Countdown to Tip-off: Arizona Wildcats will benefit from presence of Blair in practice

AZHOOPS50

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.

According to the UA media guide, these are the players who have worn the No. 50 for the Wildcats:

Robert Maxwell, G, 1958-59
Carl Wheeler, F/C, 1959-60
Monte Clausen, C, 1961-62
David Mosebar, C, 1979-81
John Edgar, C, 1984-86
Joseph Blair, F/C, 1992-96
Alex Jacobson, C, 2007-12
Jacob Hazzard, G, 2012-14

Italics indicates number retired
Active players listed in bold

* * * * * * *

Steve Kerr holds the UA record with 50 minutes played in a double-overtime win over Cal at McKale Center in 1986

Steve Kerr holds the UA record with 50 minutes played in a double-overtime win over Cal at McKale Center in 1986

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

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, and TucsonCitizen.com.

Share this post