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The Cut: The 1988 Arizona Wildcats

By @HutchNGo

In this week’s installment of “The Cut”, we have decided to head way back to a time where the city of Tucson, Arizona was becoming one of the major epicenters of college basketball. The exact year is 1988, and the team is the Arizona Wildcats.The 1987-1988 Arizona Wildcats, led by legendary coach Lute Olson, featured a quartet of future NBA players. The quartet of Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler, and Tom Tolbert carried the 1988 ‘Cats to a 35-3 record en route to capturing Arizona’s first PAC-10 regular season championship title, and second PAC-10 conference championship title. Sean Elliott would go on to be awarded the 1988 PAC-10 conference Player of the Year award.


Arizona was rewarded with a #1 seed in the 1988 NCAA tournament. The ‘Cats stormed through their first four games, before eventually losing to the Oklahoma Sooners in the school’s first appearance in the Final Four. While Arizona did not win the championship, the 1988 ‘Cats set the blueprint for the success the program had under coach Lute Olson in the 90s.

While this team featured that quartet of NBA players, this team is probably most famous for the one player that decided to go professional in another sport. In the 1988 season, Steve Kerr’s backup was none other than 6-time MLB All-Star centerfielder Kenny Lofton. Lofton would actually go on to start for the 1989 Wildcat team before pursuing a career in baseball full-time.


The ‘Cats design for their 1988 jersey were classic white or blue uniforms with red, white, and blue stripes around the waist and legs. The nickname “CATS” is printed on the left leg of the shorts on both the road and home uniforms. The simple, yet dynamic look is one of the best uniforms in college basketball history.
If you would like to see for us to produce these for next season, please let us know.

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