Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

UA’s Pennell taking praise in stride

Citizen Staff Writer
The Bounce



It’s been a whirlwind last few days for the Arizona men’s basketball team, which is now in the hunt for a Pac-10 title and a possible NCAA Tournament berth after winning seven straight game.

But it hasn’t been that crazy for interim head coach Russ Pennell, an unassuming, unpretentious coach who just goes about his business.

Outside of going out with his mom on Sunday to hike a local trail, he’s been out of the public eye and in his office working to get ready for Arizona State on Sunday.

“I just bumped into a couple of people who said, ‘Nice job,’ ” Pennell said. “I’m trying to do the same thing I’ve been doing: Hide out in my office and take care of the day-to-day.”

He’s gotten a lot of e-mails and “people congratulating the team” but Pennell said he’s taken everything in stride because, “I lose one game and I’m a bum again. That’s the way this profession works.”

But he likes where the team is because “it’s on solid ground” and “mentally in a good place.”

UA (18-8, 8-5 Pac-10) took Monday off. And Tuesday was “more of a shooting practice,” said Pennell, who will face his former team in Tempe on Sunday. Pennell was an assistant for ASU under former coach Rob Evans.

Pennell said resting his team at this point in the season, helps more than anything. He said that junior forward Jordan Hill’s ankles are fine after he suffers small injuries to both last week.


Arizona (18-8, 8-5)

at No. 14 ASU (20-5, 9-4)

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tempe, Wells Fargo Arena


Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM


> UA athletic director Jim Livengood talks about the basketball coaching search.

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