Kelly received a sneak peak when they went to see “parts”
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Kelly Received A Sneak Peak When They Went To See “parts”

Kelly received a sneak peak when they went to see “parts”

Lute Olson will be immortalized Thursday outside the building where he ran a perennial basketball powerhouse for a quarter century, and that’ll be only the beginning of the celebration.

The rest happens when Olson will invite the dozen or so former Arizona Wildcats expected to be on hand to his home for the after party.

The Hall of Fame coach says those guys — and those who won’t be on hand — are the ones who deserve credit, anyway.

“I think it’s a great tribute to the players who went through this program, because I didn’t make one basket,” Olson said. “I know that all the players are looking forward to it.”

So a decade after Olson retired with 589 wins at UA, plus four Final Fours and the 1997 national championship, that’s what he’s talking about?

Former UA guard Matt Muehlebach, the locally based attorney and Pac 12 Networks analyst who will speak at Thursday’s unveiling, wasn’t surprised to hear of it.

“No question, I think he appreciates now just all the players and the connections, and we appreciate that,” Muehlebach said. “There’s a number of players that I played with who are my best friends. I don’t think that happens at every program. And the tie with the community and fans, I think fans can feel the family connection.”
UA declined to release the names of players expected to be on hand, in part because some plans remained uncertain and in part because the school feared too much of a crowd on the north side of McKale Center where Thursday’s ceremony will take place.

Olson said he knew, however, that Warriors coach Steve Kerr would not be able to attend while he prepares for the NBA playoffs, and that Lakers coach Luke Walton said he wouldn’t also be able to attend because of team obligations.

The former players who are on hand will speak at the event along with Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke starting at 4 30 p.m., while Olson is scheduled to take the microphone toward the end of the 90 minute ceremony. The event is not open to the public, but will be streamed live at Pac

“I think it’s obviously well deserved, and I’ve always thought he’s arguably one of the most impactful hires in Tucson and the state of Arizona history, really, when you think about the impact he had,” Muehlebach said. “There was such an impact with all the success the players have had on and off the court.”

Because of space constraints, the attendees are being limited to mostly top donors and those who donated to pay for the statue. As of Wednesday, 225,136 has been raised toward a cost still estimated to be 300 Wenyen Gabriel Jersey,000.

UA commissioned Israeli born artist Omri Amrany to create the statue, after he had already done similar work for notable sports figures that include Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson and Gordie Howe. Amrany and fellow artist Gary Tillery designed the Pat Tillman statue that sits outside University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Olson said he and wife Kelly received a sneak peak when they went to see “parts” of it in Phoenix recently, but he doesn’t know exactly what the statue will look like.

“I think they’ve done a great job,” Olson said. “I know that I’ll be holding the championship trophy from ’97 but otherwise, I’ll be interested to see it like other people will be.”
Southern California combo guard Devonaire Doutrive signed a letter of intent with Arizona on Wednesday evening, during the first day of the spring signing period.

Doutrive is scheduled to become the Wildcats’ first signee of their new 2018 recruiting class, after Jahvon Quinerly, Shareef O’Neal and Brandon Williams decommitted. Williams’ father says Williams is still considering the Wildcats, however.

Doutrive’s guardian, Laurian Watkins, said Doutrive was scheduled to sign Wednesday evening after a late afternoon workout. Both Watkins and Doutrive’s high school coach, Nick Halic, have indicated Doutrive and the Wildcats were an ideal fit.

“I think this was a place for him,” Halic said.

Doutrive’s addition gives the Wildcats flexibility with his ability to play either guard spot. Doutrive is a 6 foot 5 shooting guard with good passing skills and the ability to grow into a point guard role.

“He can really shoot the ball, especially off the bounce, and he’s a good passer,” said Halic, the coach at Birmingham High School in the San Fernando Valley. “He’s a dynamic type of ballhandler … and the best part about him is that at his 6 foot 5 inch height, he can guard smaller point guards.”


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