Rivera: UAs all-time smartest players
Earlier this week I had my top 10 best Arizona basketball players in the last 33 years- under Lute Olson and Sean Miller.
Now, I'm going to give you my all-time smartest - Basketball IQ - when it comes to knowing what to do and what to say.
It'll be different than the first list but with Steve Kerr winning his first NBA title as a coach - in his first attempt I might add - this is a logical list.
1) Of course, it's Steve Kerr. I'm not sure I've met anyone smarter than Kerr when it comes to the human element of the game and how to make the right moves. He's also savvy and a heck of a competitor. One would never imagine that with the boy-next-door looks.
2) Luke Walton: He grew up in a basketball family and knows the game like few others. He's going to be a heck of a coach one day. He was a key in Arizona being top-ranked during the 2003 season. Everything seemingly ran through him at the top of the key. Could assist, score and run the offense. He played the game like he was shooting pool - you don't play for the shot you have but the one you're going to get.
3) Miles Simon: He was a tough-minded leader who also grew up watching and playing the game. He knows the game well and is now an up-and-coming broadcaster who has some great insight to what teams do.
4) T.J. McConnell: What can't you say about McConnell? Not physically gifted but seems to be at the right place at the right time. Does everything (shot isn't pretty, but) well and is a winner and a student of the game. Makes others better and has the right temperament to give instructions to teammates.
5) Solomon Hill: He knew his limitations and strengths and worked on them to get to the NBA. Speaks well and is insightful. Very good basketball mind. He had a very nice career at UA, biding his time and doing what needed to be done. That's the smart way of handling a nice career.
6) Matt Muehlebach: Ok, maybe he should be rated higher in as much as he's a pretty good attorney and is, of course, smart. But what people don't know is he's a heck of a competitor and was a bulldog. Time and circumstance is what he knew on the court and proves it behind the microphone these days as a basketball analyst.
7) Jason Gardner: Arizona's Ironman in that he logged more minutes than any other player in school history. Third on the all-time scoring list, but what he did was help Arizona get to a national championship game, an Elite Eight, a Sweet 16 and an NCAA second round. He's the head coach at IUPUI.
8) Mike Bibby: When you're a freshman and helping lead a pack of talented teammates to a national championship you know you have something special. He did. He was unflappable and smart while in an Arizona uniform.
9) Damon Stoudamire: Time and circumstance. Knowledge of the game. A winner. All describe Stoudamire, who will eventually become a pretty good head college coach. One of Arizona's all-time best players and someone who can relate to today's players given his NBA history.
10) Andre Iguodala: Talented and smart and did everything well. Sometimes too athletic for his own good but he's Mr. Triple Double at Arizona. His game translates better in the NBA but he was pretty savvy in his short time at Arizona
11) Josh Pastner Arizona's Boy Wonder. A gym rat not so much for himself but in helping others get better. He's been coaching since he was a tike in Texas. Has learned from some of the best (Lute Olson, John Calipari). He's having a tough time at Memphis, but the school thought enough of him to give him the job when Calipari left for Kentucky.
Honorable mention: Sean Elliott, Channing Frye, Nick Johnson, Reggie Geary, Chris Mills, Jason Terry, Corey Williams.
Steve Rivera has covered the Arizona men's basketball team full-time since the 1991 season, filling in since 1988. He's the author of "Arizona Basketball Vault" and "100 Things Arizona Fans Need to Know & Do Before They Die."