Ex-Wildcat watch: Walton, Stoudamire, Shumpert, Hoffman and moreby Anthony Gimino on Nov. 03, 2010, under Sports
Former Arizona Wildcat forward Luke Walton spoke with ESPN Los Angeles about his namesake, former NBA player Maurice Lucas, who died at the age of 58 because of bladder cancer.
Lucas was a great friend and Portland Trail Blazers teammate of Bill Walton.
(Unlike many men of Luke Walton’s age, he was not named after Luke Skywalker of the Star Wars saga. His first name is in honor of Lucas.)
Luke was asked how his dad described Lucas to him:
“He always told us the greatest two teammates he ever had were Larry Bird and Maurice Lucas. He had nothing but great things to say about him, on and off the court. His character. The person he was. It’s obviously tough, knowing my dad just lost one of his best friends. He always spoke very highly of him and every time we saw him, he was always great to us. A lot of fun to talk to. To hang out with. A big, loving, caring type of man.”
Read more of the Q&A at ESPN.com.
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Santa Rita High School graduate D.J. Shumpert, who spent the past two seasons as a reserve with the Arizona basketball team, is at Division II Cal State San Bernardino. A wing with the Wildcats, Shumpert is listed as a center/forward at his new school. Some of his teammates have more girth, but no one is taller than the 6-7, 205-pound Shumpert.
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Salim Stoudamire is getting another chance at professional ball. The former Arizona shooting star — way better than Duke’s J.J. Reddick in college — was taken with the last pick of the first round in the NBA Development League draft. He will play for the Idaho Stampede.
AOL Fanhouse reported that Stoudamire had a pre-draft agreement with the Stampede and circulated an e-mail that he would not play for another team. Stoudamire’s father, Charles, now lives in Boise.
“I’m excited to get to Boise,” Stoudamire said in a press release. “Not only will I get a chance to play organized basketball again, but also get to spend time with my family, which is always important to me. It’s a low-key city, everybody is really nice. I’ve felt a good vibe there.”
Stoudamire averaged 8.0 points for the Atlanta Hawks in 157 games spanning three seasons, 2005-06 to 2007-08. A groin injury contributed to his two years out of the league.
“The time off did give me the opportunity to grow as a human being, but still, being away from the game was tough,” he said. “My injury forced that, though. Now I’m excited to get back on the basketball court.”
He just turned 28 last month, and, presumably, he can still shoot … so Stoudamire should have a chance to hook on somewhere as a 3-point specialist.
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What next for the major leagues career save leader? Former UA shortstop Trevor Hoffman, converted so brilliantly to a pitcher nearly 20 years ago, is a free agent at the age of 43.
The Milwaukee Brewers declined his 2011 option, choosing to pay Hoffman a $750,000 buyout rather than $7.5 million for next season. That was no surprise, considering Hoffman struggled last season and lost his closer’s role. Still, he made it to 601 career saves.
Will he take less money and less of a role to keep pitching somewhere in 2011?
Will anybody bite after he posted a 5.89 ERA?
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I think this will be a first: Two former Arizona offensive coordinators will face off Saturday as head coaches.
It will be Pat Hill and Fresno State’s team playing at Sonny Dykes’ Louisiana Tech team. Fresno State is 5-2 and still stands as a potential roadblock to Boise State in the WAC. Louisiana Tech is 3-5, and a win Saturday would be an important step toward bowl eligibility.
Hill was the offensive coordinator with the Wildcats in 1991, while Dykes spent the past three seasons in that job before moving to the Bulldogs after last season.