Follow-up thoughts on Lutegate…
The most frustrating part is Lute Olson was this close to that storybook ending. The 2005 Wildcats weren’t a hypothetical dream team based on recruiting rankings. The elite season was a reality: Thirty wins, an outright Pac-10 championship, two senior stars, the Pac-10 tournament MVP.
Hold onto that lead for another 51 seconds against Illinois, go to Final Four #5, and then everyone who cares about Coach O and his legacy convinces the 70-year-old to retire. Walk away on top. The always-leave-them-wanting-more principle in full effect.
No leave of absences. No phone calls to KRQ. And, most importantly, no Jim Storey.
Blame Deron Williams, blame the refs, blame Mustafa Shakur, blame Christine Toretti, blame Bill Murray, whomever you want. This close.
The good news is, as in life, we get to choose the sports moments we want to remember. We decide which memories we want to feature in our highlight reel of fandom. Wildcats everywhere get to choose how they will remember Coach Olson, and the University of Arizona gets to decide how it will honor him.
Speaking of the 2005 team, Channing Frye just completed an NBA season in which he hit 172 3-point shots. That’s more than Salim Stoudamire (167) made in his entire NBA career. Raise your hand if you saw that one coming.
So you have both Stoudamire and Frye on the court in overtime of a Regional Final and you draw up the final play for…Hassan Adams? No, I’m still not over that game.