PHILADELPHIA - He says the left shoulder is fine. That his head is clear, thanks to a forgiving set of coaches and teammates.
“Anybody regrets going through that,’’ Arizona forward Hassan Adams said Thursday, in his first public comments since DUI charges on March 5 and weeklong suspension from the Wildcats.
“Things happen. My teammates welcomed me with open arms and the coaches.”
Now the question is whether Adams can put Arizona on that shoulder, reach in to create some rare Wisconsin turnovers and go up with his left side for an emotion-inducing slam dunk or three. If so, Arizona might have its best chance to win today’s first-round NCAA tournament game with Wisconsin at the Wachovia Center.
The Badgers constantly run players inside and out with their swing offense, but they never forget to keep their eye on the ball. Wisconsin averages just 11.6 turnovers per game, a number Arizona probably must inflate to win what is viewed as a dead-even matchup.
The Wildcats force an average of 19.5 turnovers a game and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is fully aware that many of them get slammed down an opponent’s throat.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball,’’ he said. “You don’t create 19 turnovers by being passive. They’ve been aggressive that way and they’ve been opportunistic off those turnovers, too.’’
The Wildcats can start by getting to quasi-point guard Kammron Taylor, who averages more turnovers (2.6) than assists (2.3). It’s possible that they will stick top on-ball defender Chris Rodgers on Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker.
Ivan Radenovic should be a good matchup for the Badgers’ big men, too.
But Arizona’s tone could be set with the raw energy of a healthy, focused Adams for the first time since March 2.
Adams hurt his shoulder that night against Washington State, played in limited form on March 4 against Washington and then was cited on DUI charges about six hours after that game had ended.
Since then, Adams has spent an eventful two weeks of being suspended, calling his teammates on the phone at the Pac-10 tournament, and then rejoining the team since a Sunday night practice.
“It’s been hard, but with the support of my teammates and coaching staff. They’ve been behind me 100 percent,’’ Adams said.
Arizona vs. Wisconsin
When: 10:30 a.m. today
Where: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia
TV: Ch. 5