Twenty-six conference titles, 10 trips to the elite Eight, four trips to the final four and one national title, all of these numbers lead to one specific Division I basketball program: The University of Arizona.
The University of Arizona continues to showcase one of the most consistent and successful basketball programs in the history of the NCAA. Finishing off last year with a record of 33-5, and falling just short of the Final Four, expectations continue to be high coming into this season.
Jake Rich, a senior at Arizona, agrees with everyone else’s high expectations. He said, “After coming so close to the final four last year, this has to be our year.”
Losing Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon to the NBA will have a effect on the team, but with returning stars Brandon Ashley, T.J. McConnel and Kaleb Tarczewski, along with phenomenal incoming Freshmen Stanley Johnson; the wildcats are ready to make another run for a championship.
Nany Boho, local bartender and life long fan, can’t wait for basketball season to start. “Basketball season is my favorite time of the year,” she said. “I have been watching Arizona basketball my whole life and the one thing I love about our basketball team is that we are always competitive and always have a chance to win.”
Shay Crothers, Arizona alumni of class of 1982 who now lives in Los Angeles, has never stopped being a fan from the moment he stepped foot on the campus. He said, “I lived during the Lute Olsen years and they were fantastic, but recently, Sean Miller has kept finding ways to keep us successful and I think he will be here as long as Lute Olsen was.”
The key that can’t be over looked in all of this is that head coach Sean Miller has created a winning environment that has continued to bring in top recruits every year. Sean Miller has brought in a top five or top ten recruiting class over the last five years and you cans see the results on the court, according to ESPN recruiting rankings.
Monica Robertson, a new transfer student to the Arizona from Northern Arizona University, stated, “I have been a huge college basketball fan my entire life and honestly, the basketball program is part of the reason why I even looked at UofA.” Monica isn’t the only person who looked at Arizona because of the basketball program.
Luis Gonzales, freshmen at the Arizona, said that he became interested in the university after seeing a basketball game on T.V. He said, “I was watching a UCLA versus Arizona basketball game and the atmosphere was just electric; all I kept thinking was how much I wanted to be apart of that.”
One of the great things about Arizona basketball program is that it connects with fans across the nation through alumni, family traditions, or random fandom.
Janine Kapp, an alumni of Arizona who now lives in Scottsdale, knows all to well about supporting her college. She said, “I work part-time for a restaurant, and on the weekends we get to wear whatever jersey we want. Everyone knows that I wear my Arizona basketball jersey every Saturday, regardless of the time of year.”