Woke up today to the news that Chris Rodgers had been dismissed from the Arizona basketball team. Apparently, UA released it last night at 9:32 p.m. Rodgers has always been an enigma, a player of undoubtedly vast talent who at times didn’t seem to do a lot with it. But he was also an important player – coach Lute Olson recently called him the best “on-ball” defender the team has had.
This incident, however, shows that Arizona may still be having some of the chemistry problems that also dogged them two years ago, when the Huskies beat the Wildcats three times. As one of the stories linked below points out, Olson hinted at chemistry problems this week before booting Rodgers, indicating they may have played a role in the team’s losses at Oregon last week.
In today’s day, every team is susceptible to such problems, especially in a sport like basketball that tends to attract a lot of strong personalities.
But it’s been one of the foundations of Lorenzo Romar’s program at UW to get players to buy into the program before they even set foot. And you’ve seen little real dissension since his first year as a result.
Here’s a link to a couple of stories about the Rodgers departure, one an analysis piece from the Tucson Citizen, and the other from the school paper indicating that Rodgers and Olson got in a shouting match during a practice.
Here’s a couple of other quick thoughts on Thursday’s game, and a couple of quick links around the Pac-10:
Here’s a link to a preview of the game in the Corvallis Gazette-Times – it’s essentially a feature on Nick DeWitz, who I think is OSU’s best player.
Here’s a link to the preview in Thursday’s Oregonian that is essentially a feature on forward Marcel Jones.
Also, a reader asked if Thursday’s game is on TV. It’s not, as is somewhat common of Thursday games. Only one or two of the Thursday games around the conference are usually televised, meaning two or three usually aren’t. UW will not be on TV on Thursday this week or next week. The game at WSU on Feb. 4 also will not be televised, meaning three of the next five games will not be on TV.
One key to tonight’s game? Getting OSU down early. The numbers show that OSU is a much better first-half team – they have outscored foes 531-487 in the first half but been outscored 591-564 in the second.
Also worth noting that when considering only Pac-10 games, OSU is first in the conference in field goal percentage defense (41.4 percent) and three-point field goal percentage defense (a shockingly low 26.6).
But the Huskies will want to put as much pressure on OSU as they can. The Beavers are last by a wide margin in turnovers – losing 5.4 more per game than their opponent – and will play tonight without starting point guard Lamar Hurd.
See you here after the game.