1. 2001 Final Four
The 2001 Final Four is a bittersweet one for Arizona fans.
It was an emotional time for the Cats when Lute Olson’s wife and team Mom, Bobbi Olson passed away right before the conference season.
The Cats would lose out to Stanford for the conference title but they had a bigger goal in mind in the NCAA Tournament.
Continuing where they left out in 1997, Arizona continued to throw No. 1 seeds by the wayside, beating Illinois in a Regional Final slugfest and topping the defending National Champion Michigan State Spartans in the semifinals at the Final Four.
Arizona had defeated five straight No. 1 seeds going into to the Championship game against the mighty Duke Blue Devils.
In these two games, Jefferson showcased his pro upside to NBA Executives.
The first game was a rematch of a nine-point victory the previous season in Tucson when the Cats and Spartans were both in the top 5.
In a game that could have easily been in our list, Jefferson showed the Spartans his athleticism by scoring 18 points, dishing out six assists, grabbing six boards and channeling Dominique Wilkins on a breakaway windmill jam.
The Cats cruised in the rematch at the Final Four, going on a 16-1 run out of the gate in the second half.
Jefferson finished with 17 points and eight rebounds against the Spartans.
The Cats cut the Duke lead to 75-72 with three minutes left but could not come any closer leaving the Cats bridesmaids in Minneapolis.
Loren Woods and Michael Wright both finished with double-doubles and Jefferson had one of his best games as a Wildcat when he finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and shot 4-of-8 from behind the arc.
His two-game output made him a 2001 All-NCAA Final Four pick.
Soon afterward Jefferson entered the NBA draft and was the No. 13 pick by the Houston Rockets. He was later traded to the New Jersey Nets, where he averaged over 18 ppg four times in seven seasons. BearDown Richard!