The additions of former Arizona standout Andre Iguodala and ASU guard James Harden to the U.S. Olympic team Saturday increased the total of Pac-12 players on the 12-player roster to four.
The other Pac-12 players on the roster are both from UCLA: Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Having one-quarter of the roster from the Pac-12 is a shot in the arm for a conference that has taken its fair share of criticism from the national media of late. Note to the Pac-12 office: Scream this accomplishment to the high heavens.
The conference was so down last season that only two teams qualified for the NCAA tournament and that is not including regular-season champion Washington. The Huskies became the first power conference team to win a regular season title to not earn an NCAA bid in the modern era.
The Philadelphia Daily News offers some reactions to Iguodala’s selection to the team, including Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins saying, “Congrats to Dre. Nobody could be more pleased than I am that he’s starting to get the recognition for being a great player. Being an Olympian in 1972, I know what this means for him and I’m very proud.”
The Orlando Sentinel recently ranked Arizona No. 54 in its College Football Countdown. The newspaper ranked all 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Wildcats are projected to finish seventh in the Pac-12 ahead of Colorado (No. 99), Oregon State (No. 96), Washington State (No. 84), UCLA (No. 73) and ASU (No. 62).
Cal has since been rated No. 51. That means the Orlando Sentinel projects USC, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Stanford among the top 36 teams in the country. It is up to No. 37, where Boise State is ranked.
Arizona’s season-opening opponent Toledo, which plays the Wildcats on Sept. 1 at Arizona Stadium, is ranked No. 74, one spot behind UCLA.
Former UA nose guard Stan Mataele commented recently on one of my Facebook threads that former assistant coach Tom Roggeman, an ex-Marine, riled up the Wildcats in his unique way before the 1985 opener against Toledo.
“TOLEDO. TOLEDO. TOLEDO … I remember Coach Roggeman chanting that in the meeting room pumping us up,” Mataele wrote.
The Wildcats won 23-10 and later that season advanced to their first bowl — the Sun Bowl — under head coach Larry Smith.
Incoming freshman forward Grant Jerrett will celebrate his birthday for the first time in Tucson today. He arrived in Tucson on Thursday for summer school, which begins Monday. All of Arizona’s players are expected to be in Tucson this month leading up to the Bahamas trip, which begins Aug. 9.
Jerrett (6-foot-10, 220 pounds) recently posted on his Facebook page: “I am truly blessed to be able to go to the University of Arizona to fulfill my dreams, thanks be to God.”
Arizona coach Sean Miller managed to get a commitment from Jerrett very early in the recruiting process, before the power forward started his junior season at La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran High School in 2010-11. North Carolina coach Roy Williams targeted Jerrett while scouting him during the July evaluation period in 2010, attending most of his AAU games in Las Vegas.