Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More Signs Of Desperation: Arizona Wildcats

Like a fading movie star, desperately trying to stay at the top, Lute Olson and the Arizona Wildcats have done what everyone was expecting them to do since Jawann McClellan suffered a season-ending wrist injury.

Reinstate Chris Rodgers back on the team.

Rodgers had been dismissed by Olson on Jan. 18 reportedly after "long and serious deliberations" and was said to be "effective immediately."

However, Olson then announced the next day Rodgers could return if certain conditions were met. Coincidentally his announcement came at the same time Arizona doctors diagnosed McClellan's wrist injury.

In his statement to the press Tuesday regarding Rodgers' return, "He has fulfilled the various responsibilities that had been set up for him to get back," Olson said. "I visited with all the guys individually to discuss the situation and they are very much in favor of him being back on the floor."

One wonders if the discussion with players included details such as:

- The Cats are 15-9 overall , and are in danger of their first non-20 game season in 18 years

- Arizona is not ranked in either the Coaches or AP poll, nor did it receive any votes. (As a consolation, Northern Arizona did garner a single vote in the AP this week.)

- The Cats run of 21 straight NCAA tournament appearances is in jeopardy.

Back in mid-December people questioned whether the Arizona basketball program was too lenient with Hassan Adams in an off-campus brawl incident.

This time around there is no question. The actions taken today by Lute Olson were out of desperation.

With the reinstatement of Chris Rodgers, under these circumstances, one wonders if Arizona coach Lute Olson has lost his sense of priorities.

Or as Gloria Swanson, a famous silent movie star who faded away during the era of talking movies, once said, “I am big. It's the pictures that got small.”

Let’s hope Lute Olson has not lost all perspective, and has not put winning at all costs ahead of what’s good for the team and the college game.



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