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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No Sure Thing With Arizona's (Memphian) J.P. Prince


UP NEXT: NO. 18 MEMPHIS (8-2) AT NO. 9 ARIZONA (8-1); 6:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY; TV: FSNA; RADIO: 1290-AM

Rivera: No sure thing with Arizona's Prince
STEVE RIVERA
Tucson Citizen

If Arizona sophomore J.P. Prince were as evasive on the court as he is in the locker room, he'd probably be playing 20 minutes per game.

That's, of course, if his recovery from an illness would allow him to get on the court at all.

Prince, who hasn't played in a month, dressed Sunday for the Wildcats for the first time after missing the previous five games because of his illness.

Will he play Wednesday? Who knows?

But he says he'll be at McKale Center when No. 9 Arizona faces No. 18 Memphis, Prince's hometown team, at McKale Center.

"We've got a game Wednesday,'' he said, implying that he'll be there.

Never mind there is some thought Prince is thinking about a possible transfer.

When asked about all the speculation of a transfer, he said, "We'll see how things go.''

When asked if he's not ruling it out, he said, "I'm not saying nothing. We'll see how things go.''

Nothing ever seems definite with Prince. He could have ended the speculation, but he kept things lingering.

At least he'll have a front-row seat - from the bench - when his buddies from Memphis come to town to face the Wildcats.

"I play with them every day,'' he said of his summer days in Memphis.

But will he play Wednesday? If the last month is any indication, it's not likely. Even Arizona coach Lute Olson dismissed a question about Prince at the end of his news conference Sunday.

Prince said he has been out with an illness that hit him over the spring and had him out of school for about a month.

He said he lost 35 pounds from the ordeal, and he was pencil-thin when he got here. UA's media guide lists him at 186 pounds.

The illness resurfaced a month ago and has limited him to a few practices and no minutes since the New Mexico State game on Nov. 19.

"I'm just trying to get back healthy,'' Prince said. "I started to work (in practice) this past week.''

Prince said he gets tired easily and he's still trying to put on weight.

"I'm still trying to rebuild my entire body back,'' he said. "When you're in the hospital for a long time and you're trying to play major college basketball, there's a lot of wear and tear. "I'm just taking precautions. Some days are better than others.''

And that's on and off the court.

Steve Rivera's e-mail: srivera@tucsoncitizen.com.

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