In the tradition of American Idol, Wildcat Sports Report is looking to select the best Wildcat athletes at each position in basketball and football.
Just like the singing competition, YOU get to decide who is the best, only without the annoyance of Ryan Seacrest.
Every day we will post a new position, and you vote for your favorites. For the first round you will select your top-three, and in a week we’ll count the votes and eliminate the bottom three vote getters.
So how do you vote? Easy, just post your three favorites in the comments sections either here or at WildcatSportsReport.com. Put as much of an argument for who you think belongs as you want.
Check back tomorrow for our first football category and check back next week to find out which three point guards are eliminated.
Bayless arrived at Arizona at perhaps the worst time possible as Lute Olson announced, prior to the start of Bayless’ first season, that he would sit out the season due to health concerns. Playing under interim coach Kevin O’Neill, Bayless averaged 19 points per game, but butted heads with O’Neill time and time again. Bayless was selected 11th overall in the NBA Draft after his freshman season leaving Wildcat fans wondering what could have been. Later, Bayless would say that his decision to leave was largely based on the uncertainty of an Olson return to the bench and his experience playing under O’Neill. As a player, Bayless was as physical and passionate a point guard to ever wear an Arizona uniform.
Bibby did what every Arizona point guard has inspired to do, win a national championship. Amazingly, Bibby truly defied the odds by accomplishing the feat as a true freshman. Fans literally watched Bibby come of age from game-to-game throughout that special season, culminating in his 19-point, 9-rebound performance in the championship game. As a sophomore, Bibby continued to dominate and despite playing only two seasons at Arizona would finish his career among the school’s top 10 in three-point field goals made, 3-point attempts, steals and single-season assists. Bibby averaged over 15 points and 5 assists in his career and was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1998.
Arguably the best passing guard in school history. Brown was a true pass-first point guard who is still school’s single season and career assist leader. He had 247 assists in the 1978-79 season and had 810 career assists. If that was not enough, he also still holds the single game assist record, dishing out 19 on December 8, 1979 against Grand Canyon. If our word is not enough, how about Bob Elliott’s. Elliott was once quoted as saying that the only way he’d return for an alumni game was if Brown was on his team getting him the ball where he likes it.
Gardner was Mr. Indiana coming out of high school and lived up to his billing at Arizona. He led Arizona to the 2001 national title game, was named the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Player of the Year in 2003, the National Freshman of the Year in 2000, and earned 12 other All-American accolades throughout his career. Gardner proved to be one of the most reliable Wildcats in school history, playing in 136 career games and starting in 135. He holds the school record in minutes played (4,825) and 3-point field goals made (318), which was 2nd in Pac-10 history at the time. At 5-foot-10, Gardner was the epitome of a point guard in his era, an offense facilitator that would score when the open shot was presented.
Geary was one of the best defensive-minded players in school history. He spent most of his career playing behind Wildcats studs Damon Stoudamire and Khalid Reeves, but when he finally got his chance to start as a senior Geary proved his worth by averaging 9.8 points and 7 assists per game. To this day Geary is one of the most beloved Wildcats among fans.
Few things brought down the McKale rafters more than a Steve Kerr three-point make followed by the entire crowd screaming in unison, “STEEEEEEEEVE KERRRRRRRR!” Kerr set an NCAA record by hitting on 57.4% of his three-point attempts as a senior, graduating Arizona as one of the college game’s deadliest shooters. An NBA career followed, and proving that college was no fluke, Kerr again earned the reputation as being of the NBA’s sharpest shooters in league history. Kerr, along with Sean Elliott, helped lead Arizona to its first Final Four appearance in 1988, but it was an injury suffered while playing for USA Basketball his junior year that made the 1988 run possible. Kerr was forced to redshirt a season while recovering, paving the way for a more experienced Wildcat team to make that deep NCAA run.
Lofton was a key part of Arizona’s 1988 Final Four team, the school’s first ever trip to college basketball’s Mecca. He finished his career as the school’s single-season and career steals leader. Lofton was better known for his defensive prowess and used his quick and physical style of on-ball pressure at the top of the key to set the tone for his teammates. He assumed the starting point guard job in 1989, guiding Arizona to one of its best regular seasons ever. Of course, he did not go on to a pro basketball career, rather, Lofton starred as a Major League Baseball standout.
One of the few pre-Olson Era point guards to make our list, Money still holds the Arizona record for most points scored in their first game as a Wildcat (37). Money also dropped 37 points on the ASU Sun Devils later that season, which always rings well to Wildcat fans. Money held the school record for best scoring average by a point guard at 18.6 points per game for nearly three decades. Money was drafted by teams in both the 1974 NBA and ABA Drafts, and ultimately chose to play for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. He also appeared in the 1970’s movie “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh” starring Dr. J.
Muehlback wasn’t the flashiest of players, but he ended his career as one of the top three-point shooters in school history with a career average of 43% shooting from beyond the arc. He also helped lead Arizona to Pac-10 titles in each of his four seasons. Proving that Muehlbach wasn’t just brawn but brains too, he was named to the All-American Academic team as a senior. The Stillwater, Kansas product never lost a game at McKale, later became a lawyer and sports agent, and is currently the Wildcats’ radio color commentator.
The point guard that gave legendary coach Lute Olson his most famous, actually notorious and borderline villainous, nickname, “Midnight Lute,” was also one of only five Wildcats to score 1,000 points and have 500 assists or more in his career. Othick played with one of the highest motors Arizona basketball has ever seen and although he never truly lived up to the hype of being the player that Olson poached from UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian the night before National Signing Day, he did exit the school as one of Arizona’s most prolific assist men.
The “Golden Child” was one of Lute Olson’s most prized recruits, and although he accomplished a lot on the court (over 1,000 career points and 500 career assists) Shakur will be most remembered for the things he did not accomplish like getting Arizona to a Final Four. He did come within one game shy of that benchmark as a true freshman, but his final three seasons at Arizona never saw the Wildcats advance beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Shakur was a great facilitator, but he was recruited in an era when Arizona’s point guards were called upon to score and dominate games. In the end, Shakur never averaged more than 12 points a season which is good, but perhaps not good enough.
Stoudamire was solid as a freshman and sophomore, but went absolutely nuts in his final two seasons at Arizona. As a junior, Olson opened up the offense for Stoudamire and his backcourt mate Khalid Reeves. The duo shined, leading Arizona to the Final Four in 1994 as Soudamire averaged 18 points per game. As a senior, Stoudamire produced one of the best seasons in school history by averaging 22.8 points and 7.3 assists per game. That season, Stoudamire was named Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American. To this day, Stoudamire remains one of the most dynamic players with the ball in his hands and is still the only player in Arizona history to score 40 points in a game twice.
College basketball coaches pine for players like Terry, who proved to be the consummate team player in his four seasons at Arizona. Terry played little as a freshman, and was forced to play the sixth man role in his sophomore and junior seasons behind Mike Bibby. Still, Terry averaged 10 points off the bench in each of those seasons and was a key reason why the Wildcats won the 1997 National Championship, thanks to his instant offense and killer on-ball defense. As a senior, Terry finally got the starter’s gig and all he did was average 22 points per game and win All-American honors by every news source and publication.
Wise was named first-team All-Pac-10 his senior season. He remained committed to Arizona during one of the most volatile times in school history, suffering through four different head coaches in four seasons. Wise improved his scoring average in each of his four seasons while leading Arizona to an improbably Sweet 16 appearance under interim coach Russ Pennell. In his senior season, Sean Miller’s first at Arizona, Wise ran the show for a team loaded with underclassmen and was credited by Miller as being a key part of the school’s resurgence back onto the national stage.