Arizona came into the season as something of a mystery team – no one really knew what to expect after the loss of several upperclassmen. Then head coach Lute Olson took a leave of absence. Throughout all of this, though, Arizona persevered, winning nine of its first 11. The one thing it couldn’t overcome? An injury to Bayless. The Wildcats were just 1-3 in his absence; since his return, they are 4-1 with the lone loss by four points on the road at Stanford. This week, Arizona knocked off Washington State and Washington by a combined 27 points, thanks mostly to Bayless. He scored 49 points and dished out 12 assists in the two games, committing just four turnovers. Furthermore, he shot 65 percent (15 of 27) from the field, 67 percent (8 of 12) from three-point land and 100 percent (11 for 11) from the free-throw line. Needless to say, it was a fantastic week for Bayless and the Wildcats.
With the recent stretch of victories, Arizona has catapulted itself into the race for a top-three finish in the Pac-10. Additionally, the Selection Committee is bound to take into account the injury to Bayless when assessing the Wildcats’ seeding for the NCAA Tournament. With him, Arizona is 13-3 with the three losses by a combined 11 points to Kansas, Stanford and Virginia. Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and O.J. Mayo all receive more recognition as top freshmen guards, but it’s time to make room for Bayless in the discussion.
2007-08 Collegehoops.net Players of the Week
January 20th – Davon Jefferson, FR, USC
January 13th – Michael Beasley, FR, Kansas State
January 6th - Shan Foster, SR, Vanderbilt
December 30th - Brian Butch, SR, Wisconsin
December 23rd - Dwayne Curtis, SR, F, Mississippi
December 16th - Gary Forbes, SR, F, UMASS
December 9th - Joe Alexander, JR, F, West Virginia
December 2nd - Jerryd Bayless, FR, G, Arizona
November 25th - DJ Augustin, SO, G, Texas
November 18th - Jon Brockman, JR, F, Washington
November 11th - Michael Beasley, FR, F, Kansas State