Basketball season is upon us with the crack of the bat still ringing in our ears from the recently concluded baseball season. Football is still the king of the sports pages and likely will be until the Super Bowl has been played in mid-January. Even in high school sports, prep cagers are practicing while some of their teammates are still cracking pads on the gridirons. Thankfully, the high school football season will end around Thanksgiving.
College basketball has become much more difficult to predict as more and more underclassmen have one or two spectacular seasons and go "hardship" into the professional ranks to make the big bucks. You can't really blame them, but it has changed the college game greatly.
The University of Arizona is a good pick to win it all in NCAA basketball. The Wildcats have a legitimate senior All American in center Loren Woods. Players of his caliber who play out their college eligibility are a real rarity in today's sports world. He has a talented, veteran team with him and many scribes are picking Lute Olson's Wildcats for the championship. Of course, the 'Cats were bitten by the injury bug last season and there is no immunity from that kind of disaster.
The Arizona State Sun Devils could be an interesting squad to watch. Rob Evans seems to be a quality coach and may well get the Devils to play at a higher level than they have in recent years.
The Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks made it to the big show, the NCAA Tournament, last year and should have pulled off a major upset in the first round. It will be interesting to see if the boys from Flagstaff can repeat.
The Suns will be one of the better teams in the NBA, but probably not good enough to be legitimate title contenders. They have in Jason Kidd one of the most talented backcourt performers around.
On the high school level, the Winslow Lady Bulldogs will be loaded again this year as senior Francine McCurtain is poised to lead the team to a championship. Standing in the way is a talented Tuba City Lady Warrior squad that broke many Winslow hearts last season. Monument Valley, Ganado and Window Rock almost always put teams on the floor that can compete with the best around.
The Winslow boys have some gaps to fill, but usually are in the thick of the fight. They are in a tough league with Tuba City, Ganado, Monument Valley and Window Rock all looking forward eagerly to the coming of the most popular sport among their Native-American constituency. The Enchantment Region does itself proud during basketball season.