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2 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021

UA Basketball Special Edition | VOLUME 115, ISSUE 64 Season Success


Adia Barnes

How will the Arizona men’s and women’s teams find success?

Life after Aari

Women’s coach enters season following National Championship bid



Roundtable The DW Sports Desk gives their predictions for the upcoming season

Bennedict Mathurin Star-potential sophomore looks for a breakout season



Cate Reese

Schedule & Roster


The Pac-12 Player of the Year has moved on, so what’s next for the women’s team?

Men’s and women’s 2021 schedule and roster


Highlighting the upward trajectory of Arizona’s senior forward




Volume 115 • Issue 64

Editor-in-Chief Maggie Rockwell

Science Editor Jillian Bartsch

Opinions Editor Payton Toomey

Managing Editors Capri Fain Sam Burdette

Sports Editor Jordan Pollock

Photo Editor Tia Stephens

Assistant Sports Editor Ryan Wohl

Multimedia Editor Pascal Albright

Arts & Life Editor Ella McCarville

Copy Chief JT Thorpe

Assistant Arts & Life Editor Diana Ramos Sacaria

Assistant Copy Chief Grant Forgues

News Editor Kristijan Barnjak Assistant News Editor Sohi Kang


News Reporters Sean Meixner Vic Verbalitis Jane Florance Sohi Kang Grant Hoover Kate Ewing Annabel Lecky Sam Parker Kiara Adams Susan Barnett Angeliana Martinez

Sports Reporters Ari Koslow Jake Faigus Devin Homer Patrick Carr CJ Lala Asher Bookspan Andrea Morabito Cayden Brotz Sam Gillman Aidan Alperstein Cole Johnson

Science Reporters Udbhav Venkataraman Andres Diaz Trinity Clark Vivek Aking

Arts & Life Reporters Allison Fagan Abbie Kosoc Ellen Nangia Sohi Kang Madison Beveridge Jamelle Texeria Keryn Aponte

Thursday, November 18, 2021

John Konrad Ana Teresa Espinoza Vanessa Lucero Selassie Wilson

Opinion Writers Amanda Betz Maggie Landon Julianna Strano Jacqueline Aguilar Emma Watts Sophia Hammer Adeline Palmquist Alexzandria Martinez Copy Editors Hannah Martuscello Frances Drye Anais Martinez Tereza Rascon

Designers JT Thorpe Maggie Rockwell Sam Burdette Ella McCarville Jillian Bartsch Pascal Albright Diana Ramos Payton Toomey Tia Stephens Photographers and Multimedia Reporters Caitlin Claypool Carly Markovich Chelsea Shauger Danielle Main Eli Rahamim Evan Zavitz Jackie Cabrera Jackson Kimball

Kyle Openshaw Marison Bilagody Megan Ewing Mira Bella French Nathanial Stenchever Sasha Gil Tony De Anda Augustine Lopez Sam Potter UATV 3 General Manager AJ Janos KAMP Student Radio General Manager Annika Reimers

ABOUT THE DAILY WILDCAT: The Daily Wildcat is the University of Arizona’s student-run, independent news source. While publishing daily online at, its print edition is distributed on campus and throughout Tucson during fall and spring semesters. The function of the Wildcat is to disseminate news to the

community and to encourage an exchange of ideas. The Daily Wildcat was founded in 1899. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in the newspaper or are the sole property of the Daily Wildcat and may not be reproduced without the specific consent of the editor-in-chief. A single print copy of the Daily Wildcat is free from newsstands. Unauthorized removal of multiple copies will be considered theft and may be prosecuted. Additional print copies of the Daily Wildcat are available from the Arizona Student Media office. The Daily Wildcat is a member of the Associated Collegiate Press and the Arizona Newspapers Association.


editorials represent the official opinion of the Daily Wildcat opinions board, which is determined at opinions board meetings. Opinion columns, guest commentary, cartoons, online comments and letters to the editors do not represent the opinion of the publication, but that of the author.

CORRECTIONS: Corrections or complaints concerning Daily Wildcat content should be directed to the editor-in-chief. For further information on the Daily Wildcat’s approved grievance policy, readers may contact Brett Fera, director of Arizona Student Media, in the Sherman R. Miller 3rd Newsroom at the University Services Building. NEWS TIPS: (520) 621-3193 The Daily Wildcat is always interested in story ideas and tips from readers. If you see something deserving of coverage, contact the newsroom at or call 621-3193.

COVER DESIGN: Head basketball coaches Adia Barnes and Tommy Lloyd | Photo illustration by Sam Burdette | The Daily Wildcat

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 3


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4 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



The road to a successful women’s hoops season are both projected to have a big year. The two players will bring a lot of experience to the team BY CAYDEN BROTZ and should be able to run the offense effectively. @caydenbrotz1 With McDonald off the team, new people are going to have to step up at the guard position. It’s that time of the year again: basketball One of those players is Taylor Chavez, a junior season is here! transfer from Oregon. Chavez is a two-way Coming in ranked at No. 22 in the polls, the guard who specializes from Arizona women’s basketball the 3-point line. During her team has high expectations I’m extremely excited time in Oregon, she shot 44% for this upcoming season. from the 3-point line and After losing a close for this year. I know that was a huge role player on the game to Stanford in the expectations are really offensive side. championship last year, According to the Pac-12, Arizona is hoping to come high, but I am excited Arizona is ranked No. 15 in into this season with some the coach’s poll due to Barnes, vengeance. for all the momentum helped Arizona win their A big loss for this team is we have and I’m excited who Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final star player Aari McDonald, Four games by double-figures. who was the leading scorer for the chance for us to She was also the youngest for Arizona last year and play in front of a crowd.” coach since 2014 to reach was a huge role player in the Final Four, where they the tournament. knocked off the No. 1 ranked Adia Barnes, Arizona’s University of Connecticut. head coach, is left with Arizona is going into this year very the tough task of taking her team back to the experienced and has one goal in mind, to win championship. Without McDonald, the team is the championship. However, Arizona does face a led by senior forward Sam Thomas and senior tough task and will need to beat some of the best forward Cate Reese. Thomas was a big part of teams in the NCAA to accomplish its goal. Arizona’s success last year. She won the Pac-12 Although Arizona’s preseason ranking is Scholar-Athlete of the Year and made the Allat No. 5 in the Pac-12, they can still shock the Pac-12 team. country and be a powerhouse once again in this Both Thomas and Reese were voted to be on upcoming season. the preseason All-Pac-12 team and this season



WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH Adia Barnes speaks to the media for the first time of the 2021 season in McKale Center on Oct. 1.

Transfers help round out Adia Barnes’ retooled roster BY DEVIN HOMER @DevinHomer

For the 2021-22 season the Arizona women’s basketball team has six new faces on the squad. The Wildcats welcome three transfers and three freshmen to the team. Taylor Chavez — Junior Chavez is originally from Arizona and came home after three years of playing for the University of Oregon. She is a 5-foot10-inch tall guard that will look to add more scoring to the back-court. Coming out of Valley Vista High School, Chavez was the No. 61 recruit for ESPN in the nation in the 2018 recruiting class, averaging 23.3 points, eight rebounds, 5.5 assists and 5.3 steals per game. As a Duck, Chavez won the Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year award two years ago as a sophomore and in her last season at Oregon, she averaged 4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 35.7%

from the floor and 33.3% from 3-point range. Koi Love — Junior Love is originally from Orlando, Florida, and Love was the No. 40 best recruit in the 2019 recruiting class for Prospect Nation. She has spent the last two years at Vanderbilt. In her freshman year, Love was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team and a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week. Love averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. In her sophomore season, Love nearly averaged a double-double for the year with 20.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. She was on track to have a huge season before their season got discontinued in January. She is a 6-foot forward that will add more size to the Wildcats and will add scoring in the low-post. Ariyah Copeland — Senior Copeland is originally from Columbus,

Georgia, and rated No. 50 overall for Prospect Nation. Copeland has spent the last four years playing for Alabama. She finished her career at the University of Alabama with 16 career double-doubles. She also finished last season with the highest field goal percentage in the SEC (60.9). Anna Gret Asi — Freshman Gret Asi is a freshman from Tartu, Estonia. Gret Asi played for Tartu University, where she averaged a teamhigh 19 points, 5.7 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. She shot 49% from the field, 50% from three and 92% from the free-throw line. She also competed in the FIBA 3X3 qualifier for her home country. Gret Asi is a 5-foot-8-inch guard that will look to grow into a key contributor years down the road. Aaronette Vonleh — Freshman Vonleh is originally from West Linn,

Oregon. Coming out of high school she was rated as a four-star recruit and the No. 9 post player in the country by ESPN. During her junior season, she averaged 17.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 64% from the field in 2020. She is a 6-foot-3-inch tall forward that will look to add scoring and low-post defense to the team. She is the sister of NBA player Noah Vonleh. Gisela Sanchez — Freshman Sanchez is from Barcelona, Spain. Sanchez played for Segal XXI, the same club UA junior guard Helena Pueyo played for in Spain. During the 2020-21 season, she averaged 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Sanchez also averaged 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game at the 2019 U16 European Championships and helped Spain win the bronze medal. Sanchez is a 6-foot3-inch forward that will add more depth to the front court and look to develop her skills to help the team down the road.

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 5



Will men’s basketball triumph this season? BY JORDAN POLLOCK @TURBOPOLLOCK


UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA PRESIDENT Dr. Robert C. Robbins watches the men’s basketball game from the sidelines in November. The Wildcats went on to win 81-52.

In recent Years, the Arizona men’s basketball team and their performance has been tainted by NCAA investigations and looming sanctions. The program will need a tournament appearance quickly to bring the buzz back. An above-average season a year ago featured a Wildcat team with a record of 17-9. While the record was average, the team was young and showed signs of potential, particularly in current sophomore forward Azuolas Tubelis and fellow sophomore guard Bennedict Mathurin. Both Tubelis and Mathurin finished last year on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, and are also listed as NBA

prospects and possible draft picks in next summer’s NBA draft, according to CBS. With players of that level currently on the roster, there should be no reason the Wildcats finish with a losing record. Arguably, Arizona’s biggest challenge comes in terms of coaching this year. New head coach Tommy Lloyd is a big-name hailing as a longtime assistant coach under Mark Few Gonzaga for 20 years. Though it’s possible Lloyd was and is the right hire for the program, there could be some growing pains going forward as Lloyd has never been at the helm of a program. Like last year’s team, this year’s is mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores, so it will be interesting to see how this team performs in

times of adversity. Fans are sure to expect some big wins through the season — alongside some headscratching losses due to the youth and inexperience of both players and coaches. Justin Kier, a sixth-year transfer from the University of Georgia, could be a key player in terms of the experience and leadership he could bring to the team to eliminate youthful mistakes. With the recent off-the-court struggles the program has faced, a successful season for the program would mean an NCAA tournament appearance, bringing hope for the new coach and program going forward. Anything less than a mere appearance in the big dance will spark major questions for the program’s future.

New faces in new places in Tommy Lloyd’s first UA lineup BY PATRICK CARR @pfcsports99

Head coach Tommy Lloyd isn’t the only new face around Arizona men’s basketball, as he brings in a fresh mindset and many new names into Tucson. Lloyd was able to maintain five key players from last year’s team at the end of the Sean Miller era. Along with that, he was able to grab many new players via the transfer portal or international commitment trail. Some of these players look to play extremely key roles in this upcoming season. Justin Kier — 6th Year Kier, a transfer from Georgia and an SEC conference that was extremely solid last year, opening many eyes as a conference to look out for consistently. Kier played about 30 minutes a night for Georgia, becoming an obvious key role as a reliable defender and ball handler. In those big minutes, he averaged 9.5 points, two assists, four rebounds, two steals and on 39-37-75 shooting splits. Kier is expected to be someone that plays a lot of spot minutes for Lloyd as a backup ballhandler or someone he pairs up with Kerr Kriisa in two-guard lineups to help the former guard out defensively up top. Shane Nowell — Freshman Nowell was a prominent basketball recruit for Miller and he stayed committed when Lloyd took the job.

Nowell comes from Sammamish, Washington, as a great scorer and play creator from the combo guard position. He is ranked 83rd overall in the country according to 24/7 Sports. Nowell is someone who can put the ball in the basket in a hurry. He is a lefty with a smooth handle and a bag of moves in his arsenal to get to the cup. He is still refining his shot but expect Nowell to be a spark plug player off the bench this year. Adama Bal — Freshman Bal is another four-star Arizona commit this offseason. The guard from Paris is extremely lanky with a 6-foot-6inch profile at the floor general position as well. Bal, being extremely raw in his development, may not see much this year, but seeing him in practice and at the Red-Blue game, he is a name Arizona fans could remember. At 17 years old, his playmaking and smoothness to the feel of the game are impressive, and he also has a great motor defensively. Pelle Larsson — Freshman Larsson is a transfer from the University of Utah and has only been in the college game for one year with many years left of eligibility. Larsson is a sharpshooter who shot 47% from the 3-point line last season on his 8 points per game. Since he’s recovering from a foot injury this offseason, it is yet to be known how much Pelle will be able to play early in the

season, but Lloyd referenced him as “one of our best players” at media day. When Larsson gets the clear, expect 20 minutes quickly from him as he provides a rarity in college basketball, a player you cannot leave a sliver of space to. Oumar Ballo — Freshman Ballo joined Lloyd by coming over from Gonzaga University via the transfer portal. Ballo is a behemoth of an athlete standing at 7 feet tall and 260 pounds protecting the paint. Ballo and Christian Koloko could provide decently reliable rim protection as each of their best strengths are interior defense, and Ballo has experience with Lloyd’s system as well from sticking with him for two years now. Kim Aiken Jr. — Junior Aiken transferred from Eastern Washington University during Miller’s final days and decided to stick with the commitment to Tucson when Lloyd took the job. Aiken is a prolific wing defender and a veteran with postseason experience which will be key for this young blossoming team. Aiken averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds last season on an Eastern Washington team that pushed Kansas to the brink in the round of 64. Aiken Jr. is also comfortable talking to a crowd as he was extremely thankful to be around the Wildcats at media day. He could be someone that ZonaZoo feels comfortable with quickly.


KIM AIKEN JR. A junior on the Arizona men’s basketball team takes on two blue team defenders at the Red-Blue game on Oct. 2, in McKale Center.

6 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



Adia Barnes — homegrown legend Arizona to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 1998 when Barnes was still Head coach Adia Barnes playing on the team. In the of the Arizona women’s Sweet 16, Arizona knocked basketball team is an out Texas A&M and Arizona icon and legend. advanced to play Indiana Barnes started in Arizona where they knocked as a college basketball them out as well. Barnes player for the Wildcats has led the Wildcats to and she is first on the alluncharted territory to the time scoring list with 2,237 Final Four where they points. faced Connecticut. After she This game ended graduated from with Arizona Arizona in 1998, winning by 10 she got drafted in and advancing the fourth WNBA to the National round, pick 32, to Championship. the Sacramento The Wildcats — ADIA BARNES, WOMEN’S Monarchs. After would end up BASKETBALL HEAD COACH bouncing around losing this game on three teams by one basket in four years, she signed and ending the Wildcats 24 games while only with the Seattle Storm season just short of a losing seven. She did not where she won a WNBA championship. get to lead her team to Championship in 2004 In the offseason, the postseason that year and was named to the Barnes signed a contract because it was canceled Storm’s All-Decade Team. extension securing her due to COVID-19. After Barnes’ playing position to stay the head The following year was days, she turned to coach of the Wildcats until for the record books and coach where she got her the 2025-26 season. put Arizona women’s start at the University The Wildcats have basketball on the map of Washington as an reloaded through the nationwide. The team assistant coach. Before her came in second behind transfer portal after star arrival, the program did Aari McDonald graduated. Stanford in the Pac-12 not have a 20-win season “I think that we have a with a record of 21-6. in six years. In the 2011chance to be really good. They went into the Pac2012 season, the Huskies I think what you’ll see is 12 tournament looking posted a 20-win season we have a lot of people, to make a run at a Pacwith her on the coaching but we have a lot more 12 championship. In the staff. depth,” Barnes said. “We first round, Arizona was a In 2016 Barnes was score in different ways and top-two seed and received hired as the new Arizona we have a lot more girth a bye. The Wildcats women’s basketball head inside. So that’s something ended up playing against coach. In her first season that we haven’t had here. Washington State in the as the head coach, the So I’m really excited to see second round. The final Wildcats struggled and that this season.” score of that contest was posted a record of 14-16 Arizona winning 60-44 but and tied for ninth in the in the semi-finals, Arizona Pac-12. The following was knocked out by UCLA. Sign up for our year, the Wildcats posted Now the team looked onto a worse record at 6-24 sports e-newsletter, March Madness. and only had two wins In the first two rounds, hitting inboxes in conference play, Arizona got a dominant Fridays, at leaving them 11th in the victory over Stony Brook conference. and had a nail-biter win In 2018, Barnes led the against BYU. The win newslettersignup Wildcats on a historic run against BYU allowed


to a WNIT title. Arizona finished the season at 24-13, the most since the 2003-04 season, to complete the largest turnaround in school history, as well as the largest turnaround of any school in the 2018-19 season. She continued to build on this and win another

I think what you’ll see is we have a lot of people, but we have a lot more depth.”


ARIZONA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD coach Adia Barnes talks to her players during the second half of the Sweet Sixteen game vs. Idaho on Thursday, March 28, in McKale Center.

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition

MBB • 7


Tommy Lloyd ready to bring Arizona back to the national stage BYJORDAN POLLOCK @TURBOPOLLOCK

The new Arizona men’s basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd categorized Arizona as a “dream come true” when he accepted the job. Arizona men’s basketball has had a lot of success throughout the past 25 seasons. That time, which includes the Lute Olson era, is the reason Arizona is a basketball school. A national championship won by coach Olson in 1997 made Arizona a powerhouse in the West. Since that championship in ‘97, Arizona has finished with one runnerup, four Final Four appearances, seven Elite Eight appearances, four conference tournament championships and nine conference regularseason championships. “As we were building the program at Gonzaga, Arizona was the standard, and it’s a program we always looked up to and always admired,” Lloyd said in his first introductory press conference. “This is the only place I would ever leave Gonzaga to come.” Lloyd has spent the entirety of his coaching career as an assistant coach to long-time Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, 20 seasons to be exact. Gonzaga has dominated their conference throughout Lloyd’s tenure in Spokane, Washington, winning 19 West Coast Conference regularseason titles and 15 conference tournament titles. Few, with Lloyd’s help, has built a powerhouse of a program on the west coast, making the NCAA tournament every single season that Lloyd was there.

with the Arizona roster is the up-tempo offense we will see from the team. Gonzaga ran this through most of his time there especially when they recruited and developed players well. The up-tempo offense creates more opportunities for easier baskets and more points. The athletes currently on the roster will be able to cater well to this style, especially the younger players. It’s a simple offense and doesn’t require tons of specific plays but gives more control to the athletes on being aggressive and fast. Lloyd has done all to — TOMMY LLOYD, MEN’S credit former coaches BASKETBALL HEAD COACH Olson and Sean Miller, speaking of the success of the program over the last 40 years, namely due as a coach. to the previous two coaches. Lloyd’s biggest praises as Lloyd met with Miller this past an assistant coach were in summer to get a little insight recruiting and development, into the new job from its former which is a great pull for Arizona suitor. Lloyd, at the beginning if he can do those things in of his coaching career at Tucson. During Lloyd’s time at Gonzaga, coached against Gonzaga, a few notable players Olson when he was at the helm recruited and developed of the program back in 2003 include Adam Morrison, during the NCAA tournament, Domantas Sabonis, Rui which Lloyd described as “an Hachimura, Kelly Olynyk and epic game,” which ended in most recently Corey Kispert a double-overtime win for and Jalen Suggs. Arizona. Older starting players have The dream that continues to been scarce and few in the elude Lloyd since even his days Arizona men’s basketball at Gonzaga was that of winning program for the last few years. a national championship. The program’s last Elite Eight Being at the helm of the appearance in 2015 was led program gives Lloyd many by veteran starters in senior more hands-on attempts of TJ McConnell and juniors trying to bring one back to Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Tucson. Ashley. The development of “I want to be a part of it. … older players will be key for the Let’s get this program back to program going forward in the where we’re raising another form of having experienced national championship banner players and older leadership. [in McKale Center]. That’s my A big coaching aspect that dream. … I know I’m in the Lloyd has been very vocal right place today,” Lloyd said. about since getting more time Gonzaga is most recently off of a national loss, where they lost their only game of the season to the Baylor Bears in that national championship game. Lloyd also had a stipulation in his contract at Gonzaga to be the next head coach after Few. That shows the kind of trust that his former boss and the university had in Lloyd’s skills

Let’s get this program back to where we’re raising another national championship banner.”


TOMMY LLOYD, HEAD COACH of the Arizona men’s basketball team, at the game against NAU on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in McKale Center. The Wildcats defeated the Lumberjacks with a final score of 81-52.

8 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



Aari McDonald’s basketball legacy: How to make up for the loss? BY DEVIN HOMER @DevinHomer

Aari McDonald was one of the best basketball players the University of Arizona had seen since Adia Barnes. She transferred to Arizona from the University of Washington after her freshman season and looked to make an early impact. In her first season in Tucson, she broke Barnes’s record for most points in a season and was named as an Honorable Mention All-American. She was also the third-leading scorer in the nation at 24.1 points per game. In her junior year, she won the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award for the nation’s top shooting guard. She was a second-team All-American by the AP and won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. That season she became the first player in school history to score 40 points in a game. During her senior season, McDonald won the Pac-12 Player of the Year and CoDefensive Player of the Year. She also was named to second-team All-American by the AP for the second year in a row. During the NCAA tournament, she had two 30-point games in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. She led the team to the National Championship but lost to Stanford. McDonald finished her career in Arizona as the career leader in points per game and


AARI MCDONALD 2 GETS AHEAD on the fast break vs. Northwestern as she succeeds on a lay up attempt in the first half of play on April 6, 2019.

third all-time on the Arizona scoring list. After she graduated, she was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Dream, which was the highest draft pick in school history. McDonald’s departure is a big loss for the Wildcats, and they will have to pick up her production on offense and defense. On the offensive side of the ball, head coach Barnes will look to fill 24 points per game. They will need others to be aggressive, namely upperclassmen Cate Reese and Sam Thomas scoring inside the paint, as well as new transfer shooting guard Taylor Chavez to maximize the outside shot. The Wildcats will also look to underclassmen to step into bigger roles to help fill the void McDonald is leaving. This team is taller than last year’s team, so there will need to be less iso-basketball and more set plays to get the post more looks. On the defensive side of the ball, McDonald was an aggressive on-ball defender at the guard position. With her gone, Arizona will look to Shaina Pellington to do the same, being a pest on the ball, making the opposing team speed up their offense and come up with quick on-ball turnovers. A Barnes led team is always a defensive minded team, so they will likely look to continue playing great team defense.


AARI MCDONALD 2 WITH THE ball during the game vs. University of Washington on Feb. 14, 2020. Arizona won the night with a score of 64-53.

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 9



How we got to the Tommy Lloyd era BY JAKE FAIGUS @jake_faigus

The story begins after Lute Olson retired before the 2008-09 season, and the Arizona men’s basketball team was led by Russ Pennell for the year. Pennell led the Wildcats to a tournament berth and a surprise Sweet 16 appearance. But Pennell was not retained, and the Wildcats instead hired Sean Miller on April 6, 2009. Miller initially turned down the job but changed his mind and accepted the job despite never having visited the campus. After a forgettable first season where Arizona missed the tournament for the first time in 25 years, Miller had a generational player on his team with Derrick Williams, who led the team in his second season. Williams was the Pac-10 Player of the Year and a huge reason the Wildcats went on a magical run to the Elite Eight. Williams won their first-round game on a last-second block against Memphis, and then followed it up with a last-second threepoint play to beat Texas in their next game. The most memorable game from Williams and that year’s team came in the Sweet 16, when Arizona dominated the defending champions, Duke, and led by 30 points from Williams. The Wildcats had their season end in the Elite Eight against the eventual champion, the University of Connecticut Huskies, by 65-63. The Wildcats missed the tournament the next season and instead lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. Miller’s recruiting prowess started to rear its head, and Arizona returned to relevance the next season, losing to Ohio State in the Sweet 16 on a lastsecond loss. The next season, Miller had the most talent he’s had since arriving in Tucson, and led the Wildcats to a No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll, just the sixth time in the University of Arizona’s history that’s happened. They roared to a No. 1 seed in the tournament and played an instant classic against the No. 2 seed Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, but lost in overtime. The next season was much of the same, with Arizona having a rematch against Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, but they couldn’t contain Wisconsin’s threepoint shooting and lost 85-78. The following season, a bunch of new faces on the roster still helped the Wildcats finish third in the Pac-12, but they lost in the first round of the tournament to 11th seeded Wichita State. A roster of NBA talent the next season propelled the Wildcats to a two-seed in the tournament thanks to Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins and Lauri Markkanen. They would end up getting upset in the Sweet 16 by 11th seeded Xavier, 73-71.

LUTE OLSON LEFT COACHED the Wildcats for 24 years from 1983-2007 and won the programs only national championship. (Michelle A. Monroe | The Daily Wildcat) Sean Miller (Middle) was Arizona’s head coach for 12 seasons from 2009-2021, until the two sides agreed to part ways. (Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat) Tommy Lloyd (Right) was hired to be the new head coach in April after 20 seasons at Gonzaga as an assistant coach. (Megan Ewing | The Daily Wildcat)

The next season, Arizona had the highestranked recruit in school history with Deandre Ayton. Before the season, long-time Miller assistant coach, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, was named in a bribery scandal that was led by the FBI, into an alleged “pay for play” situation playing out in college basketball. A total of nine schools were named in the investigation, and Richardson was one of four assistants initially named and arrested. A now-defunct report by ESPN also came out that alleged Miller was heard on wiretap offering $100,000 for Ayton. Miller decided not to coach a game against Oregon, and after gave a public press conference denying all the allegations. Arizona, as a team, was up and down all year thanks to the constant distractions. They ended up winning the Pac-12 conference and finished as a No. 4 seed in the tournament. The 13th seeded University of Buffalo blew out the Wildcats, and the 2017-18 season mercifully came to an end. The team had a forgettable season the next year and missed the tournament. The season after, Arizona rode the coattails of three top

freshmen with Nico Mannion, Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji. The true potential of that team was never fully realized because of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of sports. In what would end up being Miller’s final season, Arizona self-imposed a postseason ban due to the NCAA looking into what was going on with former assistant Richardson. The team had an up-and-down season but finished fifth overall in the conference. President Dr. Robert C. Robbins and Athletic Director Dave Heeke decided to still part ways with Miller, due to looming NCAA sanctions and Miller only having one more year on his contract. Tommy Lloyd was hired on April 14, 2021 after Robbins and Heeke had a long search that involved former alumni Damon Stoudamire and Josh Pastner. Lloyd was a longtime assistant under Gonzaga’s Mark Few. He was widely known as the “best assistant coach in the country,” and many people thought that the only head coaching job that Lloyd would want was to be the successor at Gonzaga. Lloyd was known as the main recruiter for the Zags and helped them get players from all over the world.

And yet, Arizona came calling and it was an opportunity that Lloyd couldn’t pass up. Even though he’s spent his entire coaching career in the state of Washington, Lloyd has been quoted numerous times that Arizona was the only job he’d leave for because of how much respect both he and Few had for what Olson did when he was at Arizona. Lloyd helped ease the concerns of the current roster and convinced every player to return, except James Akinjo. He also retained Jack Murphy as an assistant and brought in former North Carolina assistant Steve Robinson and Riccardo Fois, who was the Phoenix Suns player development coach. He initially retained Jason Terry too, but he went on to accept a coaching job in the G-League instead. Lloyd also retained Shane Nowell and Kim Aiken Jr.’s commitments. And he helped bring in Oumar Ballo from Gonzaga, Justin Kier from Georgia, Pelle Larsson from Utah and Adama Bal from France. What Lloyd does on the court remains to be seen, but his moves so far have been a huge reason for optimism and make Arizona a popular dark horse in the Pac-12.

10 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



ROUNDTABLE: How many games will the Arizona basketball teams win this season? The Daily Wildcat Sports Desk’s predictions for the women’s team BY JORDAN POLLOCK @TURBOPOLLOCK

Prediction: 23-7 We are witnessing a powerhouse being born before our eyes. Head coach Adia Barnes and the Wildcats put the country on notice when they upset the heavily-favored University of Connecticut last spring. After losing superstar Aari McDonald, many believe

BY AIDAN ALPERSTEIN @aidanalperstein

Prediction: 21-9

Head coach Adia Barnes and her Arizona Wildcats will look to continue building off last season’s National Championship defeat. However, there are some shoes to fill as leading scorer and Pac-12 player of the year Aari McDonald is no longer with the

the Wildcats will take a step back. This roster has stayed intact outside of McDonald and added some great depth. The women’s team is going to finish second in the Pac-12, but still fall short of Stanford. The Wildcats will get their first back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances since ‘05 but will fall short after the first round.

program. Barnes will have a ton of senior leadership returning with Cate Reese and Sam Thomas, who were key role players to McDonald last season. Come March, it is likely to see the Wildcats sitting inside the top three of the conference, although there will be big tests along the way going against more complete programs such as Stanford and UCLA.


THE ARIZONA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL team attempts to rebound against California State University, Northridge on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in McKale Center. The Wildcats went on to win 87-44.


Prediction: 23-7

Coming off of a rollercoaster season that ended with a loss in the National Championship, Arizona reloaded with more talent in the frontcourt. The Pac-12 has Arizona finishing fifth in the conference, but that is

way too low. Arizona will finish top two once again with Stanford. The additions of Koi Love and Taylor Chavez are huge for the program. With Aari McDonald now in the WNBA, Arizona will now have to have others step in and score the ball. This will likely come from Love and Chavez. The Wildcats have the depth and talent to make another deep push in March.


Prediction: 24-6

Even after losing Aari McDonald and the scoring she provided, I think this team should be able to make up for it. The team got two transfers in Taylor Chavez and Koi Love who could help make up the points. Chavez comes from Oregon after winning Pac-12 Sixth Player

of the Year and is a strong 3-point shooter. Love should provide points on the inside and a strong defensive presence. I also think Sam Thomas and Cate Reese are in for good seasons and will provide important veteran leadership. I think Arizona should continue to compete well in a good Pac-12 conference and has the pieces to make another deep run in the postseason.

Share your responses and thoughts with us on Twitter @WildcatHoops

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 11



The Daily Wildcat Sports Desk’s predictions for the men’s team BY AIDAN ALPERSTEIN @aidanalperstein

Prediction: 19-12

The Arizona men’s basketball team said their goodbyes to Sean Miller this past off-season and brought in Tommy Lloyd, who worked as an assistant under Mark Few for 20 years at Gonzaga. Lloyd will heavily rely on sophomores Benedict


Prediction: 22-9

Tommy Lloyd has plenty of talent in his first year at the helm of the men’s basketball program, including some potential NBA draft picks in Bennedict Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis to name a few. The talent is going to be enough for a very successful rookie campaign for Lloyd.


Prediction: 20-11

The men’s basketball team is coming off a season where they went 17-9 overall and 11-9 in the Pac-12, leaving Arizona in the middle of the pack. According to the coaches preseason Pac-12 poll, Arizona is predicted to finish fourth and

Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis as they both come off doubledigit seasons. The Pac-12 will be witnessing some big-time scorers returning this season and I expect the Wildcats to struggle with three-point shooting and their half-court offense does pose some question marks as Lloyd wants them to be playing at a run-and-gun pace.

Arizona is going to finish third in the Pac-12 and will be given an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018. The talent and athleticism will help the Wildcats get past the first two rounds of the tournament but experience and youth will be their downfall running into a team that makes them play a different style.


ARIZONA MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYERS, Kerr Kriisa (25) and Dalen Terry (4), corner an NAU player while he looks to pass the ball in McKale Center on Nov. 9. The men’s basketball team beat NAU 81-52.


Prediction: 20-11

I think that is close to where they will finish. Arizona will finish third behind Oregon and UCLA. We will see Arizona make the NCAA tournament and win the first round in an upset fashion. Azuolas Tubelis will take the next step and push UCLA’s Johnny Juzang for the Pac-12 player of the year.

I think Arizona should be interesting in the first year of head coach Tommy Lloyd. I think Benedict Mathurin is in for a great season and feel the same way about Azoulas Tubelis. I like what Lloyd did in the transfer

BY RYAN WOHL @ryan__wohl

Prediction: 21-10

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I believe that Arizona will pick up where they left off and will be very competitive and will finish inside the top three in the Pac-12. Sean Miller recruited well and many of his players have remained in Tucson which will help the Wildcats this season.

portal getting Kim Aiken Jr. and Pelle Larson who could provide points and defense well early on. I think there will be growing pains under a new system but it has a talented roster that could perform well. I think they could make the NCAA tournament if the roster plays up to the talent on the team.

On top of that, adding Oumar Ballo, Justin Kier and Kim Aiken Jr. through the transfer portal will help take this team to the next level. Bennedict Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis had very strong freshmen seasons but will need to elevate their performances to elevate the team. This team will be hard to beat by anyone in the Pac-12 because of their guard depth and deep roster.


Y: 14,5 CAPACIT | 3 7 9 1 Y RUAR NED: FEB








14 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



A guide to the 2021-22 UA women’s basketball assistant coaches Adia Barnes’ 2021-22 Arizona staff combines international, college and pro coaching and playing experience






alvo Coppa was named an assistant coach at Arizona back in 2016. Coppa’s professional experience includes coaching NCAA Division I college basketball, the Italian First Division and national teams in Europe and Asia. Coppa was one of the main reasons Arizona made it all


shley Davis was hired as an assistant coach on June 24, 2021, after she coached at Oklahoma State for six seasons. In her last year at Oklahoma State, the team made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018. According to her bio on the Arizona Atheltics website, at Oklahoma State, she helped coach “four All-Americans, five All-Big 12 selections, three WNBA


rin Grant was hired as an assistant coach at Arizona on April 21. Prior to that, she was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at USC for the last two seasons. With her experiences, Grant was a big reason why Arizona had such a great recruiting class, she helped bring in two McDonald’s All-Americans and the No. 7 class in the country.

the way to the National Championship. He was in charge of the defense, which was stellar throughout the whole season and the tournament. Coppa also helped recruit future Wildcats by spending time overseas. He helped Arizona sign five-star prospect Lauren Ware, a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year and a top-25 recruit. In his second season at Arizona, Coppa helped bring in the

highest ranked recruiting class the school has ever seen. One of those players was McDonald’s All-American Cate Reese. Coppa is also head coach Adia Barnes’s husband. They have two children together. By working in basketball coaching, Salvo Coppa is carrying on his father’s legacy. Coach Santino Coppa is a coaching legend in the world of European women’s basketball.

Draft picks and five 1,000-point scorers.” Prior to her time at Oklahoma State, Davis coached at the University of North Texas for two seasons and then was the associate head coach in the 201415 season. Before that, Davis was an assistant coach for four seasons at Georgetown University in D.C. During her time coaching there, the team made NCAA

Tournament appearances for three years in a row. Davis is from Texas, which is where she went to school as well. At Texas Christian University, she was a letterwinner for four years and was named twice to allconference selections. Davis graduated from TCU with a business administration bachelor’s degree in 2006 and educational administration master’s degree in 2007.

“[Grant] is a fantastic addition to our staff,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “Her player development stands out to me, she is a great recruiter, and overall a very talented coach. … Who she is and what she stands for directly aligns with our family at Arizona, and I can’t wait to get started with her because the future is extremely bright.” Barnes also called Grant one

of the best basketball players to come from Texas, and said her experiences will definitely help the pogram. Grant had an amazing playing career as a point guard. She earned All-American honors at Texas Tech University before being inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame in 2018. She was also selected 39th in the 2006 WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm.

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 15



A guide to the 2021-22 Arizona men’s basketball assistant coaches Tommy Lloyd’s first UA coaching staff includes some who are new to Arizona, but none lacking in experience BY ANDREA MORABITO @DailyWildcat

Fois started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pepperdine University in 2012. Then, in 2014, he moved on to Gonzaga University, where he worked as a director of analytics with Tommy Lloyd until 2019. In Spokane, he also helped the team to reach their first Final Four ever in 2017. Fois served as video coordinator for the U.S. national men’s team

three NCAA division tournament titles (2005, 2009 and 2017). “He has no weaknesses,” Williams said in a recent interview with the Arizona Daily Star. “He’s got the whole package. He was able to do things with kids on the court. He’s able to do things in recruiting. He’s able to do things with game management, he’s able to do things in-game planning. Maybe the finest decision I ever made in my life was hiring him.”

that won the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in 2015. He was also an assistant coach for the Italian national team during the 2017 FIBA Eurobasket, and he is still part of the staff. In 2019, Fois was then hired by the Phoenix Suns as a player development coach. He played a role in the team’s development, making an NBA Finals appearance this past summer.



iccardo Fois, assistant coach, born in Olbia, Italy, on Feb. 19, 1987, played on the Italian Junior National Team before coming to the U.S. In 2007, he joined the team at Pepperdine University in California for one year, which is also where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Undrafted in 2009, Fois went back to Italy, where he played for Robur Basket Osimo and Pallacanestro Firenze.

University of Tulsa from 1995 to 1997, and then at Florida State with the Seminoles from 1997 to 2002. As a head coach, he lead his team to the NCAA tournament three times (two at Kansas and one in Florida) and won the 1997 Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division coach of the year. His overall head coaching record is 110-104. In 2002-2003, he decided to rejoin Williams at the University of North Carolina, where he coached until 2021, winning



teve Robinson, assistant coach, born on Oct. 29, 1957, in Virginia, started his career at Radford University, whereas a player he averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. After retiring, Robinson spent three seasons as an assistant at Radford and two at Cornell before joining Roy Williams in 1988. The two paired at the University of Kansas until 1995. Robinson then decided to start his head coaching career, first with the

Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony, helping the team to reach the playoffs every season. In 2009, he moved to Memphis, where he spent three years with the Tigers as an assistant coach. The Tigers went 75-29 during his tenure. In 2012, he accepted the role of head coach at NAU, a position he maintained for seven years, leading the team to a record of 78-149. On June 2, 2019, he was named primary assistant coach at the UA.



ack Murphy, associate head coach, born in Las Vegas on July 25, 1979, earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s at the University of Arizona, where he also started his coaching career. He began as a student manager, then became first recruiting coordinator, then video analyst and director of operations. Murphy worked with

future NBA players Luke Walton, Michael Dickerson, Andre Iguodala, Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson, Miles Simon, Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Wright, Channing Frye and Hassan Adams and reached the National Championship game in 2001. In 2006, he moved to Denver to work as an advance scout and video coordinator for the Nuggets. In his three years in Colorado, Murphy worked with Allen Iverson,

16 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



Sam Thomas is ready for the season and hungry for more BY ASHER BOOKSPAN @abookspan


SAM THOMAS IS CALLED to start for the Arizona women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon in McKale Center in the championship matchup vs Northwestern University.

I always want to be a “ Obviously consistent shooter but I think just being more aggressive. Without [McDonald], someone’s going to have to make up a lot of points.”


After the Arizona women’s basketball team bid at a National Championship came up one shot short earlier this year, senior forward Sam Thomas announced the next day that she was going to be returning for one last season with the Wildcats. Thomas was named USA Today’s player of the year during her senior year in high school and decided to commit to Arizona in 2017. Thomas has been a crucial part of Arizona’s success, earning nine awards since her freshman season. Most recently, she was named to the 2021 All-Pac-12 team, 2021 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Elite 90 Award winner and 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-American First Team. Even after an impressive year, she is still looking for the next opportunity in her list of accolades. “We are working on, I think it’s like Woman of the Year, so working on that. Just trying to do all that I can, but I’m really just focusing on this year trying to take advantage of every opportunity,” Thomas said. Earning these awards has been normal for Thomas, who was named the Pac-12 All-Freshman of the year in 2018. Thomas decided to take a chance on Arizona, who had just finished in ninth place in the Pac-12 in head coach Adia Barnes’ first year. “I fell in love with the campus. Obviously it’s beautiful, sunny all the time, but honestly it was the coaches that made me

feel like a family. I had just moved to the West coast so only been here about a year and then coming there and having them already feel like a family right off the bat, I knew that this was the place for me,” Thomas said. Thomas has been an anchor for the Wildcats. She has never missed a game, playing and starting in all 127 games throughout her career. While being an important scorer for the team, that is not all Thomas has in her bag of tricks. She has led the team in blocks every year as well as in steals her freshman season. As her drive to become a better player continues, Thomas said that she knows that she and the rest of the team will have to step up after Aari McDonald was drafted in the WNBA. “Obviously I always want to be a consistent shooter but I think just being more aggressive. Without [McDonald], someone’s going to have to make up a lot of points,” Thomas said. “We all are gonna make up the points but we all want to average double digits basically as the starting five so just working on driving, attacking, people being more aggressive.” After winning the WNIT tournament in 2019 and almost winning the NCAA National Championship, Thomas has remained busy outside of athletics. She represented the University of Arizona in front of Congress to speak about the impact of the name, image and likeness rules that allow players to earn money while playing under the NCAA. “I was a little scared

at first. … I was very just honored that they would pick me first of all and then to sit on a panel across some amazing men, … I think I just represented myself the best that I could,” Thomas said. “Everyone said I did a good job so I was starstruck in the moment so I just did it and I like blacked out, didn’t remember anything.” Thomas also has started working for Arizona Communication Services as a student assistant. On top of that, she has started writing a weekly column named Sam’s Corner and entered into the Sam’s Club athlete sponsorship contest. Now as the Wildcats get ready for their season to start, Thomas has gained valuable experience from reaching the National Championship game. “Every day in practice we rate our practices from, how would a National Championship team be, but obviously we actually never were there so to actually have that experience and know like, ‘If we practice like a six compared to a National Championship team, we will never make it there — but now we have an actual basis of a scale of what to rate it,” Thomas said. As Thomas prepares for the season in what she calls “grandma style,” she is ready to return for one last season. “I mean why not there’s tons of pros, no cons so I mean, I just love this school. I love playing basketball,” Thomas said. “I love playing under [Barnes] and so just to be able to come and play back another year, I’m so grateful for it.”

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition

MBB • 17


After a strong first season, Bennedict Mathurin is ready to take his game to the next level BY PATRICK CARR @pfcsports99

The Arizona men’s basketball team has pretty good expectations both within and outside the program as they were picked fourth in the AP Pac-12 preseason rankings. While fourth may not tickle anyone’s fancy when it comes to basketball at the University of Arizona, for a team that has not made the tournament since 2018, a fourth-place ranking could be considered with respect. Still, a team with lots of talent could use at least one star player, an anytime-bucket-getter, a backbone and consistent figure that will be there every night of the season. Second-year international player Bennedict Mathurin is propped up to be that said player. Coming off an extremely efficient and impressive freshman campaign where he averaged 11 points and five rebounds on 47-42-85 shooting splits and proved he has the body profile and athleticism to be a tier one on-ball wing defender, Mathurin won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season. Being selected to the Pac-12 preseason first-team shows he has respect from the media and the opposing coaches will game-plan accordingly with that same respect and attention. In the offseason, Arizona and Tommy Lloyd had quite a scare when the coaching change was in the middle as there was a chance that Mathurin wouldn’t return to Tucson for his second year. Mathurin had the opportunity to enter the NBA draft, where he could have possibly been selected in the second round, or he could have transferred to a ready-made program for a March Madness run to showcase his talents, but he stayed. He committed to Lloyd, Tucson and the UA. Mathurin was clear about what brought him back to Arizona NATHANIAL STENCHEVER | THE DAILY WILDCAT for another season. BENNEDICT MATHURIN, A SOPHOMORE on the Arizona men’s basketball team, steps back and takes a short jump shot in front of a blue team “I like the culture that the fans bring, I think it’s amazing to defender on Oct. 2, in Mckale Center during the Red-Blue game. The blue team went on to win the game. walk around campus and people know your name or jersey number and that you play basketball,” Mathurin said. It won’t just be Arizona fans watching in McKale Center who that will take Mathurin to the end goal he has always dreamed Booker,” Mathurin said. will know who number zero is once this season gets underway. of, an NBA lottery pick, where Mike Schmitz of ESPN has him Mathurin is two inches taller than Booker and four inches As a freshman, Mathurin had an extremely smooth shooting projected before this season has already begun. taller than Beal and has a little bit of bulk on both of them at stroke and had the potential to develop into more of an on-ball Mathurin has already been thinking about his NBA plans this stage in his career. It is completely reasonable we will see a creator for himself with more off-season work. The on-ball after the season. He said he knows what the process will consist scoring prototype like those two this year but in a wings body creation for himself and secondary playmaking will be a key of and how to form a postseason plan that can add another with Mathurin. factor in his scouting and development for the NBA draft as he Arizona name to the NBA brotherhood. The scoring at any time along with the defense will be needed can shoot over smaller guards and has such a quick first step. “Just like I did this past year, I sat down with my family and for Arizona this year as two-way stars and confident players have Mathurin spoke a bit about his work in the off-season and coaches, we gathered as much information as possible and shown to be the ones that take their teams to the next step in how he just wanted to get better. then made the best decision that we could,” Mathurin said. “I March Madness, and Mathurin and his teammates have their “I really tried to work on being better at shooting off the think that worked well, so I will probably do that again after this eye on that prize specifically. dribble as well as my ball handling, those are two areas that I felt season.” “My team goals for this season are to uplift the team as a needed the most improvement so I put in the most work there,” Arizona, meet your next basketball star, Bennedict Mathurin. leader and make sure we do all that we can to win a Pac-12 Mathurin said. championship, go to March Madness and shock the world,” Think of the many prolific wing scorers in the NBA who Mathurin said. “A personal goal of mine is to be the best player I Want more sports? Mathurin shows flashes of. The smoothness of his shot-making can be and be the greatest teammate a player could ever have.” is like Zach Lavine, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and even Paul Sign up for our sports e-newsletter, hitting If Mathurin and company can take these heightened George, with long arms and the build to be a swing player on the expectations and turn them into reality in Lloyd’s first season, inboxes Fridays, at wings. Mathurin said he sees himself in some of these as players he and his teammates will be quickly and newly touted living as well. legends on the Arizona campus. An accomplished season like “I like to try to model my game after Bradley Beal and Devin

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021

18 • The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Edge marketplace helps UA athletes benefit from likeness BY ANNABEL LECKY @ABlecky_23


he NCAA has adopted a policy that allows for college athletes of all three divisions to be paid for their name, image and likeness, or “NIL.”

The University of Arizona created “Arizona Edge” to educate student athletes about NIL and how they can go about developing their persona. The NIL rules allow for studentathletes to engage in several different kinds of business opportunities, whether this be autographs, social media brand endorsements, personal appearances or hosting private lessons and events. According to its website, Arizona Edge is supported by the Eller College of Management, James E. Rogers College of Law and the UA’s FORGE Program, which stands for Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs. These three enterprises help studentathletes and businesses get acquainted with NIL policies and understand how these opportunities can be mutually beneficial for the engaging parties. According to the Arizona Edge Marketplace website, Edge is “symbolic of the university’s commitment to preparing student-athletes for success on and off the field and building strong and resilient relationships with Southern Arizona businesses and national partners.” Arizona women’s basketball player Sam Thomas has already taken the first step in familiarizing herself with Arizona Edge and all of its corresponding benefits. “I was very excited when I heard about Edge because NIL is a brand new thing for athletes, and it was nice to know there was something to rely on and learn from at the University,” Thomas said. Edge hosts courses on Desire2Learn

and Thomas has already accessed the available ones. The courses have information about different aspects of NIL, all of which teach studentathletes about financial literacy as well as business law, networking and development. “I’ve definitely learned about the general business side of sports from Edge and learning how to read contracts, what to look for in a contract and making sure you get the right percentages from your deals,” Thomas said. “One of my biggest fears was being scammed through a contract or running into legal issues reading contracts and having Edge really helped settle my fears.” Thomas has already engaged in a few small business opportunities through NIL and hopes to expand her knowledge onto some larger projects in the near future. “One of the main opportunities people talked about right when NIL surfaced was clothing deals,” Thomas said. “Initially, I was not interested because I’m not a big clothing person. However, so many people are asking me for jerseys. So, once I get permission from the school, I may pursue that as my next project.” The Arizona women’s basketball team as a whole is looking further into pursuing NIL business opportunities alongside their teammate Thomas, according to her. “My teammates are very interested in NIL as well, especially those who are already involved in the Eller school of business because it’s a great opportunity for them to get exposure,” Thomas said.


SAM THOMAS, AT THE time a junior forward, sits on the sidelines among her team during a timeout in spring of 2021. She and other Arizona athletes will now be eligible to be paid for their name, image and likeness.

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 19



FANS IN MCKALE CENTER cheer and dance hoping to be caught on the Dance Cam on Friday, Nov. 12. The Arizona men’s basketball team went on to win the game 104-50.


A WOMAN WITH A child raises her hand hoping to catch a one of the shirts being thrown by cheerleaders at the Arizona men’s basketball game on Nov. 9, in McKale Center. The Wildcats went on to win 81-52.

McKale Center welcomes fans back after a year and a half

BY PATRICK CARR @pfcsports99

It had been 574 days since fan appearances in McKale Center. Finally, Arizona men’s basketball got their die-hard fan base back in attendance for the annual Red-Blue game. This is a new era for the team, with a new head coach and a roster almost full of players who have never played a game in front of the ZonaZoo student section. Christian Koloko is one of the few players on this roster who knows what it feels like to play on the well-known home-court advantage that is McKale. His face lit up on media day when he talked about how excited he was to play in front of fans again. “Ah man, I can’t even tell

you, last year was a disaster. When you’re in McKale in front of nobody and you get down like five [points] and have no energy and you really need the people to cheer. We are going to need it this year,” Koloko said. “The team is going to need the support and we give it back to them by winning games.” Koloko, head coach Tommy Lloyd and the rest of this team and staff know they need to get back to the top of the conference and return to the blue blood status that once was in Tucson. They also know that the support and engagement from the community is needed to make it there. There is genuine excitement from this team about how enjoyable this season will be.

“It’s important to have the students and the fanbase there, and to show coach [Lloyd] that they are supportive here and they are going to be there with us this year and be with us for the bad and the good moments, even if we are not winning every game,” Koloko said. “It’s going to be very important to see that they are here with us and we can count on them.” Lloyd spoke to the fans at the Red-Blue game after an extremely loud ovation from the crowd. “What I ask of you is that you support us, come out and help us and at the end of the day let’s enjoy this great ride together,” Lloyd said at the Red-Blue game. By tip-off, McKale was nearly full of fans, and new players like

Kim Aiken Jr. were in awe of what a big-time program fanbase could look like. “Being here, and I know what McKale brings when the fans come, I’m extremely excited,” Aiken said at the game. This Arizona men’s team is extremely international with eight players being recruited off the international trail via freshmen commits or the transfer portal. Some current players are also extremely excited for those players to experience a rocking McKale for the first time. Grant Weitman pointed this out specifically when asked about it at media day. “I think the European players don’t really know what it’s like to play in America here with fans,”

Weitman said. “It’s going to be a great surprise for them.” One of those players mentioned is returning guard Kerr Kriisa, who is expected to run the point guard position for Lloyd’s offense this season. “Having fans is great, nowadays it’s rare especially after the [COVID-19] year,” Kriisa said. “So we are really excited just to have fans, just have somebody to play in front of in person, we are really excited.” The overall takeaway from many of the players on this team is that they are so excited to display what they can become. They want the fans and students to be behind them every step of the way to make this a journey for all of Wildcat nation.

Let’s enjoy this great ride together.” — TOMMY LLOYD, UA MEN’S HOOPS HEAD COACH

20 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021

2021-22 SCHEDULE + ROSTER Anna Gret Asi


guard 5’8” freshman

guard 5’8” senior

Tartu, Estonia



Taylor Chavez

Pickering, Ontario, Canada


guard 5’10” junior

Koi Love

Chandler, Arizona


forward 6’0” junior

Helena Pueyo

Istanbul, Turkey


guard 6’0” junior

Aaronette Vonleh

Las Vegas, Nevada


forward 6’3” freshman

Bendu Yeaney

Columbus, Georgia


forward 5’10” senior

Gisela Sanchez

forward 6’3” freshman Barcelona, Spain


Semaj Smith

center 6’6” senior Long Beach, California

Cate Reese

forward 6’2” senior

Portland, Oregon


Ariyah Copeland forward 6’3” senior

West Linn, Oregon


Sam Thomas

forward 6’0” senior

Palma de Mallorca, Spain


Derin Erdogan

guard 5’6” sophomore

Orlando, Florida


Madison Conner

guard 5’11” freshman

Surprise, Arizona


Shaina Pellington

Cypress, Texas


Lauren Ware

forward 6’5” sophomore Bismarck, North Dakota

Arizona Wildcats | Women’s Basketball | 2021-22 Schedule Oct 28 (Thu) Nov 5 (Fri) Nov 9 (Tue) Nov 12 (Fri) Nov 15 (Mon) Nov 19 (Fri) Nov 25 (Thu) Nov 26 (Fri) Nov 27 (Sat) Dec 3 (Fri) Dec 9 (Thu) Dec 12 (Sun) Dec 17 (Fri) Dec 19 (Sun) Dec 31 (Fri) Jan 2 (Sun) Jan 7 (Fri) Jan 9 (Sun) Jan 13 (Thu) Jan 15 (Sat) Jan 21 (Fri) Jan 23 (Sun) Jan 28 (Fri) Jan 30 (Sun) Feb 4 (Fri) Feb 6 (Sun) Feb 11 (Fri) Feb 13 (Sun) Feb 18 (Fri) Feb 20 (Sun) Feb 24 (Thu) Feb 26 (Sat) Mar 2 (Wed) Mar 3 (Thu) Mar 4 (Fri) Mar 6 (Sun)



WBB 6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 5 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 1:15 p.m. 1:15 p.m. 1:15 p.m. TBD 6:30 p.m. 1 p.m. TBD 3:30 p.m. 9 p.m. 3 p.m. 6 p.m. 12 p.m. 8 p.m. 3:30 p.m. 7 p.m. 12 p.m. 8 p.m. 2 p.m. 8 p.m. 12 p.m. 7 p.m. 12 p.m. 8 p.m. 1 p.m. 7 p.m. 12 p.m. TBD TBD TBD 4 p.m.

vs. Eastern New Mexico (Exhib.) vs. Arizona Christian (Exhib.) vs. CSUN vs. Louisville vs. Texas Southern vs. Marist vs. Vanderbilt vs. DePaul vs. Rutgers at UC Riverside vs. North Dakota State vs. New Mexico at Northern Arizona vs. Texas at USC at UCLA vs. Washington State vs. Washington at Oregon State at Oregon vs. Utah vs. Colorado at California at Stanford vs. Oregon vs. Oregon State at Arizona State vs. Arizona State at Washington at Washington State vs. UCLA vs. USC Pac-12 Tournament - First Round Pac-12 Tournament - Quarterfinals Pac-12 Tournament - Semifinals Pac-12 Tournament - Championship

McKale Center McKale Center McKale Center Sioux Falls, S.D. McKale Center McKale Center St. Thomas St. Thomas St. Thomas Riverside, Calif. McKale Center McKale Center Flagstaff, Ariz. Las Vegas, Nev. Los Angeles, Calif. Los Angeles, Calif. McKale Center McKale Center Corvallis, Ore. Eugene, Ore. McKale Center McKale Center Berkeley, Calif. Stanford, Calif. McKale Center McKale Center McKale North McKale Center Seattle, Wash. Pullman, Wash. McKale Center McKale Center Las Vegas, Nev. Las Vegas, Nev. Las Vegas, Nev. Las Vegas, Nev.

Adia Barnes

Salvo Coppa

Ashley Davis

Erin Grant

Jessika Carrington

Ryan Lee

Kortney Dunbar

Kaila Chizer

Sierra Bone

head coach (sixth season)

assistant coach

director of recruiting

assistant coach

director of operations

assistant coordinator

assistant coach

video coordinator

graduate assistant

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 21



Arizona Wildcats | Men’s Basketball | 2021-22 Schedule 7 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 7 p.m. 8 p.m. TBD 5:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 2 p.m. 8 p.m. 3 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 5 p.m. 7 p.m. 3 p.m. TBD 9 p.m. 6 p.m. 9 p.m. 1 p.m. 12:30 p.m. 6 p.m. 3 p.m. 7 p.m. 4 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 8 p.m. 9 p.m. 6 p.m. 7 p.m. 3 p.m. TBD TBD TBD 7 p.m.

vs. Eastern New Mexico (Exhib.) McKale Center vs. UTRGV McKale Center vs. North Dakota State McKale Center vs. Wichita State Las Vegas, Nev. vs. Michigan/UNLV Las Vegas, Nev. vs. Sacramento State McKale Center vs. Washington McKale Center at Oregon State Corvallis, Ore. vs. Wyoming McKale Center at Illinois Champaign, Ill. vs. Northern Colorado McKale Center McKale Center vs. California Baptist at Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn. at UCLA Los Angeles, Calif. at USC Los Angeles, Calif. McKale North at Arizona State McKale Center vs. Colorado vs. Utah McKale Center at Stanford Stanford, Calif. at California Berkeley, Calif. vs. Arizona State McKale Center vs. UCLA McKale Center vs. USC McKale Center at Washington State Pullman, Wash. at Washington Seattle, Wash. vs. Oregon State McKale Center vs. Oregon McKale Center at Utah Salt Lake City, Utah at Colorado Boulder, Colo. vs. Stanford McKale Center vs. California McKale Center Pac-12 Tournament - First Round Las Vegas, Nev. Pac-12 Tournament - Quarterfinals Las Vegas, Nev. Pac-12 Tournament - Semifinals Las Vegas, Nev. Pac-12 Tournament - Championship Las Vegas, Nev.

guard 6’6” freshman


Riccardo Fois

associate head coach

TJ Benson

assistant coach

special asst. to the HC / recruiting coordinator

Christopher Rounds

Justin Kokoskie

assoc. head director, perf. enhancement

Rem Bakamus

director of player development

athletic trainer

Ryan Anderson graduate assistant

Steve Robinson assistant coach

Jason Gardner director of player relations

Ken Nakagawa director of advanced scouting

Nick Colosimo

director of branding, MBB & WBB


head coach (first season)

Jack Murphy

Adama Bal

Seattle, Washington


guard 6’6” freshman

Dalen Terry

Nacka, Sweden


guard 6’7” freshman

Azuolas Tubelis

Grottoes, Virginia


Koulikoro, Mali

Vilnius, Lithuania

Tautvilas Tubelis


forward 6’7” freshman

Simi Valley, California


forward 6’7” RS junior

Christian Koloko

Tartu, Estonia


Seattle, Washington

Douala, Cameroon

Jordan Mains


Tucson, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Grant Weitman

guard 6’4” freshman Tucson, Arizona

Will Menaugh

forward 6’10” freshman

forward 6’6” sophomore


Ben Ackerley

guard 6’1” freshman

center 7’1” sophomore


Kerr Kriisa

guard 6’3” freshman

Redlands, California


Addison Arnold

guard 6’3” freshman

Vilnius, Lithuania

Kim Aiken Jr.

Oumar Ballo

center 7’0” freshman

forward 6’11” freshman


Justin Kier

guard 6’4” sixth-year

Phoenix, Arizona


Pelle Larsson

guard 6’5” freshman

Le Mans, France


Shane Nowell

guard 6’6” freshman

Montreal, Canada

24 Tommy Lloyd



Nov 1 (Mon) Nov 9 (Tue) Nov 16 (Tue) Nov 19 (Fri) Nov 21 (Sun) Nov 27 (Sat) Dec 2 (Thu) Dec 5 (Sun) Dec 8 (Wed) Dec 11 (Sat) Dec 15 (Wed) Dec 18 (Sat) Dec 22 (Wed) Dec 30 (Thu) Jan 2 (Sun) Jan 8 (Sat) Jan 13 (Thu) Jan 15 (Sat) Jan 20 (Thu) Jan 23 (Sun) Jan 29 (Sat) Feb 3 (Thu) Feb 5 (Sat) Feb 10 (Thu) Feb 12 (Sat) Feb 17 (Thu) Feb 19 (Sat) Feb 24 (Thu) Feb 26 (Sat) Mar 3 (Thu) Mar 5 (Sat) Mar 9 (Wed) Mar 10 (Thu) Mar 11 (Fri) Mar 12 (Sat)

Bennedict Mathurin


Will Reaves

guard 6’3” freshman Spokane, Washington

22 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021



Cate Reese is ready for a bigger role BY JAKE FAIGUS @jake_faigus


CATE REESE 25 AND Sam Thomas (14) reacting to a call made during the game against the University of Washington on Feb.14, 2020. The Wildcats won that night with a score of 64-53.

Cate Reese has been a cornerstone for the Arizona women’s basketball team because she was the first McDonald’s All-American that the program has ever had. Reese is from Cypress, Texas and had offers from local powerhouses like Baylor and Texas A&M before ultimately deciding on the University of Arizona. Reese said the University of Arizona stuck out because she loved what head coach Adia Barnes had pitched to her and wanted to be a part of building something special. Reese’s career at Arizona has been on an upward trajectory ever since day one. Her most notable accomplishments include that she was Arizona’s first Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, she was named to the All-Pac-12 team as a sophomore, and in her junior year, she scored her 1,000th point in a game versus the University of Utah. Reese has had amazing teammates that have helped her grow as a player, most notably with Aari McDonald and Sam Thomas. This year, Reese will be the focal point of the offense and the defense more so with the loss of McDonald. The slack will be spread out, but Reese and Thomas will be the two that stick out the most. In 2016, right before her basketball career was about to take off, Reese was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. That didn’t hold her back. She only continued to get better on the basketball court. Reese said she’s very close with her family, and her sister Ali has dealt with Type 1 diabetes as well, which has just made their bond stronger. Reese came into Arizona with heightened expectations and has only lived up to them and then some. This will be the year the team is hers, along with Thomas. She’s a steadying force for a younger Arizona team, but a team that’s also deeper overall than any of the teams that Barnes has had so far in Arizona. Reese has already announced she’s coming back next year, so her leadership will continue to be a force for this team. Reese said at Pac-12 Media Day, “I think, as far as expectations from other people, I think that people think now that [McDonald]

is gone, we’re not going to be the same team, and I disagree with them because I think we were now able to get players, transfers that are really good. And I think that people believe that if they come here, they can do big things, and I think that that’s something that [Thomas] and I came here to build, so I’m really excited for the season and to see what we can do.” The team this season will be going through both Thomas and Reese. They are the two difference makers. Reese came into Arizona ready for this with her McDonald’s AllAmerican pedigree, and as she has continued to improve, the keys are now jointly theirs. “I want to just get back to playing,” Reese said. “Ever since we lost that last game, I’ve been wanting to just get back out there.” Reese said she knows she needs to keep improving as a player for this year. “This offseason, I worked a lot on improving my three-point shooting, and I worked on my defense too,” Reese said. Reese also said she thinks the No. 22 ranking the team got in the preseason was a bit of a slight. “We definitely have a chip on our shoulder, we think it’s definitely a sign of disrespect, and we can’t wait to prove people wrong,” Reese said. This lower rank was never going to stop her from coming back anyways. “I knew I wanted to come back, and it was a really easy decision because this whole experience in Arizona has been amazing,” Reese said. Finally, Reese also said she can’t wait for fans to be back in McKale Center. “I love the Tucson community and can’t wait for fans to be back,” Reese said. “Especially after the run we had last year, I really think we can sell out McKale a few times this year.” Reese’s continued improvement year after year is why she’s ready for this next step, along with her experience from playing with a star like McDonald. Reese will be a huge reason why Arizona will try to replicate their amazing success from last year. She leads a deep and talented team that will be in the hunt for the conference title this year as well as to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament this year.

I want to just get back to playing. Ever since we lost that last game, I’ve been wanting to just get back out there,” — CATE REESE, ARIZONA SENIOR FORWARD

November 2021 • UA Basketball Special Edition • 23



Achieving his dream on the court From highly touted 4-star prospect to getting off to a slow start as a freshman, Dalen Terry is ready to change the narrative in year two BY RYAN WOHL @Ryan__wohl

Before stepping on campus, being a Wildcat was always the goal. Dalen Terry grew up in Phoenix and remembers attending games in McKale Center when he was younger. Then he realized his dream. Terry started his high school career at Corona del Sol High School, but ended up transferring to the highly-touted Hillcrest Prep for his last two seasons. When changing schools in the middle of his high school career, his game on the floor started to speak for itself. He averaged 16 points per game along with 11 assists and six rebounds as a junior. Then he received offers from the University of California, Berkeley, University of Utah, ASU, University of Nevada and Marquette University, but decided to enter his senior year of high school without a commitment to a university, as he was waiting to hear from Arizona. After establishing himself as one of the best prospects in the state of Arizona, while putting up nearly a tripledouble per game with 16 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks, it was clear he would be a Wildcat. Officially on July 23, 2019, Terry committed to the University of Arizona to become a Wildcat and continue his basketball career just down the road in Tucson. He finished his high school career as the second-best recruit in Arizona and No. 52 overall in the country for the

2019 class according to 247sports. He knew more was left to prove under Sean Miller as a Wildcat. Entering his freshmen season, he played mostly shooting guard/small forward. It was a change for him. Before, he was used to having the ball in his hands for most of the game. He only averaged five points and three rebounds per game on just 33% shooting on three-point jump shots. His jump shot was a question mark, being it appeared to have a hitch in it when he was releasing the ball. Heading into his sophomore season, what was needed to improve and establish himself as an NBA prospect was clear, improve the jump-shot. “I think I have gotten stronger mentality and physically and [I have been] improving my jump-shot to make sure I have more up games than last year being up-and-down,” Terry said. “It has always been an aspect in my game that hasn’t been the best since high school.” While Terry was focusing on himself during the offseason, a big change was made, and it was the leader of the team. Miller, the coach who recruited him out of high school has officially parted ways with Arizona after 12 seasons as head coach in Tucson. “I have a real good relationship with him,” Terry said. “I will always thank him for pushing me and never keeping me satisfied.” After the Wildcats hired

former long-time Gonzaga Bulldogs assistant coach after over 20 years in Spokane, Washington, the vibe, energy and playstyle in Tucson seemed to be changing. Tommy Lloyd has stressed that he wants to bring his fast up-tempo playstyle from Gonzaga to Arizona while changing up a few things to fit his players and team. For Terry, it might be perfect to work with Lloyd, because it will allow him to open up his game while running the offense in transition. Terry by no means is an elite shooter, but with an improvement jumpshot while displaying his incredible passing ability, his dreams to take his game to the next level may be realized. Terry stands at 6-foot7 and can guard multiple positions on the defensive end of the floor and thinks that will allow him to take his game to the next level. When thinking of elite basketball players like Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, they started their careers as elite offensive players, but when adding their defensive toughness and effort, it took their game to the next level. Terry is back in Tucson for his second season with more to prove. The narrative will be changed after being a top50 recruit coming out of high school. He is ready to prove that he is a complete player that can fill up the statistic sheet in many ways while being a leader on the team.


DALEN TERRY, A SOPHOMORE on the Arizona men’s basketball team, jumps over two students to score a perfect 60 score during a dunk contest at the Red-Blue game on Oct. 2 in Mckale Center. Terry went on to win the contest.

24 • The Daily Wildcat

UA Basketball Special Edition ● November 2021