Archive for: February 2014

The Tucson Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to Arizona Beer Week

Craft BeerArizona Beer Week begins February 15 with the 14th Annual Strong Beer Festival in Phoenix. For those in the “Old Pueblo” that are looking to partake in Arizona Beer Week without making the 120-mile trek to Steele Indian School Park, here is your handy guide to all things crafty in Tucson during Arizona Beer Week.

Nightly Events:

  • Boca Tacos y Tequila at 828 E. Speedway Blvd. will be hosting a daily “Crafty Hour” from 3-6 p.m. with $1 off all local Arizona beer.
  • All Risky Business locations will be offering $1 off all Arizona brewed draft beers all day long throughout the week.
  • Nox Kitchen & Cocktails at 6370 N. Campbell Rd. will take $2 off their four Arizona brewed draft beers throughout the week.

Saturday, February 15

Brew and Bikes

  • Location: Begins at Barrio Brewery  800 E. 16th St.
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Event takes the riders through the heart of downtown Tucson looping around University and ending at SkyBar.

WOB_extFour Peaks Brewing Company Spotlight Weekend

  • Location: World of Beer Tucson  350 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 2 p.m. -2 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Four Peaks will bring some of their specialty beers to the World of Beer Tucson location on opening weekend. These beers are usually only served at the brewery including Double Knot, Hopsquatch, Barrel-Aged Kilt Lifter and others.

Arizona’s 102nd Beer and Brats Birthday Bash

  • Location: Playground Bar and Lounge  278 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 4 -10 p.m.
  • Cost: $15

A rooftop BBQ in celebration of Arizona’s 102nd birthday featuring eight Arizona breweries including Dragoon, Barrio and Borderlands from Tucson. All-you-can-eat food and a flight of four 4-oz. Arizona brews included in admission cost.

Sunday, February 16

Blues, Brews & BBQ

  • Location: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort  7000 N. Resort Dr.
  • Time: 11 a.m. -2 p.m.
  • Cost: TBA

An amazing brunch featuring locally brewed beer by Dragoon Brewing Co. with favorites from the grill. Enjoy live blues music while taking in the beautiful view of the Catalina Mountains.

Monday, February 17

Dogfish Head A-HOP-Eclipse

  • Location: World of Beer Tucson  350 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 2 p.m. -2 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Dogfish Head will bring some of their hoppiest beers to Tucson. Get your fill of 60, 61, 90 and 120 Minute IPAs while they last. Also on tap will be specialty brews ApriHop, Indian Brown, Burton Baton and Hellhound. There will be special prizes and giveaways as well.

Borderlands Brewery Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from Borderlands Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

thunder-canyon-brewery-logoBrewery Open House

  • Location: Thunder Canyon Brewery  7401 N. La Cholla Blvd.
  • Time: 6-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Stop in, tour the brewery and talk beer and brewing with the brewers at the Foothills Mall location.

Ten Fifty-Five Brewing at 1702

  • Location: 1702  1702 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • Time: 7-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet the brewers and taste the beers of 1055 Brewing while enjoying some of the best pizza in town.

Tuesday, February 18

Beer, Burgers and the Four Peaks Brew Master

  • Location: Nox Kitchen & Cocktails  6370 N. Campbell Rd.
  • Time: 11;30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Lunch with the Brew Master and friends of Four Peaks Brewery. Nox will be offering a burger along with any one of four Arizona draft beers for only $10.

Taco Tuesday with Dragoon and Four Peaks

  • Location: Fini’s Landing  5689 N. Swan Rd.
  • Time: 4-7 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

A collaborative event hosted by two of the state’s most popular breweries. Fini’s Landing will be offering $2.50 tacos to go along with $1 off Arizona craft beers. The Collaboration Weizenbock, brewed by six Arizona breweries will also be available along with special giveaways including a commemorative Four Peaks pint glass.

Meet the Brewers

  • Location: Zona 78  7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
  • Time: 4-6 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Brewers from 1055 Brewing and Dragoon Brewing will be on hand to discuss their brews.

Pastiche Food and Drink Arizona Beer Dinner

  • Location: Pastiche  3025 N. Campbell Ave.
  • Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Cost: $45

Five course meal by chef Tim Moore paired with some of the best craft beer that Arizona has to offer.

Sonoran Brewing Night

  • Location: Mr. Head’s  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Jim Layrd, the president of Sonoran Brewing, Arizona’s first microbrewery, will be at Mr. Head’s sharing knowledge along will samples and brewery goodies.

FourPeaks BrewFour Peaks Sweet 16

  • Location: Monsoon’s Tap & Grill  6781 N. Thornydale Rd.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Monsoon’s, northwest Tucson’s newest craft beer bar has always offered Arizona only beers on tap since they opened last fall. Tuesday night’s event welcomes Ted Golden and Jim Roper of Four Peaks Brewing as they bring along 16 barrels of their specialty suds including rare beers like Short Hop Session IPA, Poppin’ Pils, Tequila Barrel-Aged Raj IPA, Odelay, Diablo Rojo and Sirius Black. The always popular Bourbon Barrel-Aged Kilter Lifter, Collaboration Weizenbock and their standard eight beers will also be flowing.

“Brewing Arizona” Book Signing and 1055 Brewing Showcase

  • Location: Tap & Bottle  403 N. 6th Ave.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Author Ed Sipios will be signing copies of his book while the brewers of 1055 Brewing will showcase four of their beers including the first sighting of Two Sons Imperial IPA outside of their tap room.

Wednesday, February 19

dragoonDragoon and 1055 Brewing Collaboration Tour

  • Location: Dragoon Brewing Company 1859 W. Grant Rd.
  • Time: 2-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Join 1055’s J.P. Vyborny and Dragoon’s Eric Greene for a tour of an operating brewhouse.

Borderlands Brewing at Sir Veza’s

  • Location: Sir Veza’s  4699 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • Time: 3-5 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The brewers of Borderlands Brewing Company will be offering their new winter beers as well as standard favorites.

Celebration of Southern Arizona Beers

  • Location: Good Oak Bar  316 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 4 p.m.-12 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Good Oak Bar will be offering a variety of beers from Southern Arizona.

Old Bisbee Brewing Company Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from Old Bisbee Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

Grand Canyon Flight Night

  • Location: Tap & Bottle  403 N. 6th Ave.
  • Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Experience some of the lesser known beer from Grand Canyon Brewing in Williams, Ariz. Bryan Young will be offering the Black Iron IPA, American Pilsner, Shaggy Bock and Double IPA. Young will also be on hand to answer questions and give away beer-centric prizes.

ten fifty-five1055 Beer Dinner at Proper

  • Location: Proper  300 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Cost: TBD

A multiple course beer dinner featuring the beers of 1055 Brewing Co. paired with plates prepared by the Chef d’Cuisine, Kris Vrolijk.

Borderlands Beer Quiz

  • Location: Borderlands Brewing Company  119 E. Toole Ave.
  • Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

An epic beer-related pub quiz with questions submitted by the leading minds of the Tucson beer community. Teams of four will compete for a generous Borderlands bar tab.

Barrio Brewing Late Night

  • Location: Mr. Heads  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Samples and explanations of Barrio’s brews.

mudsharkThursday, February 20

A Night of Lunacy

  • Location: World of Beer Tucson  350 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Mudshark Brewing of Lake Havasu City will feature eight different varieties of their Lunacy beer.

Borderlands Brewing at Pub 22

  • Location: Pub 22  15920 S. Rancho Sahuarita Blvd.
  • Time: 3-5 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The brewers of Borderlands Brewing Company will be offering their new winter beers as well as standard favorites.

Dragoon Brewing Cask and Food Truck Pairing

  • Location: Tap & Bottle  403 N. 6th Ave.
  • Time: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Dragoon Brewing will be bringing two cask conditioned and other other special beers to Tap & Bottle. Chef’s Kitchen Food Truck will be on site with a special menu paired with the Dragoon beers.

SanTanLogoSanTan Up and Down Congress

  • Location: Starts at Proper  300 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

A mini pub crawl tasting two unique Arizona beers at Proper, Hub Restaurant and Creamery, Good Oak Bar and World of Beer.

Thunder Canyon Brewing Tap Takeover

  • Location: Monsoon’s Tap & Grill  6781 N. Thornydale Rd.
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Thunder Canyon Brewing brings 18 different beers to Monsoon’s for your tasting pleasure.

SanTan Brewing Company Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from SanTan Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

Borderlands_BrewingThe Biology of Beer

  • Location: Maker House  283 N. Stone Ave.
  • Time: 7-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Mike Mallozzi, co-owner of Borderlands Brewing and Ph.D. microbiologist, will discuss how the sciences of molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry all started with beer.

Barrio Brew Master’s Dinner

  • barrioLocation: Barrio Brewing  800 E. 16th St. .
  • Time: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Cost: TBA

Five Course Dinner paired with Barrio brews. The Brew Master will also be explaining each beer served.

Dragoon Brewing Night

  • Location: Mr. Head’s  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 8:30-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Samples and explanations of five Dragoon brews with collectible and prize giveaways.

Friday, February 21

Dragoon Brewing and Food Pairing

  • Location: Time Market  444 E. University Blvd.
  • Time: open
  • Cost: N/A

Time Market will be pairing custom-built plates with featured Dragoon beers.

sentinel_peak___2.largeLemon-Wit Collaboration Release

  • Location: Sentinel Peak Brewing Company  4746 E. Grant Rd.
  • Time: 3-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The release of a Lemon-Wit that uses Marana grains and Tucson lemons. This is a collaboration recipe with Granite Mountain Brewery from Prescott, AZ. They have brewed the same recipe (with the same ingredients) and will also be releasing it this week.

Barrio Brewing Company Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from Barrio Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

1702azLocals Only-Arizona Brewers Unite!

  • Location: 1702 1702 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • Time: 8-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Several local Arizona beers all in one place on one night.

Borderlands Movie Night – “Beer on a Roll”

  • Location: Borderlands Brewing Company  119 E. Toole Ave.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The Arizona premier of “Beer on a Roll”, The story of one man, one bike, 3000 miles, and a craft beer tour of America.

Dragoon Night on the Patio

  • Location: Che’s Lounge  350 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 8-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Che’s Lounge will be featuring several Dragoon beers along with the premier patio in Tucson.

Collaboration Brewday

  • Location: Mr. Head’s  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Mr. Head’s will have the Arizona Weizenbock thanks to Four Peaks, 1055, Dragoon, Huss Brewing and Wanderlust Brewing Companies. Four Peaks will also be on hand offering samples, explaining the brewing process and handing out prizes for all in attendance.

Saturday, February 22

ACBGSouthern Arizona Brewers Festival

  • Location: Maker House  238 N. Stone Ave.
  • Time: 2-6 p.m.
  • Cost: $35/ $45-day of event

The end cap festival for Arizona Beer Week featuring Southern Arizona’s premier breweries. Participants will get a commemorative pint glass and exclusive access to your local brewers. Enjoy your brews while you listen to local live music from The Bennu and local eats available for purchase from a selection of Tucson food trucks.

Arizona State Basketball: Report Card for Sun Devils Midway Through Pac-12 Play

JB UtahArizona State is on a roll.

The Sun Devils (17-6, 6-4) are 12-1 at home and have won four of the past five, including victories over two teams with RPIs in the top 50. Three of their six losses were to teams ranked in the RPI top 20, including two in the top 10. All of their losses have been within the top 100, so they are avoiding “bad losses.”

Head coach Herb Sendek’s crew defeated Oregon State in overtime on Thursday night, thanks in large part to the play of JordanBachynski, who notched his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Bachynski’s seven blocks set the all-time Pac-12 record for career blocks with 279. “It was huge,” Bachynski said in the postgame press conference, per Jake Anderson of the “I am honored to hold the title. It’s because of guys like Bill Walton who laid the foundation before me that I can have the record.”

With 10 games down and eight remaining, the Sun Devils face a tough 11-day stretch hosting Oregon and Arizona and then traveling to Boulder, Colorado to take on the Buffaloes. Two out of the three are “must wins” in order to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Here are the midterm report card grades for Arizona State’s starters and key backups.

Jahii Carson

Jahii-stanJahii Carson leads all Sun Devils and ranks third in the Pac-12 with 19.3 points per game, adding 23 on Thursday night for his ninth game of 20 or more points. Carson has been on fire as of late, averaging 23.4 points per game over the past five games.

Carson also leads the team in assists averaging 4.7 per game, sixth best in the conference. For a 5’10” point guard that has been rumored to be ‘too small’ for the NBA, he is also third on the team with 4.0 rebounds per game.

The consummate court general, Carson was able to motivate a team that suffered mightily from the free throw line (.620) as well as beyond the arc (.142) in regulation. The sophomore is making a push down the stretch when it is most needed.

Grade: A


Jordan Bachynski

Bach BrosPrior to Thursday night’s game, it’s safe to say that Bachynski was in a slump.

The senior center who had been averaging 12.7 points and 11.6 rebounds through the first 17 games went to averaging 6.8 and 7.2 respectively over the next five games. Thursday night’s dominant performance has returned him to nearly averaging a double double a game at 11.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Bachynski ranks second in the Pac-12 in rebounds and fifth in field goal percentage at 58.6 percent. His 4.3 blocks per game also leads the conference as well as all of Division I. His 98 total blocks on the season are more than 243 teams playing at the Division I level.

The 7’2″ big man has obvious NBA appeal and his blocks per game average is on par with NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal (4.57), Alonzo Mourning (3.77) and Tim Duncan (3.75).

Grade: A-


Jermaine Marshall

Marshall UNLVThe graduate transfer student from Penn State has been huge lately. After recovering from a groin injury that held him out of the Arizona game and limited him for the next two, Marshall is back, and firing on all cylinders.

Marshall is averaging 23 points over the past three games including clutch three-pointers in overtime wins over California and Oregon State. His 58 percent from beyond the arc over the past four games has literally willed this team to victory three times over that same stretch.

A 46.2 percent shooter from three point territory on the season, Marshall leads the team and places fifth in the Pac-12 Conference. Marshall is also the team’s best shooter from the free throw line.

He is second on the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game and was Thursday night’s leading scorer, a feat that he has accomplished six times this season including tying with backcourt mate Carson twice.

Grade: B+


Shaquielle McKissic

Shaq UWShaquielle McKissic, the senior out of Seattle, Wash. has a back story of abusive parents, jail time and homelessness prior to coming to play at Arizona State. He was the heir apparent to take over Carrick Felix’s spot at the wing yet Coach Sendek wasn’t fully sold coming in to the season.

McKissic started the first four games but lost his starting role to freshman Egor Koulechov for the next seven. He earned it back through tough play and gritty determination. McKissic is now averaging 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

McKissic has yet to hit the 20-point plateau this year, but he has led the Sun Devils in scoring twice with 19 against Grambling State and 18 versus UC Irvine. The big man has also led the team in rebounds six time, three of them, by himself.

Grade: C+


Jonathan Gilling

GillingJonathan Gilling has been a roller coaster player in his three seasons in the desert playing for Coach Sendek. The 6’7″ junior out of Denmark had a solid sophomore year but his productivity has fallen off in the 2013-14 season.

Last year, Gilling averaged 9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game, this year he is hitting 7.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game. One area of improvement has been his long-range shooting. He has bettered his average from .367 to .430 mainly because he is taking fewer shots.

Gilling has had great games; hitting 7-of-7 from downtown in back-to-back games against Arizona and Colorado and he has had bad games, hitting 3-of-14 in the past three games.

Coach Sendek has started Eric Jacobsen over Gilling in the past five games enabling him to be a spark off the bench in the sixth man role. The switch started on the right track with Jacobsen and Gilling doing well, but both have struggled in the past three games.

It may be time to switch them back; Gilling has the ability, it just seems as his confidence is shaken.

Grade: C


Rotational Starters and Bench

boAside from the traditional starting five, three players have earned starts this season. Egor Koulechov has started seven games in the early part of the season for Shaquielle McKissic and Eric Jacobsen has started the past five for Jonathan Gilling. Brandan Kearney started the Arizona game for the injured Jermaine Marshall, struggled and hasn’t seen much in the way of playing time since.

While Koulechov and Jacobsen haven’t contributed much, if at all, in the past month, it has been junior Bo Barnes that has stepped it up coming off the bench. Since getting his minutes bumped up by Sendek, Barnes is averaging 7.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

Barnes is also hitting 56 percent of his shots taken from three point territory and 63 percent from the field. He has seen fewer minutes in the past two games but he is too much of a spark plug for Sendek to keep down for too long.

Barnes: B-

Jacobsen: C

Koulechov: D

Pac-12 Baseball: Previews, Players, Projections & More

Shane ZeileThe ‘Conference of Champions’ will begin the 2014 season on February 14 with six teams nationally ranked by the National College Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA).

The Oregon State Beavers (52-13) are ranked at No. 3 while the defending national champion, UCLA Bruins (49-17) crack the top 10 at No. 9. The Oregon Ducks (48-16)  just missed the top 10 coming in at No. 11 and the Arizona State Sun Devils (37-22-1) round out the top 20. Stanford and Arizona are also listed in the 35-team preseason poll at No. 31 and 33, respectively. Washington State also received votes.

<<<Read the rest of the article on College Baseball Central.

Arizona State Baseball: Alumni Game Welcomes Back Former Sun Devils

asubase David Banks-GettyTEMPE, Ariz.  –  The Arizona State University Baseball team began official practice last week and will welcome back several alumni on February 8 for the annual alumni game. Past players of the storied program include current MLB all-stars Dustin Pedroia, Andre Ethier, Ian Kinsler and Jason Kipnis.

College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Oddibe McDowell will make his triumphant return to Bobby Winkles Field at Packard Stadium and take his spot in the outfield. McDowell played for three MLB teams in his nine-year career and finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1985 playing for the Texas Rangers.

McDowell was a member of the 1984 United States Olympic Team and is currently the head baseball coach at Everglades High School in Miramar, Fla. , a hop, skip and a jump from his hometown of Hollywood, Fla.

<<<Read the rest of the article on College Baseball Central.

Arizona State Football: Sun Devils’ National Signing Day Hopefuls

Graham NSDArizona State University and head coach Todd Graham have a quality recruiting class of 25 commitments with the four major recruiting networks ranking the Sun Devils in the Top 25 nationally.

Scout ranks them the highest at No. 12 while ESPN and Rivals ranks them at No. 17. 247 Sports has them ranked at No. 4 in the conference and No. 22 overall.

What’s left for the Sun Devils moving into the National Signing Day on Wednesday? Here is a list of hopefuls still on Coach Graham’s radar.

Kalen BallageKalen Ballage

  • Position: Athlete
  • Height 6′ 2″
  • Weight: 215
  • Hometown: Peyton, Colo.
  • Rankings247Sports – 4-star, Scout – 4-star

The running back out of Falcon High School gave a “soft” commit to Arizona State’s Chip Long back in December but has since made official visits to Nebraska and Washington. Ballage also made his official visit to Arizona State on January 17 and Washington on January 24.

Ballage will blend perfectly in Arizona State’s backfield as he scored 25 rushing touchdowns as well as six receiving. Past running backs Marion Grice and D. J. Foster both excel in both rushing and receiving touchdowns so it looks as if Ballage will fit in nicely—if he signs on Wednesday.

Kenyon Frison

  • Kenyon FrisonPosition: Offensive Tackle
  • Height 6′ 5 1/2″
  • Weight: 290
  • Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Rankings247Sports – 4-star, Scout – 4-star

The big lineman out of Granger High School visited Arizona State on January 17 but also visited Nebraska on January 24. Frison has warm or medium interest level in ASU, Nebraska and Oklahoma whom he visited last November. The Sooners are pushing hard for Frison and have visited him five times since his official visit.

The hope that Arizona State has for Frison is that he officially de-committed from Utah after his visit to Arizona State.

Kweishi Brown 1Kweishi Brown

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Height 6′ 1″
  • Weight: 185
  • Hometown: El Cajon, Calif.
  • Rankings247Sports – 3-star, Scout – 3-star

The Grossmont Junior College standout who committed to Arkansas last summer and de-commited in November has been busy. Brown has 10 offers on the table but he has only made official visits to Nebraska and Arizona State.

Charlton Warren from Nebraska visited with Brown the day before his official visit but it may have been for naught as Brown raved about his official visit to Arizona State.

It’s no secret that the Sun Devils are looking to replace nearly the entire defense, losing nine starters to graduation and the NFL, so Brown will get a big chance to make his mark with three years to play two.

Deondre Clark

  • Deondre ClarkPosition: Defensive End
  • Height 6′ 3″
  • Weight: 235
  • Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Rankings247Sports – 4-star, Scout – 4-star

The soft commit for the LSU Tigers out of Douglass High School would be an incredible get for Arizona State following the departure of nine defensive starters.

Clark used the last three weeks of January to make official visits to Oklahoma, LSU and saved his final visit for Arizona State on January 31.

Depending on which recruiting site you follow, you will get varied reports on Clark. Scout has Clark down to four schools including Ole Miss, Rivals has ASU and OU listed as low interest and 24/7 Sports has OU listed as “warm” and Oklahoma State as “cool.”

Dalvon Stuckey & Darrius Caldwell

Dalvon StuckeyDalvon Stuckey

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • Height 6′ 3″
  • Weight: 300
  • Hometown: DeFuniak Springs, Fla.
  • Rankings247Sports – 3-star, Scout – 3-star

Darrius Caldwell

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Height 6′ 5″
  • Weight: 255
  • Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
  • Rankings247Sports – 4-star, Scout – 3-star

The Pearl River Community College teammates visited Arizona State on January 31 and both would be huge commitments for a depleted line with Stuckey having the same size and stature of departed 2-time Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, Will Sutton.

Stuckey has been hugely indecisive in deciding his college football career. He originally signed with Florida State in 2012 prior to attending Pearl River in Poplarville, Mississippi. Stuckey committed to Miami last April but took an unofficial visit to Auburn and switched his commitment to Auburn. Prior to Stuckey’s official visit to Tempe, he de-committed from Auburn, so Stuckey’s future as a Sun Devil is questionable at best.

Caldwell, like Stuckey signed with a Division I school (Illinois) prior to attending Pearl River. Caldwell is a soft commit to South Carolina but could follow teammate Stuckey to Arizona State.

Arizona Basketball: 5 Burning Questions for Remainder of 2013-14 Season

Gordon Zeus

The Arizona Wildcats are off to the best start in program history and have been ranked No. 1 in the country for eight weeks in a row. The Wildcats (21-0, 8-0 Pac-12) have also set the school record for longest winning streak at 21 games.

The Wildcats face a suddenly-struggling Cal Golden Bears team Saturday night at Haas Pavilion at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Bears (14-7, 5-3 Pac-12) started the season on fire winning their first five conference games including a win over then-No. 17 Oregon. California has since fallen on hard times losing their past three.

Arizona holds a 55-29 advantage over Cal and has won three of the past four meetings, including a triple-overtime thriller in Berkeley in 2011. Despite the Wildcats’ recent success against Cal, is is that fourth game that sticks in Arizona’s craw. Arizona has won 17 straight games at home, with their last loss being to Cal on February 10 of last year.

Can the Wildcats exact revenge on the Bears for that loss? Can they avoid the mounting pressure to maintain perfection? Click through for more burning questions about the remainder of the Wildcats’ season.

What Is the Reason for the Slow Starts?

slow start

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona hosted Utah on January 26 and came out listless. Within 90 seconds, they were already down seven points, after 7:30 had elapsed in the first half, the Wildcats still had only one field goal and trailed 12-2. They had missed ten consecutive shots including two free throws and two three-point attempts during that span.

Three days later at Stanford, the Wildcats were reliving a bad case of deja vu, scoring only one field goal in the first 7:30 of the game. Stanford kept it close by taking a 31-30 halftime lead and led by as many as seven points in the second half before succumbing to the nation’s top team.

“Half of the game we didn’t know what type of defense they were in so it was definitely something we had to adjust to,” head coach Sean Miller said following the Utah game. “But we adjusted to it and started hitting shots.”

The true measure of a team is not measured by how well they start, but how well they finish. The Wildcats have the heart of a champion by showing their closing ability when necessary. Not to speak ill of Utah or Stanford, but if Arizona continues the one-field-goal-in-seven-minutes trend, they can expect an early ouster from the NCAA Tournament.

Do They Realize That Free Throws Are Actually Free?

New Mexico State v Arizona

Christian Petersen-Getty Images

The Wildcats are bad at the free throw line—horrendous, to be more precise. Their .662 percentage ranks 10th in the Pac-12 while they have taken the fifth most attempts.

Aaron Gordon is a disaster at the charity stripe hitting only 44-of-98 for 44.9 percent and fellow newcomers Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and T.J. McConnell aren’t faring much better at 61 and 64.3 percent from the line.

Veteran players Kaleb Tarczewski, Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley lead the team but barely register on the Pac-12 stat line with Tarczewski at No. 15 and Johnson and Ashley at 18 and 21 respectively.

In close games this year, the Wildcats have shot alarmingly low against UNLV (50 percent), Colorado (57 percent), Utah (60 percent) and Stanford (62 percent.)

Free throws are a gift but they are also used as a defensive strategy when the opponent knows of the weakness. Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson especially, need to be in the gym before and after practice working on their free throws.

Granted, no NBA General Manager will pass on these electric players due to their limited free throw skills, but in an effort to be all-around players, they need to at least start shooting 75 percent.

Will They Handle the Mounting Pressure of a Perfect Season?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If the past two games have shown us anything, it has been that the Wildcats may be feeling the pressure of being undefeated. They have already set records for best season start and longest win streaks in program history, do they need to continue the streak to keep the fan base satisfied?

The answer is a resounding no.

Although it would be quite the feather in the cap for Sean Miller’s team to be the eighth team in NCAA history to go undefeated and the first in nearly four decades. However, a loss might even be considered a good thing so that the Wildcats can focus on the games ahead instead of maintaining the streak.


Will Sean Miller Be Lured Away by North Carolina?

Miller UNC

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Arizona struggled after the abrupt retirement of long-time head coach Lute Olson. The rocky two-year stretch from 2007-2009 saw much controversy and two head coaches in Kevin O’Neill and Russ Pennell.

After “only” advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, Athletics Director Jim Livengood hired Xavier head coach Sean Miller following the 2009 sesaon. Miller’s first year was a tumultuous one, going 16-15 and 10-8 in the Pac-12.

Miller’s team missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years and people were questioning the hire. The questions are no longer “Is Miller good enough for Arizona?” but “Is Miller too good for Arizona?”

With North Carolina’s men’s basketball program struggling, there are many rumors floating around about Roy Williams’ possible ouster. The Tar Heels (14-7, 4-4 ACC) began conference play with three straight losses and losers of four of their first five.

The University of North Carolina is one of the most storied basketball schools in the country and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if they had their feelers out and were looking to sway Miller back to North Carolina where he spent five years as an assistant for the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

How Many Players Will Declare for the NBA Draft?

The only sure answer to this question is to look at which players have no remaining eligibility. With only one senior on the team, Jordin Mayes is your answer.

The other players are question marks, including all five starters.


The most draft-ready players are junior Nick Johnson and sophomores Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley. Point guard T.J. McConnell and super frosh Aaron Gordon could declare as well.

Declaring for the NBA is one thing, playing is yet another. All you have to do is look at last year’s players that entered the NBA Draft, Solomon Hill and Grant Jerrett.

Hill was drafted in the first round, 23rd overall by the Indiana Pacers and has already been sent down to the D-League Fort Wayne Ants. He is back with Indiana but has only played in one game for a total of six minutes.

Jerrett was drafted 40th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers and then had his rights traded to Oklahoma City. Jerrett was later drafted No. 1 in the NBADL Draft by the Tulsa 66’ers who lost 17 of their first 20 games.

The NBA is tough to break into.

With 351 colleges and universities, not to mention international players, filtering into 30 teams with 15 players each, just making a roster is defying astronomical odds. The NBA D-League adds some hope with 17 additional teams with 12 roster spots.

Arizona’s starting five is phenomenal at the NCAA level, as is evidenced by their 21-0 record, but they all need to decide on what’s more important, playing the game they love at the college level or risking it all on the chance of fulfilling their dreams, knowing that the odds are heavily stacked against them.