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Ready Or Not

May 12, 2009

(at Fullerton 5, UA 2)
(at Fullerton 8, UA 4)
(at UA 12, LMU 2)
(at UA 9, LMU 5)
(at UA 7, LMU 6)

Are we Ready?

Sean Miller is certainly making up for lost time. He has already done the improbable by convincing three quality recruits to join his first team. Now he’s working on his first controversy.

Maybe. That’s the maddening beauty of this recruiting stuff. It’s possible Miller decided a long time ago he wants nothing to do with Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson. It’s also possible he’s sending 27 text messages a day that read: “U RULE! PLZ BALL 4 AZ LOL!!!” We have no way of knowing the truth.

But we can certainly decide what we want to be true. And you can put me squarely in the “No, please no” camp.

I wasn’t fired up when Miller went after Kevin Parrom, but I can get over the questionable ethics surrounding taking a player who asked out of his letter of intent at the school you just left because you just left. I don’t know, however, if I could justify taking someone who appears to embody everything wrong with American athletics today.

Selfish. Attention-seeking. Violent. Money-hungry. Dangerous.

What’s left? Finding a steroid needing hanging off of his shorts? Convincing his college team to move for a better stadium deal?

This is Sean Miller's first Arizona team. You only get one chance to make a good first-team impression. We will always appreciate Russ Pennell because his one team played hard. They were unselfish underdogs who liked playing together. We were proud to call them our team. Can we be proud of “Born Ready”?

The absolute best case scenario is he’s a good teammate and he elevates the Wildcats in his one season like a Carmelo Anthony or Derrick Rose. But the maximum elevation probably isn’t any higher than a top-3 finish in the Pac-10 and a middlish run in our 26th consecutive NCAA tournament.

The worst case scenario? Take your pick. He jacks up terrible shots and doesn’t play defense, he fractures the team, he causes a recruited-over player to transfer, he lives large like Reggie Bush or O.J. Mayo and when the NCAA notices we’re not USC they actually do something about it.

I suppose I should give the kid the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Stephenson isn't as bad as the horror stories make him out to be. Maybe he'll be the next....sorry, I can't think of another egomaniac/fight-starter/alleged-groper/son-of-an-overbearing-parent who turned out well.

But let’s pretend. Let’s assume there are no character issues. Even if his nickname was “Born Ready To Serve In Humility” he could still do more harm than good to the Arizona program. Right now we have Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom ready to rotate at the 2 and the 3 and develop together for two or three years. If you bring in Stephenson he pushes one of the other three out of the starting lineup and all of them lose minutes. Stephenson does his eight months on campus, heads to the pros and we’re left having to develop Fogg, Hill and Parrom with one fewer year.

If Stephenson was an all-world point guard or a shot-blocking monster of a center we’d be falling all over ourselves to get him, assuming the off-court stuff was cleared up. But he plays the one position where we’re already set. Our current roster is like a Hooters: all wings and heavy up top.

Once again, for the record, we have no idea if Sean Miller is recruiting Lance Stephenson to play at Arizona. Some reports say no way and others have him already stocking up on sunscreen. We’ll just have to wait and see where he ends up.

I just hope he was Born Ready to play somewhere else.


The baseball team had an efficient little weekend. There’s nothing like a come-from-behind 9th inning rally without a single hit.

Thanks to the sweep of Loyola Marymount the Cats are sitting two games above .500 for the first time since March 21. The bad news is we lost both midweek games to Cal State Fullerton so the season breakdown now looks like this:

WAC/MWC (6-1)
Northeast/Midwest (7-1)
WCC (4-0)
Losing Pac Teams (6-3)

Ranked teams (1-12)
Winning Pac Teams (2-10)

Unfortunately our next opponent, Washington, has won eight of their last nine Pac-10 games to go from a losing team to a winning one. After that ASU shows up for one last game.

Whether we’re Ready or not.

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