Defending poor performance by the Wildcats

Arizona Basketball has had its fair share of poor performances in marquee games, and we come to the defense of the Wildcats.

It has been several weeks since the Arizona Basketball team had a disheartening exit from the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, and now it is time to assess and reflect. I am coming to the defense of 0-for shooting games.

Based on maligned performance, statistically, two instances during the 2021-22 Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball campaign stick out to me. At UCLA, Kerr Kriisa shot 0-for-12 as Arizona lost 75-59 on the road.

The other, Azuolas Tubelis went 0-for-8 and only scored two free throws in the Cats’ season-ending tournament loss to Houston.

The former was one of Arizona’s rare regular-season losses last season and the latter was, well, you know.

Many of us have been guilty of getting frustrated with the performance of our beloved players and teams. We yell at the screen or in the stands. We are bewildered and despondent when a seven-foot athlete misses a put-back from a foot away. We are stumped and frustrated when a player misses a vital free throw. But let us ponder this, and maybe we can gain some clarity and calm.

Have you or anyone you know missed work because of an upset stomach or a mild headache? What if that work was accounting or driving an Uber? Not many endeavors (apologies to accountants and Uber drivers) consist of the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that athletes endure.

College athletes, collectively, are the best players coming out of secondary school in their respective countries. They are not professionals getting paid millions of dollars. Yet they play through upset stomachs and mild headaches, or worse.

I went to the gym recently to shoot free throws and dang if I couldn’t shoot three in a row! I was not gassed and under pressure playing in a college basketball game, with spectators yelling obscenities at me. Do you see where I am going with this?

Kriisa and Tubelis have played for their respective nations’ youth national teams, they are just that great at what they do. And these young men are just that, young. Whether it is maturity, stamina, strength, ability, confidence, intelligence, dedication, or any myriad factors, college athletes are performing on a level most individuals could only fantasize about.

So, let’s reflect and sympathize when athletes have bad performances. Unless you have participated in college athletics or something akin to it less no less started for an elite program and played on a national team — one cannot possibly relate.

Oh, and you know how folks criticized Bennedict Mathurin for seeming uninterested during games sometimes? I would be too if I knew I was months away from being a millionaire… that’s just me, though.

Leave a Comment