Mills, Bramlett reached Arizona Wildcats stardom via different paths, roles

AZHOOPS42

With the tip-off to Arizona’s basketball season only 42 days away, we continue with our countdown showcasing standouts who wore No. 42 …

Chris Mills had a knack for the spectacular play while A.J. Bramlett worked in the shadow of others yet made the plays necessary for a team to achieve a championship.

Mills, a transfer from Kentucky, was the UA’s featured player in his three seasons in Tucson, culminating with a Pac-10 Player of the Year award as a senior in 1992-93. He is only one of two Arizona players to score at least 500 points in three different seasons. The other: Sean Elliott.

Mills also achieved one of Arizona’s nine triple-doubles against NAU (19 points/10 rebounds/10 assists) as a junior in 1991. His shot at the buzzer in regulation propelled the Wildcats to a classic 105-94 overtime victory over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in 1991 (shown in the accompanying YouTube video).

Bramlett’s name was not mentioned as much as Mike Bibby, Miles Simon, Michael Dickerson and Jason Terry during Arizona’s NCAA title run in 1997, but he was the Wildcats’ backbone at the post who helped make it all happen.

He had four double-digit rebounding performances in the six NCAA tournament games, including 31 against South Alabama and College of Charleston in the first two games that provided the Wildcats momentum.

In the UA’s most significant win in the program’s history, over No. 1-ranked Kansas in the Sweet 16, Bramlett posted a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds). In the last three games against Providence, North Carolina and Kentucky was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Arizona’s No. 42 players
Source: UA Media Relations
Bill Reeves, F, 1954-57
Mike Schleibaum, G, 1958-59
Marv Dutt, F, 1959-61
Lee Engbretson, C/F, 1962-63
Ralph Miller, C, 1966-67
John Harbour, F, 1967-68
Bill Wilson, C, 1969-70
Paul Strong, F, 1971-73
Jay Geldmacher, F, 1974-77
Perry Novelli, G, 1977-79
Sean Rooks, C, 1987-88
Chris Mills, F/G, 1990-93
A.J. Bramlett, C, 1996-99
Jamelle Horne, F, 2008-11

Bramlett, who runs sporting camps and motivational sessions as director of “Run the Walk”, will be in attendance with his former coach, Lute Olson, and teammates Simon and Terry (his roommate at the UA) and others for the 16th anniversary celebration of the UA’s national championship at the Fox Theater downtown.

A couple of other No. 42’s of note for Arizona:

Bill Reeves was a rebounding machine with the Wildcats from 1954-57. He is tied with Joe Skaisgir for the most rebounds in a game (26), which he achieved on Feb. 1, 1956 against Cal State-Santa Barbara. Reeves’ 13.2 rebounds per game that year is a UA record.

Sean Rooks wore No. 42 as a freshman but changed to No. 45 to finish his career.

Jamelle Horne deserves mention. He was the only UA player to lead the Wildcats in blocked shots and three-point shooting in the same season until Grant Jerrett achieved those marks last season. Horne led the UA with 30 blocked shots and 43.5 percent three-point shooting in 2009-10. Jerrett posted a team-high 33 blocks and 40.5 three-point shooting percentage last season.

Countdown to Tip-off Blogs:
Jordan Hill climbed hill for notoriety while Ed Nymeyer lived up to hype with Arizona Wildcats
Fantastic Four who wore No. 44: Jersey special for Arizona Wildcats program
— Two of Arizona Wildcats’ best centers — Sean Rooks and Channing Fryedonned No. 45
— Arizona Wildcats great Ernie McCray reminisces about his record-setting 46-point performance
— Arizona Wildcats star recruit should not be compared to Blake Griffin
— Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller on fast track to Pac-12 success
Things you may not know about Arizona Wildcats point guard T.J. McConnell
— Arizona Wildcats will benefit from presence of Joseph Blair in practice
— 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.

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