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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

November 3rd, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Arizona Wildcats


Overall Rank: #8

Conference Rank: #2 Pac-10


2005-06: 20-13, 11-7, 4th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NCAA


With 22 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, Arizona’s run isn’t expected to end here.  Coach Lute Olson and company have settled into a routine of picking up great recruits and dominating the Pac-10.  That won’t end any time soon either. 


Who’s Out: The loss of Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers creates an even greater need to find some consistent outside shooting.  Not that either were prolific long range shooters, but they were at least two of the few options to take a shot from beyond the arc.  Isaiah Fox has run out of eligibility after seeing limited minutes in 19 games as a senior.


Who’s In: Chase Budinger has the range to diminish the outside shooting woes.  The 6-7 forward has a lot more than that.  His versatility allows Budinger to play anywhere from the one to four spot.  He can start draining shots when he’s open, but needs to continue working on shooting in traffic.  In any event, Budinger is a superb athlete who will be difficult to keep off the court.  Nic Wise won’t dethrone any starting point guards as a freshman, but his long range shooting skills could provide a spark off the bench.  Jawann McClellan is the best pure scorer on the team.  After missing nearly all of last year with injuries and academic issues, the sophomore will battle with Budinger for a starting spot on the wing.  Jordan Hill, a 6-9 power forward, is a solid shot blocker and will provide some depth up front.


Who to Watch: Mustafa Shakur hasn’t lived up to the hype coming out of high school, but with a successful NCAA tournament, expectations are high on Shakur once again.  The 6-3 point guard still can run the show and play decent defense and the 11.2 points and 4.7 assists per game shouldn’t be disappointing.  The battle for minutes on the wings will be fierce.  Along with Budinger and McClellan, Marcus Williams, J.P. Prince and Daniel Dillon are all capable players.  Williams averaged 13.0 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman and should improve as a sophomore.  Prince and Dillon will likely be relegated to the bench once again, but both have explosive scoring streaks waiting to be unleashed.


Final Projection: The frontcourt lacks the depth of the backcourt.  Ivan Radenovic is the only proven option after averaging 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds during the 2005-2006 campaign.  Kirk Walters added 6.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 26 starts as a junior, but needs to be more effective during his senior campaign.  Radenovic could spend some time at the five if Coach Olson wants to move Walters to the bench and utilize all the talent on the wings.  Mohamed Tangara saw limited minutes as a freshman, yet the Mali native is a tenacious rebounder and will do the dirty work off the bench.  This is a talented squad with enough firepower to win the Pac-10 and reach the Final Four.  The major concern is the long range shooting.  Arizona lacked that last year and will again this time around.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Mustafa Shakur, Senior, Guard, 11.2 points per game

Marcus Williams, Sophomore, Forward, 13.0 points per game

Chase Budinger, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

Ivan Radenovic, Senior, Forward, 12.1 points per game

Kirk Walters, Senior, Center, 6.1 points per game



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