the NBA’s age restriction by playing one sole collegiate season a “farce.”
League rules require rookie players be a minimum of 19 years old, one season removed from their senior high school year.
Olson’s comments followed Jennings’ decision last week to be the first incoming freshman to play European ball rather than collegiate hoops. Bayless bolted for the 2008 draft after a 19-15 season marked by Olson’s season-long leave of absence, as the coach navigated through a divorce.
“Jerryd said all along he wanted to stay here two years,” Olson told the Times. “But then you get the agents working on the kids and parents all year. You might have the kid in your controlled environment for some time, but when [outsiders are] on the parents, you have no idea what’s going on.”
Olson’s statement drew skepticism from some coaches, including Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, who say early draft declarations are simply part of the game.
“Are you crazy?” Boeheim retorted to the Times, asked if he’d adopt Olson’s policy.
Two of Olson’s core players for this season, guard Nic Wise and forward Chase Budinger, will return after eyeing a jump from the team after their sophomore years.
Wildcat catcher heads to bigs
Former Arizona catcher Nick Hundley completed his first week in the big leagues with a .211 average, after the San Diego Padres called him up from Triple-A Portland on July 4.
Hundley contributed a base hit toward the Padres’ 5-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in his first game. Through seven games ending last Sunday, he’d posted one RBI, one double and four hits in 19 at-bats.
The 6’ 1”, 210-pound catcher becomes the 59th former Wildcat to make the show. The Padres selected Hundley in the second round of the 2005 draft as the 76th overall pick.
Hundley’s the third of UA head coach Andy Lopez’s alums to reach the majors (John Meloan, Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007 and Brian Anderson, Chicago White Sox in 2005).