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Wildcats senior Bagga savored time with squad

Citizen Staff Writer



Liz Bagga has one more assist than her son David.

The University of Arizona Wildcat senior is more than happy with that. Her assist helped him play 40 minutes while in a UA men’s basketball uniform.

The 6-foot-4 guard’s last home game is Saturday against Stanford.

“She’d call assistant college coaches and I had no idea she was doing it,” David said. “Then she called me and starting talking about things she had never talked about.”

She spoke about shooting the basketball and improving his defense, including his positioning.

“I’m thinking, ‘How do you know about defensive positioning and stuff?’ ” Bagga recalled. “She said, ” ‘I follow the game.’ ”

He laughed.

His mom had been making calls to colleges across the country, trying to help her son land on a team, even if it was as a walk-on.

“Obviously, it was nice of her to do,” the son said.

She spoke to former UA video man Jack Murphy and inquired about her son’s chances of becoming a Wildcat.

“I just told him that I didn’t care about playing time or anything else,” David said of his initial talk with Murphy. “I want to help this team win and I want to be part of something.”

Kind of like it was in high school, when he played on very good teams at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High.

“I just felt that if I went to college I wouldn’t be mad at being a walk-on,” he said. “I realize it’s practice where you get better. I figured I’d try to make the most of it.”

In 128 games at UA, he’s played in 23 for a total of 40 minutes. He has 19 points and no assists.

“Bagga is one of those guys you love having on the team because he never complains,” said UA junior Chase Budinger. “He’s our hype guy, a great person.”

Interim coach Russ Pennell said Bagga is such a great communicator that he “needs to run for public office or president.”

“(UA president Robert) Shelton ought to hire him . . . because this guy is good,” Pennell said. “He’s good in front of people.”

Bagga has appreciated everything while at UA. He called his time “a blessing” with everything that goes with it: the applause, the attention and even the highs and lows.

It’s a career of no regrets.

“It’s all been unbelievable,” he said. “It’s by far been the best experience of my entire life. Honestly, I would not trade a single day for anything else.”

Or, apparently pass on anything – assist or no assist.

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