Dismissed Arizona guard Rodgers could return
TUCSON, Ariz. -- One day after calling for one of Arizona's big men to step up, Wildcats coach Lute Olson dropped one of his backcourt players.
Shooting guard Chris Rodgers was dismissed from the team by Olson on Wednesday.
"It should be noted that Chris has earned his college degree in 3½ years," Olson said in a statement in which he said the decision followed "long and serious deliberations" but gave no other details.
After Arizona's overtime win against Stanford on Thursday, Olson left the door open for Rodgers' possible return.
"The ball is in Chris' court," Olson said. "There are certain things he is going to have to do. If he does them, there is a chance he can come back."
The move followed a disastrous road trip that saw the Wildcats (10-6, 3-3 Pac-10) lose twice in Oregon. Voters responded by dropping them from the Top 25 for the second time this season. Until the earlier disappearance from the rankings earlier, Arizona had been ranked in the regular season for 18 consecutive years.
On Tuesday, Olson cited an inconsistent inside game -- which has sometimes forced forward Ivan Radenovich to play out of position in the post -- as part of the problem, but the Wildcats' poor 3-point shooting has been a sore spot all season.
Rodgers, a starter in 13 games, shot 34.6 percent (56-of-162) overall and 34 percent (33-of-97) from beyond the arc, averaging 10.8 points and 2.3 rebounds. His 40 steals are second to Hassan Adams' 45.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior from Portland, Ore., came into the season touted by Olson as his best defensive player. But Rodgers became disgruntled in mid-December over what he perceived as a lack of playing time.
Rodgers, who was averaging just under 30 minutes a game, was held out of the starting lineup at Houston on Dec. 3 and against Saint Mary's on Dec. 10 -- the first time for missing a team meal and the second time to prepare for a final examination.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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