Will Horne lead like others who did not score much in 100-plus games?by Javier Morales on Oct. 12, 2010, under Sports
This is part of WILDABOUTAZCATS.com’s series: “40 things you should know about Arizona and Pac-10 hoops”
Arizona’s lone senior Jamelle Horne likely will become the 52nd player in the Wildcats’ history to play at least 100 games in his career. The natural question for many UA followers: What will he have to show for it?
Horne has 59 starts to his credit and 91 games played overall in his first three seasons with the Wildcats. If he remains healthy and plays all of Arizona’s first 32 games (a certain amount the Cats will play, going through the first-round game of the Pac-10 tournament), Horne would have at least 123 games in his career.
His current career scoring average is a not-so-impressive 6.6 points a game. One explanation for the relative low production is the fact teammates such as Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Nic Wise and now Derrick Williams have demanded and required most of the scoring opportunities. Some might argue that Horne simply has not found his groove.
For Horne to reach a scoring average of double figures in his career, he must score 633 points in the 32 games to reach 1,230 career points (10 points a game in 123 career games). That means he must average 19.8 points through the first game of the Pac-10 tournament. Not going to happen.
Horne should not fret. Twelve other Wildcats in the history of the program have played at least 123 games and averaged less than 10 points a game in their careers. The most notable are players who won NBA titles after their Arizona days: Luke Walton (averaged 9.1 points in 129 career games from 1999 to 2003) and Jud Buechler (8.7 in 131 games from 1986-90). Others in this group of 12 include Reggie Geary (7.0 in 127 games) and Ken Lofton (4.8 in 129 games).
Lofton is an Arizona Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Walton will join him in the Hall next weekend with former teammate Richard Jefferson, who played only 84 games in his UA career because he left to the NBA after his junior season.
If Horne maintains his career mark of 6.6 points a game throughout the season — which would be bad news for UA coach Sean Miller — he would not finish last in scoring among those who played at least 100 games.
That distinction goes to Daniel Dillon, a career sub who only had six starts from 2004-08. How many people remember his six starts? Dillon, an example of hard work and never giving up, finished with an average of 1.6 points in 113 career games.
Those directly above Dillon include role players who came off the bench mostly in their careers: Justin Wessel (2.7 points in 120 games from 1997-2001), Kirk Walters (2.9 in 100 games from 2003-08), Joe Turner (3.4 in 126 games from 1984-88), Harvey Mason (3.4 in 116 games from 1986-90) and Eugene Edgerson (4.2 in 130 games from 1996-2001).
Turner, Mason and Edgerson, especially, were crowd favorites. Whether they started or not, or scored 20 points or two, it did not matter because somebody else was expected to carry the load. This is not the case for Horne, who as the lone senior, is expected to start and lead the Cats with his production and mental outlook.
In his 2009-10 review press conference in May, Miller was frank about what Horne’s role as a senior would be this season.
“Like a lot of players, when does that light bulb go on?” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s early. Sometimes it’s late. I do know this: A senior cares more about things than any other player on your team. It’s the last time. I think Jamelle is anxious to have a final year that we can all point to as being his best at Arizona.”
A month earlier, immediately after the season concluded, Miller said: “(Horne) has to do a better job of being a teammate. A better job of being about one thing only — winning. A better job of having a positive body language, regardless of whether things are going well for him.”
In other words, Horne must embody the confidence and grit of Walton, Buechler, Geary and Lofton — Wildcats who played to their potential and became leaders despite not always being the leading scorers.