Arizona Basketball Vault Book Available Here

Hello everyone.

I just want to say thank you for making the sales of the University of Arizona Basketball Vault a big success. A number of Arizona’s best and most loyal fans have seen it and purchased it.

All I do is show it and get out of the way. Read the reviews below and check out how to get one, too.

Many thanks to former players Joseph Blair, Matt Muehlebach, Reggie Geary, Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott (who wrote the afterward), Tom Tolbert, A.J. Bramlett, Gene Edgerson, Pete Williams, Ernie McCray,Harvey Mason, Channing Frye and Damon and Salim Stoudamire for helping me with their autographs.

And thanks to former UA coach Lute Olson for accompanying me for more than five book signings and current head coach Sean Miller for his autographs, too.

“What a book and what a concept!’’ said Sean Elliott, who wrote the book’s afterward. “Arizona is a special place and always will be for me. Great, epic games played. Great moments.  And this book captures it all.’’

The book takes the reader through the century-plus history of Arizona basketball from the first game in 1904 through the 2009-10 season – from Bear Down Gym to McKale Center. This detailed “scrapbook’’ contains never-before-published photographs, artwork and memorabilia drawn from the UA athletic department and campus archives. Tucked into the dozen of sleeves and pockets, fans will find reproductions of historic game programs, numerous postcards and photos.

Included in the book are: a press pass from UA’s 1988 West regional victory over North Carolina, a 1997 national championship poster and a “1997 National Champions’’ replica felt pennant.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the product. A number of news outlets have promoted and I am grateful. Check the links out:

KIIM 95.5 FM

Ernie McCray’s Review

If you’d like a copy, please contact me at You can also text me at 520-661-5302.



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Rivera & Gimino: A Must Read if You’re an Arizona Basketball Fan

Catch the new book - just out for 2014 - Contact Steve at



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Happy Father’s Day to those lucky enough to be dads.

Fatherhood: full of bumps but well worth the ride


Somewhere in heaven, likely on some plush softball field free of bad hops, my dad is having a knee-slapping good time at my expense.

He’s having a “¿Quien te trae?” (Spanish for, “Who has you here?”) moment when it comes to me being a father.

You know what they say about paybacks. I’m living it, breathing it with every sunrise. But I was warned. Some 25 or 30 years ago, I’d often hear my dad’s refrain: “Just wait until you have kids!”

I do – two boys – and boy was he right. I’m living his life. Ugh!

And I’m raising an ant and a butterfly.

The oldest, Cameron (the ant), is much like me – a diligent but petulant type who insists on arguing over moot points. The other, Trey, is a carefree, fly-to-the-next-flower type.

I wasn’t much of a curveball hitter, but every day I’m thrown a couple by the duo. They’ve turned me into a combination of Al Bundy (“Married with Children”), Dagwood Bumstead and George Lopez (“The George Lopez Show”).

I’m Mr. Chopped Liver, feeling like the guy picked last in the annual NFL draft – Mr. Irrelevant.

Mom’s tops – likely even on Father’s Day come Sunday.

The kids have no trouble traveling to the ends of the Earth with their mother but must be bribed to go to Sonic to get a Slushie with me.

Go figure. Isn’t fatherhood grand? I can hear the chuckles coming from heaven right now.

On the night my wife, Lynda, (now ex-wife) gave birth to our Cameron, just more than nine years ago (18 years ago now), I drove home thinking, “What the hell did I just do?” in creating a family with a plethora of responsibilities. Fatherhood has been a work in progress. Every day is an adventure.

And apparently, I’m not passing with flying colors.

To wit, just recently I got a card stating I’m passing in love, understanding, intelligence (debatable, but go along), sense of humor, helpfulness and wisdom. But I’m not doing so well in allowances (C), kindness (D) and patience (F).

But hey, I’m a sportswriter (that explains the allowances). As for the other two, they’ve never been my best qualities and someone needs to say “No.” You know what they say about kids and drunks – at least they’re honest.

Unfortunately, mine are too honest when it comes to my faults – and appearances.

After viewing some old photos, they dubbed me “Harry Potter,” when they saw a photo of me with thick glasses and straight hair.

Somewhere on that field my father is laughing, saying, “I told you so.” And he’s right – as usual.

During the school year, when my youngest son was asked what I did for a living, the teacher found out all I do is sit on the couch in front of the television and watch sports (picture Al Bundy with the remote). And when I’m not doing that, I’m yelling at my laptop computer because it rarely works.

The next day she offered her condolences to my wife, feeling sorry for a women whose husband does nothing around the house.

Little did Mrs. Discenza know that watching games and sitting in front of a computer is what I do for a living. Just depends on the venue.

Then came the time when I arrived home from a five-day trip while covering the University of Arizona men’s basketball team. I received this ditty from my then 5-year-old Trey: “Dad, maybe you should have had a girl.

“Maybe she would have loved you because no one here really does.” He laughed.

Dad is doubling over with laughter.

But that was my own undoing. Just two months earlier, in jest, I told my kids that they were lucky I didn’t have a girl because she would have been “daddy’s little girl and would have gotten all the attention.”

At least the young one has a good memory. Note to self: Fewer presents to the younger one come Christmas.

As for Cameron, he no longer thinks I have an office at McKale Center or get everywhere by airplane. It wasn’t long ago he’d wave to the passing planes saying goodbye to daddy because he was headed to work.

That all said, life is good as a father, perhaps the toughest job I’ll ever have. It’s always a work in progress with life’s thrills, loves and headaches because of the kids.

But as my father always told me, no one promised me a rose garden. But if you get one, try to make the most of it. Thankfully, I’ve got one. It just needs some fertilizer and water from time to time. The kids supply the former, and I’m in charge of the latter.

Happy Father’s Day to those lucky enough to be dads.

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Madrid Makes Quick Work of Torrez; Padilla beats Flores, too

The rematch turned out to be a repeat.

Benny “El Hijo” Madrid made quick work of of Joe “The Rottweiller” Torrez on Saturday night at AVA Theater at Casino del Sol.

Again – and it enabled Madrid to retain his Lightweight Title.

In May, Madrid defeated Torrez in Phoenix pretty much under the same circumstances – a first round victory. On Saturday (June 30) it was referee stoppage after Madrid dominated Torrez from the start.

“They said I got lucky,’’ Madrid said, referring to the first fight between the two. “I thought it could have gone either way; he did get a good kick in. But it is what it is. Thank God I didn’t get knocked out and I didn’t get hurt by the kick.”

This time, however, the quick start and quick finish was the key.

“I’m an aggressive fighter but I’m not sure why I didn’t come out that way in the last one,’’ said Madrid. “That was my plan, to get in there and try to hurt him and test him out. People don’t know I have a good standup (game).’’

It showed on Saturday night. What’s next? He’s not completely sure but he was told there were individuals from another organization to possibly set him up for another fight. What’s clear is he’s on the road to possible success. The Phoenix-area fighter is optimistic he won’t let anyone down.

“Tucson has put me on the map,’’ he said, in thanking the local crowd. “I’ve have got a dream. I’d be either dead or in jail (if not for his ability in the ring). I have beaten the odds and I’m here.’’

And ready to fight another day.

As is, Adam “A Bomb” Padilla, who defeated Carlos Flores in the first round. Padilla recovered from being a tough situation early, but was able to get the victory.

“He’s a tough guy,’’ Padilla said. “There are no sissies in this thing. Training at Fight Ready I knew what to do. I had the desire to get up – after getting in my mind to ‘Get Up, Get Up.’ It’s what you do. You don’t quit. He’s got to knock me out to win.’’

Flores didn’t and Padilla left to Globe, Ariz., the champion of the heavyweight title.

Click here for the Fight Night’s complete results.

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Ortiz Brings WFFMMA Back To AVA

Thom Ortiz and his WFFMM are back – where they belong … Casino Del Sol’s AVA Theater.

WFFMMA has been good to Tucson and Tucson has been
good for WFFMMA.

On June 30, 2012, Ortiz will host his seventh fight card at Casino Del Sol’s AVA Theater.

Ortiz, Tucson native, feels right at home at AVA. After all, isn’t home where the
heart is?

It sure is when it comes to the heart-pounding, fist-to-the-face of the WFFMMA.

“The marriage between PYT (Pasqua Yaqui Tribe) and and WFF has been perfect,’’ Ortiz said, who runs the WFFMMA.  “Without them and their support, we wouldn’t be on our ninth show. We just had our eighth show at Salt River Fields in Phoenix and the reason they let us in there was because of our success at AVA. They know our organization is professional and has quality

And plenty of action-packed excitement.

For most of the last few shows, the WFFMMA has grown in popularity with crowds of more than 2,000 each night. Last year, ESPY Award winner Anthony Robles was a guest.

AVA is also the perfect venue, where there is not a bad seat in the house.

“Without our fans we cannot have fights,’’ Ortiz said. “We always put on big productions and people like Rob Monroe, a cut-man for UFC,  have said to me is that the only show that he’s seen run better is Bellator. The quality branding of our show is up there. We
just hope to continue that type of work, all the while providing opportunities
for these fighters to get to the next level.’’

Ortiz said that is getting “real close’’ to happening.

Guys like Brendan Tierney, the champion at 170 pounds and Benny Madrid at 155 pounds.

“We have a couple of guys who are right on the cusp,’’ he said.

Ortiz will do whatever it takes to get them there. He also knows hard work and persistence
are keys to his and everyone’s success. Part of his inspiration are his fans
and loyal friends of WFFMMA.

“I love them and it is great seeing them,’’ he said.



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To the man I admired

Re-visiting my dad’s story from 21 years ago. Hope you like and remember him well. …

Obit Dads Day-1

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Rhonda Moretti’s Model’s Inc.

Here is one of the newer posters: Rhonda Moretti’s Model Inc.  — Bellezza Models

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Another Loss for Arizona – Territorial Cup Next

TUCSON – For three consecutive years, the University of Arizona football has taken no momentum into the annual Territorial Cup with Arizona State.

Make it a fourth.

At least Arizona is consistent. And this year, it’s been consistently bad as it heads into next week’s rivalry game with ASU at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona (2-8 overall, 1-7 in the Pac 12) is on a three-game losing streak, the same as heading into last year’s meeting with the Sun Devils.

“I challenged our team, and hopefully I didn’t have to challenge them too hard to know what next week means for us,” Arizona interim coach Tim Kish said in his postgame radio show after UA fell to Colorado 48-29.

Right now, it means the world.

“If you can’t get jacked up to play this weekend,” UA wide receiver David Douglas said, “you might as well not even play.”

When it comes to the in-state rivalry, a team that’s struggling to reach its season goals can point to one game and one game only – the Territorial Cup.

To read the rest of the story click here.

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Arizona has a lot of work to do before season opener

TUCSON – Humbled State?

Maybe a little. What’s clear is that it isn’t exactly utopia for Sean Miller and his Arizona Wildcats.
Tuesday night’s 60-51 was hardly a highlight tape of excitement or awe.

One of Arizona’s fans sitting up close and personal may have said it best: “you could grow old watching this team.”

Indeed. Why not add frustrated and confused?

“Our new guys have no idea of hard it is to win,” said Miller, when asked if after last week’s exhibition loss to Seattle Pacific helped get his team’s attention. “We all recognized that ‘oh, oh, we have to get better.’ It wasn’t the coach trying to convince the team. I really think our team knew and still does that we have to get a lot better.”

It looks like that’ll be a continuing theme.

For the second consecutive game, a Division II team came into McKale Center and gave Arizona fits. Humboldt State, a team picked to defend its California College Athletic Association regular season title, played even with Arizona throughout, eventually falling in the final 12 minutes. Miller said he’s thankful for Humboldt State and Seattle Pacific (a 69-68 winner against UA last week) in part because the games will make his team better.

To read the rest of the story visit here.

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Arizona reeling after fifth straight loss; it wasn’t pretty either

Now what?

That’s the question the University of Arizona football team – coaches, included – should be asking themselves.

It’s a question that could have been asked in any of the past couple of weeks as Arizona continued to reel from defeat after defeat after defeat after defeat.

Get the picture? It isn’t pretty.

That’s the case more so now after – yes, another defeat – as winless Oregon State defeated Arizona 37-27 on Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore. Figure that OSU snapped a six-game losing streak in winning for the first time this season. (1-4)

In short, Arizona coach Mike Stoops called it “a tough day.”

Arizona is now 1-5 overall (0-4 in the Pac-12 Conference) and on a 10-game losing streak to FBS schools. Just this week, Stoops called it a “big game in a lot of ways” and a “desperate situation” to win.

OSU played like its life depended on the win; Arizona didn’t.

Maybe Arizona’s last-ditch second half attempt at a comeback – 21 unanswered points to make it 30-27 midway through the fourth quarter – was just a tease, or a noble effort to save face and ease some pressure on all parties.  Figure this, however, Arizona has now been down at least 22 or more points in each of the last five games.

“It’s a 60-minute game and not a 30-minute game (and) the sooner we realize that the better off we will be,” Stoops said, responding to Arizona’s late comeback.

One thing is certain: Arizona can no longer make the excuse of the toughest part of the schedule being gone after losing the first four games against three top 10 teams (Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon) and a blue-blood program in Southern California. On Saturday, Arizona went into the game facing a Beavers team that started the season losing to Sacramento State. Arizona went into the game a two-point favorite.

To read more visit



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