June 25-July 1, 2008
NEW YORK CITY — Jerryd Bayless’ elite perfor-
mance during his one-year tenure at Arizona will soon pay
off, both fi guratively and literally.
Using his quickness, strength and all-around athleti-
cism, Bayless displayed the required tangibles not only to
excel through rigorous Pacifi c 10 Conference basketball,
but also to prove attractive to the next level.
Now as a protected high -lottery pick — within the top
six — in tomorrow's 2008 NBA Draft, Bayless can only
hope his physical creden-
tials impressed general
managers on paper.
One of his great-
est assets, however,
can't be found as a
ranking or value
on a 1-to-10 scale.
In fact, it can't even
— but not
the “it ” factor.
“He's just a
— he loves to play,”
said former UA inter-
im head coach Kevin
O'Neill in a phone inter-
view. “He'll want to im-
prove and get better every
day. He'll be a guy you can
count on every day. Those
kind of things really translate
well in NBA success, and that's
why I think that guy will be
successful in the NBA.”
O'Neill said the “it ”
intangible never ap-
pears on a scoreboard,
r esum e or SportsCenter
highlight. Instead, Bay-
less was born with the
ideal chemical combi-
nation of competitive-
ness, mental intensity
“I think Jerryd worked very hard all year long in
a diffi cult situation,” O'Neill said. “He made great,
great strides and he probably won't realize that until he
looks back on it a few years from now.
“I thought he learned the game better and worked re-
ally hard to make his teammates better,” O'Neill added.
“That year experience at Arizona will really help him as
he moves along.”
And who better to gauge NBA readiness than O'Neill,
the Wildcats’ interim head coach last season who cur-
rently serves as an assistant coach with the Memphis
Grizzlies after years of other expe