Fifty days from today it all starts … Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell playing an official UA game for the first time against Cal Poly in the season opener.
Arizona coach Sean Miller will also have his first chance to observe, in a game that counts, how much frontcourt returners Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley have improved from their freshman season. A person who will be significant in their development to that point is new undergraduate assistant Joseph Blair, the best field-goal shooter in the program’s history.
Blair, who along with Sean Rooks exhibited the most fundamentally sound moves at the post in the Lute Olson era, wore the No. 50 for Arizona. Active in the community with his Blair Charity Group, the big man is featured today with this being the fiftieth day until tip off.
He looks in good enough shape to continue wearing the jersey. He will give Tarczewski and Ashley all he’s got in practice sessions and that can only benefit them in their quest for a potential NBA career after this season (or next).
“Our current players will benefit from his work ethic, knowledge of the game and passion for Arizona basketball,” Miller said in a press release after announcing Blair’s addition to the staff in early August.
Here are some facts related to the No. 50 involving UA hoops:
>> The Border Conference champion Wildcats finished 26-5 under Fred A. Enke in the 1949-50 season and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament in New York City, losing to LaSalle by only six points (72-66) in the opening round. The media at the time made a big deal of Arizona having five starters taller than six feet, led by Border Conference Player of the Year Leon Blevins. The late Blevins, who passed away at age 61 in 1987, was a forward who led the UA with 14.9 points a game that season.
>> Former UA guard Steve Kerr holds the record for most minutes played in a game — all 50 in a double-overtime win over California on Jan. 12, 1986.
>> Another No. 50 player of note is center John Edgar, a JC transfer who was a key contributor when the Wildcats won their first Pac-10 title in 1985-86.
Countdown to Tip-off Blogs:
— Arizona Wildcats preparing for what could be memorable 2013-14 season