Greg Hansen is the sports columnist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.
He is one of my favorite newspaper columnists in the entire country. You can just tell he loves his job, he brings it everyday and he is really, really good at his job.
It has always intrigued me how a columnist in an area that has over 1,000,000 people, has no major league team, but has one team that is in the spotlight year around, the Arizona Wildcats basketball team, works their craft.
So instead of continuing to wonder, I reached out to Greg Hansen recently and he was kind enough to communicate back.
Arizona basketball in the last 20 years for the most part has not only had major national prominence, but has been the dominate program in the west when it comes college basketball, no one even close.
An obvious question to Hansen, with all the star power of Arizona basketball over the years, who is the best all time Arizona Wildcat player. Without question he answers Sean Elliott. Hansen backs that up with the fact he is a local guy, two time all-american, national player of the year in 1989 and goes on to say if he had not come along in Lute Olson's third year at Arizona in 1985, there might not have been no final fours, no long run of Pac-10 titles, no ability to recruit NBA type players year in and out. In addtion to the fact, Hansen calls Elliott the best clutch player the Wildcats have ever had, no contest. High praise, from someone who has watched Arizona basketball since 1981.
Hansen also has high praise for Sean Miller, the present coach of the Wildcats. He likes the job is doing, but like a lot of other people wonders how long he might be at Arizona, noting Miller is an east coast guy and almost every year there is going to be great jobs come open that will for sure tempt Miller. But the best compliment Greg Hansen gives Sean Miller is that as it stands now, he could be on the Lute Olson level in a hurry, with his ability not only to game coach, but to recruit top players to Tucson.
Is another national championship in the future for Arizona with Miller at the helm and great recruits flocking to the school? Hansen thinks that with the incoming recruiting class, 2012-13 might be the year for the Wildcats to make another run for a national title and at the very least to be at the top of the mix.
So does interest in Arizona Wildcat basketball every wane in the greater Tucson area? According to Hansen, fans can never get enough facts and information, it never stops, even in the days following the retirement of Lute Olson and some down years and now with Miller leading the Cats back to the top, the interest never ceases and readers can never get enough information on Arizona hoops.
It is only fair when you communicate an outstanding columnist to ask how to they stay on top of things each day. Hansen says most writers have a thirst each day for new and fresh information which drives their work and allows you not to be lapped by everyone else and today that applied more than ever, with the abundance of web writers and bloggers.
For some reason, reading Greg Hansen all these years, I have a good feeling not too many people as good a columnist as he is, are ever going to lap Greg Hansen.
By the way if you want to read Greg Hansen's columns, you can go to www.azstarnet.com and even better yet, with summer coming and people looking for good books to read, Greg Hansen's book, "Hustling to beat deadline" is an outstanding book and if you like sports, a must read.
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