When I first heard that there would be an Alumni Classic basketball game between former Wildcats and Sun Devils at US Airways Center and Gilbert Arenas himself would be involved, I wondered if he would put up 60.
When I heard Jerryd Bayless would also be playing, I wondered why the former Devils would show up.
Now that both have pulled out, Arenas because of his knee and Bayless to work out in Portland, I am certainly disappointed but still excited because I think we might have a competitive game on our hands now.
Tickets for Sunday’s 12 p.m. game in downtown Phoenix range from $15-25, with proceeds going toward the non-profit organization Neutral Zones of America, Inc., which helps underprivileged children.
The Wildcats’ roster will be headlined by Hassan Adams, Ben Davis, Joseph Blair and Harlem Globetrotter Eugene Edgerson. Former Wildcat and MLB All-Star Kenny Lofton (it will be very interesting to see him play) and failed first-round NFL draft pick Trung Canidate are other notables.
The Sun Devils will trot out Eddie House and Ike Diogu and a bunch of nobodies, including Bobby Lazor and Rodger Farrington (who?).
It’s a shame these teams weren’t trotting out their real best starting fives of active players. Arizona would probably throw out Arenas, Jason Terry, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson and Phoenix Sun. The Wildcats could even go two deep with an infusion of youth from the latest UA era along with some veterans in a lineup of Mike Bibby, Bayless, Chase Budinger, Luke Walton and Jordan Hill.
ASU, meanwhile, would have House and Diogu to go with 2009 picks James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph and not much else.
As for tomorrow’s real inaugural Alumni Classic, I’m definitely bummed Bayless won’t get to play his first game as a Wildcat in his hometown, if unofficially, after he missed Arizona’s only trip to Tempe during his only year in college with a bum knee.
Still, if you are an ASU or Arizona person who loves basketball, it should be a fun afternoon of hoops with both fan bases likely to make a bigger deal out of a game that doesn’t matter than they really should.