Seniors G Kyle Fogg (20 pts, 9 rebs) and F/C Jesse Perry (16 pts, 8 rebs) helped keep Arizona’s NCAA tournament hopes alive today when they led the Wildcats (21-9, 12-5) to a 65-63 win over the UCLA Bruins (16-13, 9-7). The group of five seniors – including G Brendon Lavender (5 pts, 2 rebs), C Alex “Tree” Jacobson (2 mins, 1 PF), and walk-on G Dondre Wise (DNP) – suited up for the last time as Wildcats at McKale Center in a nationally broadcasted game on CBS.
I can’t think of a stranger group of seniors to have ever graced Lute and Bobbi Olson Court. Perhaps it was fitting that they weren’t even donning the Wildcats’ signature cardinal and navy. Instead, they were subjected to wearing jerseys much more reminiscent of Ohio State University’s scarlet and gray under the guise of a brilliant (note: sarcasm) marketing scheme called “Platinum Elite” by Nike. I realize I’m in the minority on this issue but when it comes to jerseys, I’m okay with “modernizing” them as long as the integrity of the primary school colors is maintained. Can you imagine if a band performed an ode to the Beatles called “Orange Submarine”? They’d get booed off stage! How about an Independence Day party with maroon, cream, and turquoise streamers? Not only would it be unpatriotic, it would be borderline heresy!
Anyways, back to the seniors…they represent the last group of players who were recruited by Hall of Fame coach and Tucson legend Lute Olson. Kyle Fogg will finish his Wildcats career with the best overall statistics of the bunch but is likely headed for a basketball future in obscure corners of Europe. Jesse Perry, a JUCO transfer from Utah, will be remembered most for his dread-braid combo hair and a painful looking jump shot. Alex Jacobson’s nickname of “Tree” has both literal and figurative connotations, but rumor has it that he’s got a bright future as a DJ; hey, DJ Tree actually has a nice ring to it. Something clicked for Brendon Lavender in the last two months of his career and while nobody will remember him as one of the great players in UofA history, many fermented adult beverages will be purchased at local watering holes in his honor as he has become the answer to the trivia question, “Steve Kerr (NCAA record 57.3% in ’87-’88) and Derrick Williams (56.8% in ’10-’11) hold the top two single-season three point percentages in Wildcats history; who is third?” Lavender is currently third in the NCAA at 52.3%. Wise will probably be remembered best as the guy who nobody ever really knew whether he was on scholarship or just Nic’s brother, I’m not sure which.
I guess only time will tell. In any case, thanks for the memories, seniors. And thanks especially for helping keep the ship afloat during the Olson-to-Miller transition era. Now could you do us one last favor and take any and all evidence of those terrible Ohio State-esque uniforms with you on your way out?