PGU is counting down our 25 greatest Wildcats of all time. To see the honorable mention and how the rankings are formulated, click here.
#25: Hassan Adams (35.08)
#24: Sean Rooks (35.29)
#23: Anthony Cook (35.74)
#22: Al Fleming (37.31)
#21: Chase Budinger (37.52)
#20: Loren Woods (37.57)
#19: Michael Wright (37.85)
#18: Jud Buechler (38.07)
#17: Salim Stoudamire (39.15)
#16: Derrick Williams (40.31)
#15: Bob Elliott (41.86)
#14: Channing Frye (42.13)
#13: Richard Jefferson (43.86)
#12: Luke Walton (45.15)
#11: Gilbert Arenas (45.44)
#10: Chris Mills (45.98)
#9: Michael Dickerson (46.10)
#8: Khalid Reeves (50.40)
#7: Miles Simon (51.93)
#6: Steve Kerr (52.02)
#5 : Damon Stoudamire (62.41)
#4: Jason Gardner (63.34)
#3: Jason Terry (63.65)
Time as a Wildcat
Love him or loathe him, Jason Terry is one of the most exciting — and eccentric — players to ever put on an Arizona uniform. The JET also has the trophies and accolades to back up why he is this high on the list.
The 6’2 combo-guard was a prep standout at Franklin High School, where he won two state titles and later had his number retired. He chose to play at Arizona so he could study under a professor of up-tempo and occasionally boastful basketball, named Lute Olson.
As a freshman, Terry played somewhat sparingly, as he averaged only 10 minutes and 3.1 points per game. Nonetheless, it was enough to land him an honorable mention on the Pac-10 All Freshman team.
Terry’s sophomore season was when the nation became familiar with the flashy guard who wore obnoxiously long socks. While Terry remained on the bench to start each game, he became a valuable part of Arizona’s run to the national championship.
He averaged 10.6 points to go with 4.4 assists and 2.5 steals. His statistical contributions were crucial but his swagger was at times just as appreciated. Terry was never afraid to take and usually make clutch shots and was perfectly happy dishing the ball off to teammates like Mike Bibby. More than anything, he was doing whatever it took to will Arizona to each victory in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, even if it was by being a cheerleader from the bench.
Terry once again played a primarily back-up role his junior season. For the second straight year, he averaged 10.6 points but in seven and a half less minutes on the court. Arizona had three shoot-first players in Bibby, Miles Simon, and Michael Dickerson so Terry’s willingness to be patient with his scoring numbers benefited the team immensely.
Arizona’s title defense was stopped short by Utah in the Elite Eight. In that final game when most of the team was offensively stifled, Terry put in his best effort, scoring a team high 16 points.
As a senior, Terry put up one of the most impressive single seasons in school history and it earned him First Team All-America Honors and National Player of the Year by numerous outlets.
Terry’s 21.9 points per game were more than double his scoring average from the previous two seasons combined. He also averaged 5.5 assists and 2.8 steals, propelling his draft stock.
What some Arizona fans might most remember from Terry’s final season is the NCAA investigation that followed years later. It ruled that Terry accepted money from agents towards the end of his junior season.
The university did not find out the gifts until April of 1999 and therefore the NCAA allowed Arizona to suffer limited penalties, the biggest being the forfeit of Arizona’s lone 1999 Tournament game, a first round loss to Oklahoma.
The violations also disallowed Terry from having his jersey retired, an honor that goes to Player of the Year recipients. Regardless, the investigation can never take away the amount of excitement Terry brought to college basketball fans across the country in his senior season.
Career After Arizona
Terry was the 10th overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft, selected by Atlanta. In his first season with the Hawks, he averaged eight points and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He played four more seasons with Atlanta, averaging over 16 points in each.
In the offseason before the 2004-05 season, Terry was traded to the Mavericks. He played eight full seasons in Dallas and provided a huge impact on both sides of the ball.
The pinnacle of Terry’s professional career was the 2011 NBA Playoffs, where he made a number of clutch shots, particularly in the Finals. The Mavericks won the NBA Championship, giving Terry title rings both at the college and NBA level.
On July 18 of this year, Terry signed a three year contract with the Boston Celtics. Thus far in his career, he has averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 assists per game over 13 seasons.
Terry helped establish the Arizona Brand with the way he played in his four seasons in Tucson. Since leaving the school, he has always been sure to rep his Cats, although controversy has ensued a couple times with his fandom of former Washington Huskies star point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Repeatedly, Terry has said that he wants to one day coach at Arizona and has even suggested being Sean Miller’s successor. While that may be a long shot, Terry’s legacy at the McKale Center will be forever sealed, even if there is no retired jersey number to honor him in the way he properly deserves.