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The Wildcats need to keep winning if they hope to reach March Madness.
The Wildcats are desperately looking to salvage their season and a win over the Bears would be huge.
Arizona returns home needing a big victory over the Cougars on Thursday night.
The Wildcats will be wearing gray for the first time ever this season.
Arizona squares off with their Pac-12 rivals at 9 p.m. this evening.
A recap of UA and ASU's basketball seasons thus far, with a preview for Saturday's showdown.
How have the 9-4 Wildcats performed this season? We break it down.
We have a breakdown, the TV schedule, the projected starting lineup and more.
Where are the Wildcats projected to play in March Madness?
Despite taking the loss to Florida earlier in the week, many felt it was the best game the Arizona Wildcats had played this season. After a quick turnaround on Saturday afternoon against a quality opponent in the Clemson Tigers, UA stepped up once again and continued to improve by leaps and bounds. The Wildcats led for all 40 minutes and came away with a 63-47 victory.
It was a balanced scoring effort from Arizona against Clemson and the team was led by freshman Nick Johnson, who scored 14 points, many of which came with highlight reel dunks. Solomon Hill continued to be the best player on the team, going for 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Kyle Fogg played stellar defense throughout the game and ended with eight points, four assists and seven rebounds.
Josiah Turner, who was playing for the first time in seven days after serving a one game suspension, was sloppy at times, but he continues to improve on a game-by-game basis. The young point guard scored six points, dished out two assists and brought down five rebounds. Angelo Chol had the best game of his career, and while his stat line looks rather pedestrian (5 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block in 13 minutes), it seemed like the lanky freshman always had an answer when his team called upon him.
Clemson shot 19-for-60 from the field, 4-for-19 from behind the arc, and only shot five free throws. Of their 47 points, Andre Young scored 19, while big man Devin Booker scored nine points and brought in five rebounds.
This was a big game for Arizona and they responded with their best team effort of the year. With finals week looming, the team will get a chance to recover somewhat before hitting the road once again to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Seattle.
The Arizona Wildcats entered this season with four heralded freshmen, all of whom expected to have long, prolific careers with the program. Just two months into their careers in Tucson, one has been kicked off the team (Sidiki Johnson) and another has been suspended twice. From the official release:
TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona men's basketball player Josiah Turner has been suspended for Wednesday's game at Florida due to violations of team policy.
"Josiah will not play in Wednesday's game at Florida," said UA head coach Sean Miller. "We will meet with him when we return to campus to discuss what his obligations to this program are moving forward."
A 6-foot-3 freshman guard from Sacramento, Calif., Turner has appeared in seven games for the Wildcats this season.
The Wildcats (6-2) return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 12th-ranked Florida. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and can be seen nationally on ESPN.
Not good at all. And this comes just a few hours after coach Miller praised Turner in his weekly press conference for making big strides both on and off the court. There has been no talk of suspending Turner for anything more than the UF game, but to say the freshman point guard is on thin ice would be an understatement.
For more on UA Hoops, check out Arizona Desert Swarm.
After being suspended indefinitely last week for violating the team code of conduct, Sidiki Johnson has officially left the program. A freshman out of the Bronx, Johnson had struggled comprehending the team concept at the college level and his schoolwork suffered as well. Coach Miller gave him every chance to reclaim his spot on the roster, but the 19-year old packed his bags on Saturday evening and will not return to Tucson.
"University of Arizona head men's basketball coach Sean Miller today announced that Sidiki Johnson has left the program with the intention of transferring to another institution.
Johnson, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound, freshman forward from the Bronx, N.Y., has made three appearances for the Wildcats this season.
The Wildcats (6-2) return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 10th-ranked Florida. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and can be seen nationally on ESPN."
Going forward, the departure of Johnson gives Miller and the coaching staff some flexibility on the recruiting trail. With two forwards (Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett), a center (Kaleb Tarczewski) and just one guard (Gabe York) committed for 2012, expect to hear the name Amedeo Della Valle a lot in the coming months. The 6'4 combo guard recently came over from Europe and has starred at basketball powerhouse Findlay Prep alongside Ashley.
Best of luck wherever you go, Sidiki. We hardly knew 'ye, but this move is probably for the best.
For more on the Wildcats, check out AZ Desert Swarm.
With a big game against Florida looming, the Wildcats will look to win convincingly against the struggling Lumberjacks.
The Arizona Wildcats were at a crossroads on Tuesday night. After two straight losses and the roughest stretch of schedule approaching, a road win over the New Mexico St. Aggies was critical. It wasn't pretty for the full 40 minutes, but UA was able to come away with a 83-76 victory.
Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson, two of the most heralded freshmen to ever arrive in Tucson, had huge games. Turner had the best performance of his career and scored 12 points, brought in six rebonds and dished out four assists. He fouled out and committed four turnovers, but the Wildcats were a completely different team when the point guard was on the floor. Nick Johnson scored 19 points in the first start of his career and threw down multiple highlight reel dunks in front of a sellout crowd in Las Cruces.
Jesse Perry continued to be a double-double threat and ended the night with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Solomon Hill also had the best game of his season, contributing with 12 points, six rebounds and a team-high seven assists. Hill is undoubtably the best player on the team and the strides he has made since last season are remarkable.
New Mexico State was led by Wendell McKines, who scored 28 points in 31 minutes of play. Christian Kabongo recorded 15 points, while Hamidu Rahman dominated the paint with 13 points and eight rebounds.
This Wildcat team remains a work in progress, but this is a huge win for the program. UA will return home and take on the NAU Lumberjacks on Saturday afternoon.
For more on the Wildcats win, visit AZ Desert Swarm.
After a half of play, the Arizona Wildcats lead the New Mexico St. Aggies by a score of 44-40. The first twenty minutes featured plenty of 3's, high-flying dunks, and (maybe) three defensive stops. UA seemingly outplayed NMSU for most of the half, but the team was unable to pull away and will have a fight on their hands in the second half.
Nick Johnson, who is made the first start of his career, leads the Wildcats with nine points and Solomon Hill has done a little bit of everything with eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Hill picked up his third foul late in the half. Jesse Perry has been a force in the paint, scoring seven points and bringing in four rebounds. And in news no one saw coming, Kyryl Natyazhko hit two jumpers coming off the bench.
New Mexico State raced out to an early 10-2 lead, but they faltered once the bench came in. Wendell McKines leads the way with 13 points and has his three 3's thus far. The Aggies' two big men, Hamidu Rahman and Tshilidzi Nephawe, have dominated in the paint and combined for 13 points and eight rebounds.
Arizona is clearly the more talented team, but it will come down to which team digs in on defense for the second half. If the Wildcats don't make adjustments, they could fall for the third consecutive time.
For more on the game, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.
The Wildcats are looking to end their losing streak and are changing the lineup around. We have the projected starters, breakdown of the game, and more.
The Arizona Wildcats are no longer undefeated, but are still within the top 25, and now must focus their efforts on the San Diego State Aztecs to retain their spot within the top teams in college basketball.
The No. 23 Wildcats will be out for some redemption as they host SDSU at the McKale Center, a team that beat them in their last meeting in 2009.
Arizona (4-1) opened the year with four quality wins, but were shocked by the then-unranked Mississippi State in Friday's championship game of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats fell 8 spots in the rankings because of it. Arizona was pressed for time during the tournament, explained by head coach Steve Miller:
"We've seen a lot in an early month and I'm very happy with four wins," coach Sean Miller said. "We played 40 minutes against zone and pressure against St. John's and then you go from a 9 o'clock start to playing the next day against a very different style with Mississippi State's size, with only a shootaround to prepare. But we didn't play well on offense or defense for sure."
Now well rested and back at home, the Wildcats will be ready for what the Aztecs have to throw at them.
This will be the 27th meeting all-time between these two, though Arizona holds a 20-6 lead in the series with San Diego State (5-1). But the Aztecs beat the Wildcats 63-46 at home Dec. 12, 2009. SDSU has lost seven straight against Arizona in Tucson, where they haven't won since Dec. 9, 1971. Hopefully the Wildcats can hold court this Wednesday night.
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius: 113]
TV: FS Arizona Plus (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)
For more on the Wildcats, head over to Arizona Desert Swarm.
According to multiple reports on Monday night, Sean Miller has suspended freshman forward Sidiki Johnson indefinitely for a violation of team rules. No further details were given by the university nor was a suspension length announced, but it is safe to say Johnson will not be eligible for Wednesday's crucial game against San Diego State.
Johnson, who was among the first players to commit to UA once Miller took over the program, has seldom played this season and has drawn the ire of his coaching staff for selfish play on the court. He has played a total of seven minutes and only saw playing time in three of Arizona's first five games.
With a stellar recruiting class of post players coming to Arizona next season, Johnson's future with the program has to be in doubt at this time. Hopefully Sidiki can work through his issues with the coaching staff and his teammates and return to the court sooner rather than later.
The loss to Mississippi State on Friday evening was frustrating for multiple reasons. While losing a tournament championship game is never fun, it was the way the Arizona Wildcats lost that brought concern for the immediate future. UA was undersized and overmatched in the paint against the Bulldogs and they allowed their bigs to dominate on both ends of the floor.
Jesse Perry is not the problem. A senior, he has done everything to prepare himself both mentally and physically for the season. Solomon Hill has done a nice job rebounding in recent weeks, but his natural position is on the wing and is unable to defend some of the larger post players.
Other than these two, there isn't much to work with. Kyryl Natyazhko is slowly showing signs of improvements, but the junior is still miles away from where he has the potential to be. Angelo Chol has shown flashes of brilliance, but for a player who did not start playing basketball until the age of 14, he will need more time to adjust to the college game. And while Sidiki Johnson may be a good player one day, he has a long way to go before seeing much playing time.
Arizona has the No. 1 ranked recruiting class for 2012 and three of their four committed players -- Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett -- all project to be post players of some sort in college. The significance of the size and strength they will bring with them to Tucson cannot be overstated; the program is desperate for talented big men and the three will put an end to the Wildcats being dominated by larger teams.
In the meantime, Sean Miller and the coaching staff are going to have to figure out a new plan whenever the Wildcats face a team with talented post players. Simply running different bodies at the opposition did not work well last night and likely won't work in a majority of the games. Does Arizona go small and attempt to outdo their opponents with athleticism? Do they move into a zone on occasion? We'll likely know the answers to these questions soon.
The Arizona Wildcats hung in with the Mississippi State Bulldogs for 30 minutes of play. UA was finding open shots, rebounding relatively well and avoided the silly turnovers that had plagued them throughout most of the year. And despite never claiming a lead, you still had the sense the team was going to rally.
Then the final ten minutes of the game happened. Arizona fell apart, while Mississippi State took off.
With 10:01 left to play, Kevin Parrom hit a 3 from the corner to make the score 52-48. After that shot, the Wildcats went 2-for-11 from the field the rest of the way. They turned the ball over four times, while the Bulldogs started hitting shots, attacking the boards and running down the clock.
After hitting 14 threes on Thursday, Arizona made six this evening. After making 19 free throws against St. John's, they made five against the Bulldogs.
Solomon Hill (12 points, nine rebounds) and Jesse Perry (11 points, 10 rebounds) did their part, but a majority of the guards and wings did not find their shot against a stout MSST defense. Jordin Mayes hit a few shots early, but foul trouble kept him off the court for most of the second half.
Mississippi State was led by power forward Arnett Moultrie. The big man could not be stopped in the paint and ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs used a balanced scoring attack to their advantage, having seven players score six or more points.
This is a tough loss for the Wildcats, but they will continue to improve. Tonight the team learned that living and dying from behind the arc is not a recipe for success. Sean Miller and the coaching staff will make adjustments. We'll be fine.
The Arizona Wildcats and Mississippi State Bulldogs will square off in Madison Square Garden on Friday evening to play for the 2K Sports Classic championship game. UA battled and made the finale by knocking off St. John's, while Mississippi State dominated Texas A&M.
We'll get to the breakdown of the players and matchups in a moment, but there is one aspect of the game that has to be very concerning for both coaches: conditioning. Each side will be less then 24 hours removed from their last game and fatigue could become an issue.
While both programs like to use depth to their advantage, the season is still very young and none of the players are in shape like they will be once conference play rolls around. If it's a closely contested slugfest throughout the game, expect sloppy play and a lot of turnovers.
The Bulldogs' leading scorer is Dee Bost. The senior guard has reached double-digits in points in each of their first four games and has eclipsed the 20-point mark twice. For being undersized, he has done a solid job rebounding the ball and pushing tempo for MSST. In addition, freshman point-forward Rodney Hood has played very well thus far and could create matchup problems for Arizona.
Mississippi State's biggest advantage on Friday evening will be their size. The Wildcats lack a true presence in the paint and MSST features two of the better post players in the SEC. 6'11, 230 pound power forward Arnett Moultrie is averaging a double-double and is one of the more athletic big men in the nation. His play has been inconsistent at times, but he could dominate UA.
Rinardo Sidney is the other big man for the Bulldogs. Despite dropping 30 pounds in the offseason, Sidney still clocks in at an intimidating 275 pounds. He's a big boy, folks. Because of his level on conditioning he has been unable to put up any eye-popping stats, though he can be a load in the paint.
With the potential matchup problems looming for Arizona, expect to see a lot of Kyryl Natyazhko, Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson this evening. After seldom playing against St. John's, these three will play a big role if the Wildcats hope to win.
Matchup To Watch: Kyle Fogg vs. Dee Bost
TV Coverage: The game is set for tipoff at 6:30 in Madison Square Garden, which is 4:30 in Tucson. ESPN2 will carry the game live.
Final Predictions: I think the Wildcats fall for the first time today. The Bulldogs have an intimidating post presence and they will dominate the rebounding game with their size and athleticism. Arizona will hang in throughout most of the game, but in the end, our lack of quality big men do us in. Mississippi State wins 68-62.
In what was one of the more entertaining games in recent history, Arizona saw five players score double-digits and played a total of 11 on the night. Solomon Hill led the way 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Jesse Perry came up a rebound short of a double-double.
Kyle Fogg and Nick Johnson each hit three 3's and Josiah Turner played his best game as a Wildcat. Playing just a few minutes away from his childhood home -- and the area he sustained a gunshot wound just two months ago -- Kevin Parrom chipped in for six points, four rebounds and three assists against the Johnnies.
St. John's took an eight point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Instead of crumbling under the bright lights, Arizona dug in on defense and refused to lose. They converted all six of their free throws in the closing minutes.
The Red Storm battled for most of the game, but their inexperience and a lack of depth would eventually cost them the game. Steve Lavin played just seven players, and leading scorer Nurideen Lindsey fouled out late in the contest. D'angelo Harrison chipped in for 16 points, while Phil Greene and Moe Harkless combined for 25 off the bench.
In our game preview, we said whichever team gets better play out of their power forward would win. Jesse Perry scored 11 points -- seven in the second half -- hauled in nine rebounds and had three blocks. God'sgift Achiuwa scored four points and brought down only four rebounds. Perry won the battle and his team won because of it.
UA will face Mississippi State on Friday night in the 2K Sports Classic championship game. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in New York, which is 4:30 in Tucson. The game will be shown on ESPN2.
Arizona will be challenged by St. John's this evening. We have a breakdown of the game, TV coverage, a few predictions and more...
The Wildcats welcome in Ball State for a Sunday afternoon matchup. We have the game breakdown, TV listings and more inside...
The Arizona Wildcats have faced two quality mid-major opponents thus far and snuck away with a victory in both games. It certainly wasn't pretty, but at the end of the day, a win is a win.
Fortunately for Sean Miller and UA, Kevin Parrom could return to practice as early as this upcoming weekend. The junior wing has been participating in conditioning drills for the last week and is able to partake in shoot around with his teammates, though is yet to practice with any kind of contact. That could change in the very near future, as Miller explained to the Arizona Daily Star:
"I can only hope Kevin, with all the bad things that have happened to him, can return to form," Miller said. "I think there's maybe a chance he can start practicing here this weekend. I do think he makes us a better team especially if he can regain his form.
"But we all know, when you don't practice for seven weeks and you have a gunshot wound, you're probably not going to start off where everyone wants you to."
Kevin also tweeted this on Thursday morning:
Workout ... Tryna get back to 100% ... Cant wait to practice
Should Parrom be able to return this weekend, it keeps the possibility of the New York native playing in Madison Square Garden on November 17th against St. John's. That would certainly be quite the story should Parrom suit up next week, especially with it coming just two months after sustaining the gunshot to his left leg.
While everyone knows of Parrom's ability and talent on the court, Arizona fans need to show patience with him. He is coming off a very serious injury and it will take some time for him to get back into the flow of the game. Once he does, though, Miller could see his young team takeoff to the next level.
For more on the Wildcats, check out Arizona Desert Swarm.
For the second game in a row, the Arizona Wildcats needed a big second half in order to get past a quality mid-major opponent. Thanks to huge performances from Jordin Mayes and Jesse Perry, UA came away with a 67-59 victory over the Duquesne Dukes.
Mayes, for the second night in a row, stole the show in the second half and hit three huge three-pointers that changed the complexity of the game. He finished the evening with a career-high 19 points and will likely continue to start over Josiah Turner, who is still learning the college game.
Perry recorded his second double-double in as many games and continues to be a solid force in the paint for the Wildcats. Sean Miller praised Perry in his post-game interview and called the strides he has made since joining the team last season "remarkable".
Angelo Chol did not start the game, though he played in favor of Kyryl Natyazhko throughout most of the contest. Chol finished with six points and eight rebounds and was able to disrupt multiple shots around the basket. He may not start in the next game, but one has to believe he will be the starting center sooner rather than later.
Arizona trailed 32-30 at halftime and the two teams were evenly matchup until midway through the second half. Brendon Lavender ignited a rally with a three pointer and the 'Cats did not look back after that. The game certainly wasn't pretty for all 40 minutes, but this team continues to improve and the potential is there.
The next time Arizona will take the court will be Sunday afternoon against Ball State. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. from Tucson.
Head coach Ron Everhart has led his program to a record of 83-75 since taking over in 2006. The Dukes lost their two leading scores from last year, a team that was on the fringe of an NCAA Tournament appearance throughout most of the season. Despite falling short of a bid, they managed to enter the CBI Tournament and win their first game over Montana before falling to Oregon by two points.
Of the players returning, B.J. Monteiro is back and ready for his final year with the Dukes. T.J. McConnell averaged 10.8 points-per-game last season, converted 40.8% of this three-point shots and was among the nation's best in stealing the ball. Senior guard Sean Johnson will see a lot of playing time on Wednesday night as well.
Without having any footage from 2011 to go off of, Duquesne, on paper, looks to be a very solid team capable of pulling the upset. They press throughout the entire game and will force Josiah Turner and Jordin Mayes to make smart decisions with the ball. The Dukes lack size in the paint, but honestly, Arizona does too at this point in the season.
Matchup To Watch: T.J. McConnell vs. Kyle Fogg
Lineup Changes Coming? Arizona started Monday's game they way they had for both exhibition games (Turner, Fogg, Hill, Perry, Natyazhko), but as Turner and Natyazhko struggled, Jordin Mayes and Angelo Chol solidified themselves in the second half. They may not start, but look for both players to see playing time early and often on Wednesday night.
TV: The game will be aired live on ESPN2.
Online Stream: ESPN3.com
Final Score Prediction: Arizona 81 - Duquesne 70
Arizona needs to be careful. This is a very talented and experience Duquesne team and they are capable of scoring a lot of points. If UA continues to be careless with the basketball, an upset could be on the way in Tucson.
This all being said, I have to believe Sean Miller will have the Wildcats more than ready for the hectic style of play the Dukes will bring. Expect an outcome similar to what transpired on Monday, with UA pulling away midway through the second half.
Senior guard Kyle Fogg led the team with 16 points and Jesse Perry earned the first double-double of his career with 14 points and 10 rebounds. In his first game as a Wildcat, freshman Nick Johnson converted eight free throws in route to a 14 point, six assist game.
Arizona started off slowly and struggled with turnovers until finding their grove late in the first half. With a lead of just 32-30 at the half, the 'Cats scored 41 in the second half and gradually pulled away. The final score was closer than the game actually was; UA led by 20 points with just over four minutes to go and late free throws and three pointers inched the Crusaders back into the game during the final seconds.
While Perry, Fogg and Johnson led in scoring, it was the second half performances of Jordin Mayes and freshman Angelo Chol that stole the show. Mayes converted two three-point shots and finished the game with eight points after failing to score in the first 20 minutes. Chol's stat line is not overly impressive -- 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 fouls in 23 minutes -- but his defensive impact was felt all game with four steals and solid rotations around the basket.
With Kyryl Natyazhko battling foul trouble and the inability to be an effective offensive player, Chol could be the starting center sooner rather than later. And while some believe freshman Sidiki Johnson should continue to get chances to contribute, Sean Miller had a very telling quote after the game.
"Hopefully he can work to get better," said Miller, "but I'm not counting on it."
Those are big words from a head coach and he has made it known he was not happy with Johnson's progress thus far. UA can only hope Sidiki takes this criticism and uses it to make great strides in practice the next few weeks. The team needs his size and strength in the paint.
There were rough patches for Arizona throughout the game, but the season opener should be viewed as a success.
Next Up: The Wildcats have just one day of practice before returning to McKale to face the Duquesne Dukes. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Basketball season is back in Tucson. We have a breakdown of the Crusaders, a key matchup to watch for, the TV viewing info and a final prediction.
Nearly six weeks have passed since Kevin Parrom suffered two gunshot wounds in his leg. While some immediately wondered if the junior wing would miss his entire season, Sean Miller met with the media today and delivered a promising update on his recovery.
"Kevin is working out every day now," said Miller, "He has additional movement that he didn't have two weeks ago. He has almost his entire feeling back and he's made a lot of progress."
The head coach also suggested Parrom could return to practice sometime in the next week and did not rule out playing in Madison Square Garden on November 17 against St. Johns, which is just miles away from Parrom's childhood home in the Bronx. This would be a huge boost for UA in their one and only non-conference tournament of the season.
The update comes as great news for the Arizona Wildcats and it cannot be overstated how much this team will miss Parrom as he continues to recover. His health is obviously the primary concern for the team, but the sooner he gets back on the floor, the better.
The Arizona Wildcats are in a bit of an identity crisis with just a few days remaining before the regular season tips off.
Last season, when the team needed a basket, they turned to Derrick Williams or Lamont 'MoMo' Jones. Neither plays for the Wildcats anymore. And while he was more of a sixth or seventh man off the bench, Jamelle Horne played a big role in his senior season and his experience will be missed in 2011.
In two exhibition games against Seattle Pacific and Humboldt State, the Wildcats outscored their opponents by a combined score of 128-120. That's not good.
All things considered, defense is not the problem for the Wildcats. Kyle Fogg is among the best defenders in the country as a senior and both of the freshmen guards, Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson, have earned rave reviews from the coaching staff. Defending the basket and the paint is a work in progress, but that is something more mentally demanding than it is physical. That aspect of the defense should improve as the year progresses.
The issue for Arizona will be scoring the ball. Whether it be in transition, in the half-court set, or at the free throw line, the team is lacking production right now. And turnovers are being committed at an extremely high and worrisome rate.
This brings us to Brendon Lavender.
Despite his name being rumored among transfer candidates seemingly year after year, Lavender has stayed with the program through thick and thin. Now a senior, it is his time to step up while Kevin Parrom continues to recover from a gun shot wound.
Sean Miller has publicly stated that Lavender is the team's best and purest shooter. His production and effort in practice has always been consistent, but translating it to the court once the bright lights come on has always been an issue. The team needs this to change in 2011.
Albeit against a Division-II opponent, Lavender's three-pointer against Humboldt State rallied the team in the first half and led to a 14-4 run that would give the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish. In the Red-Blue Game, he was among the team leaders in points scored and was lethal from behind the arc.
Without Parrom in the lineup, Arizona is not sharp-shooting team. Lavender changes that whenever he's on the floor. For that reason alone, he needs to play more minutes once the regular season rolls around. Maybe he misses a few shots, but the team needs one of their senior leaders to step up if they hope to make a deep run this season.
What player better than the best shooter on the team?
After an embarrassing loss to Seattle Pacific University just five days ago, the Arizona Wildcats got back on track against the Humboldt State Lumberjacks on Tuesday night with a 60-51 victory.
UA fans had reason for concern throughout most of the first half. The team trailed 14-4 just five minutes into the game and had more turnovers than shots made until the final moments of the half.
Arizona was led by Jesse Perry, who finished the night with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Kyryl Natyazhko had one of his best games as a Wildcat, scoring five points and hauling in 12 rebounds, which is a huge improvement over his first exhibition game. Angelo Chol had a big second half, scoring five consecutive points and imposing his will with multiple blocks around the basket.
While the improvement of the post players is something to build off of, there were quite a few worrying aspects of the game as well.
Arizona committed 20 turnovers and shot 56-percent from the free throw line, going just 20-for-36. And while improvements were definitely made around the basket on the defensive end, the Lumberjacks were still able to come away with multiple uncontested layups throughout the game.
The Wildcats now have five days of practice before the regular season starts on November 7. The effort on Tuesday night was a big improvement over the loss last week, but this team still has a long way to go.
It's time to work your magic, Sean Miller. The rest of these games count.
After falling to Seattle Pacific University last week, the Arizona Wildcats will look to get back on track against the Humboldt State Lumberjacks on Thursday night.
With the regular season opener just six days away, Sean Miller and the 'Cats will use the game as another opportunity to gel with each other on the court. It was apparent this team lacked chemistry in their first exhibition matchup and another game against a quality D-II opponent should benefit Arizona greatly.
The game will tipoff at 6:30 p.m. in Tucson. It will be televised live on Fox Sports Net Arizona. The game will also be available for purchase online at ArizonaAthletics.com.
UA played so poorly against SPU that it is difficult to highlight certain areas the most improvement, but there are two aspects of tonight's game that I personally will be watching for.
The first -- and probably the most obvious one to Wildcat fans everywhere -- is the post play. More specifically, redounding and protecting the basket. Arizona was out rebounded by a much smaller Seattle Pacific team last week and they imposed their will around the basket. That cannot happen if Arizona hopes to win this season.
The second aspect of the game that is most intriguing has to be the play of the seniors. Kyle Fogg was nonexistent in the last game and finished with three points. Jesse Perry started well, but had no impact on the game in the second half. Brendon Lavender hit a few shots early and then became timid on the court. Arizona needs their seniors to play well this season and there is no better time than tonight for these three to get back on track.
A few months after winning the final Pac-10 title, the Arizona Wildcats were predicted to finish third in the conference this season. The UCLA Bruins were picked to win the conference and the Cal Golden Bears came in second place. Here is a complete list of the predicted standings, with the first place votes coming in parentheses:
1. UCLA 421 (14)
2. California 405 (13)
3. Arizona 404 (11)
4. Washington 355
5. Oregon 282
6. Stanford 255
7. USC 194
8. Oregon State 188
9. Arizona State 148
10. Colorado 119
10. Washington State 119
12. Utah 74
As one can see, it was a very close race at the top. Just a few votes separated the top-four teams and my guess is the actual conference race will be just as close in January, February and March.
In my opinion, this is a four team race, with the Washington Huskies joining the other three teams at the top of the standings. UCLA, Cal, Arizona and Washington all have glaring weaknesses on their roster, though any of them could win the Pac-12 this year. And of course there is always the surprise team that no one sees coming until late in the season.
As we inch closer and closer to the start of the NCAA basketball season, the AP and USA Today preseason rankings continue to shift ever so slightly as we head to the opening tip of the 2011-12 season, though the Arizona Wildcats are representing the West and holding strong.
North Carolina and Kentucky are the consensus No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation in both the AP and USA Today polls, with the Tar Heels getting a staggering amount of first place votes in both. In fact, the top seven schools mirror each other in both of the polls, with Ohio State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Duke, and Vanderbilt rounding out the top seven.
The Arizona Wildcats remain the top-seeded school from the West, sitting strong at No. 16 in both polls. The UCLA Bruins sit next at No. 17 in the AP and 20th in the USA Today, followed by Gonzaga (No. 23) and the Cal Golden Bears (No. 24). These four are the only Western schools in the preseason top 25.
For more on Arizona Wildcat basketball, head over to Arizona Desert Swarm to get in on the action.
Arizona lost an exhibition game for the first time since 1984 on Thursday night, falling to Seattle Pacific University by a score of 69-68. The Wildcats trailed by double digits throughout most of the game and mounted a late rally that would eventually fall short.
The ultimate downfall for 'Zona came in the paint. Kyryl Natyazhko and Sidiki Johnson combined for two rebounds in forty minutes of play. SPU could not be stopped around the basket and came away with multiple uncontested layups in the final minutes of the contest.
UA committed 12 turnovers, missed countless layups, and shot just 66.6-percent from the free throw line. And while the ratio seems better now than it was throughout the game, this team needs to shoot better than 6-for-17 from behind the arc if they hope to make a run in conference play and the NCAA tournament.
Technically, this game does not mean a thing in the grand scheme of things. The loss to a Division-II opponent will hurt for a few days, but no one will remember this in a week or so outside of Tucson. Seattle Pacific is a very good team and they will compete for a national championship this season.
The loss still stings, though.
Sean Miller was visibly frustrated in his post-game press conference and went as far to say this was not a very good team right now. This may be true, but one must remember Arizona has had just 11 days of practice thus far. Be upset with the loss, but do not go jumping off any bridges.
The Wildcats will be fine.
In the grand scheme of everything, this game means literally nothing to Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats in terms of their fate in March Madness and Pac-12 play. Arizona could lose and it wouldn't mean a thing to their record.
OK, a loss would be terrible, but it's probably not going to happen. The Wildcats should dominate Seattle Pacific University on Thursday night.
There are some very important things to watch for that may give us a glimpse of the team going forward. Here are a few of them:
1. Point Guard Play
Josiah Turner looked like a true freshman with only a few practices under his belt in the Red-Blue Game. Jordin Mayes looked like the player who earned himself a lot of playing time last season, but his conditioning kept him from playing more than a few minutes at a time.
Will Turner be able to run the point for a majority of the game? Will Mayes' conditioning allow him to see more playing time, both at the point guard and shooting guard positions? Sean Miller has emphasized how important solid guard play will be for this team to succeed and both of these players have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
2. Who Plays Center
By all accounts, either Kyryl Natyazhko or freshman Sidiki Johnson will play center for most of the game. Who plays better tonight and who avoids foul trouble will be a big key going forward at the position.
Regardless of what happens on Thursday, Johnson is going to be a good player regardless. He has the skills, strength and ability to become one of the best big men in the conference one day once he matures and develops. The exhibition game is solely for Natyazhko; he has always had the size and scoring ability to be one of the better players in the conference, but consistency and aggression has always been an issue.
Is this the year Kyryl finally takes the big step forward and reaches his potential? Or will his play continue to frustrate Arizona fans on a nightly basis? That journey begins tonight.
Brendon Lavender looked like a new player in the Red-Blue Game. A senior, this is Lavender's final chance to make something of his basketball career, something that never quite took off like many thought it would. His jump shot looked great and he his defense was top-notch throughout the game.
Does Lavender become a lethal scoring threat off the bench for the Wildcats this year? We may not know the answer for the rest of the season after Thursday night, but a big game from Lavender may pave the way to a lot of playing time in November.
The game against Seattle Pacific University will tip at 6:30 p.m. from the McKale Center in Tucson.
For more on Arizona hoops, check out AZ Desert Swarm.
Fresh off an incredible Red-Blue Game this past weekend, Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats are preparing for their first exhibition game of the season on Thursday night. The head coach recently met with the media and discussed the starting lineup, the importance of playing two exhibition games this season and who he viewed as the best teams in the Pac-12.
According to Miller, three players have solidified their spots as starters to begin the season: Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, seeing as these three are Arizona's most proven players and saw a lot of playing time last year.
"With their experience, how they play, how they've worked really since the first day of school, it's very difficult to unseat those three guys," said Miller at his meeting with the media on Tuesday.
This leaves the point guard and center positions open once the season begins. At point guard, it is a two-man race between freshman Josiah Turner and sophomore Jordin Mayes.
While it is in my belief Turner will end up being the starting point guard more times than not throughout the season, Mayes could have the early advantage because of his experience running the offense. At the same time, Mayes is slightly behind in terms of conditioning after undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot over the summer. That may be enough to give Turner the early nod on Thursday night against Seattle Pacific.
The other open spot is the center position. Kyryl Natyazhko was the favorite to land the job heading into practice two weeks ago, but freshman Sidiki Johnson has opened the eyes of many with his strong play in practice and in the Red-Blue Game. No one is quite sure how either will perform once the regular season begins, but expect both to play a lot of minutes this week, regardless of who makes the start.
It is my belief Natyazhko will make the majority of the starts this year, but it is a close race at this point.
Miller also hinted at Angelo Chol potentially playing center down the road, but he wants the freshman to learn just one position and improve defensively before playing him in the post on a frequent basis.
"We want him to get in at the four and make him feel as comfortable as we can," Miller said. "But I can see during the course of the season where he could certainly contribute at the five."
Thursday's exhibition game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff in Tucson.
With a sellout crowd of 14,000 fans in attendance, Arizona's Red-Blue Game was a special event on Saturday afternoon. Here is a recap of the festivities and the scrimmage:
Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Derrick Williams and Jason Terry were all honored, among others. Every former Wildcat received a huge ovation, with the roof nearly coming off as Williams was announced.
Once the NBA stars came onto the floor, the 2011-2012 Arizona Wildcats were announced. Here is a video of the introductions:
Once the players were announced and warmed up, five players entered the dunk contest: Brendon Lavender, Angelo Chol, Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson. Despite some pretty sweet dunks from every participant, it was the freshman Nick Johnson who won the contest. He earned the nickname "Bunnies" in high school and UA fans quickly learned why on Saturday.
Arizona Basketball Never Stops:
SB Nation Arizona said on Friday that UA would be receiving a court-size banner at the Red-Blue Game. The school unveiled it and it was awesome. Only a few programs in the nation have a similar banner.
Here is my -- ahem -- amateur photograph of the sign:
And no, that is not Lute Olson sitting in front of me.
Budinger and Williams Honored:
Chase Budinger and Derrick Williams both received framed jerseys and their names were put into the Ring of Honor, which sits above the court.
Jason Terry Honored:
At halftime, Jason Terry, who was a member of Arizona's 1997 championship team, was honored for winning a championship with the Dallas Mavericks. He was accompanied with his family and wore an awesome half white/half blue jersey with his famous knee-high socks.
Game Recap and Impressions:
Blue Team starters: Nick Johnson, Jordin Mayes, Solomon Hill, Sidiki Johnson, Angelo Chol.
Josiah Turner looked like how most would expect a true freshman point guard to look. His passes were crisp and his ability to push the offense was impressive. His jump shot will continue to improve over the year, as will his decision making. He's going to be a good one, folks.
One of the most impressive performances came from Nick Johnson. He started off the game with a bang with an incredible one hand put-back dunk and hit three 3-pointers on the day. His defense was as good as advertised and he even ran point guard for a while. He may not start to begin the season, but Johnson is going to be an absolute stud.
Angelo Chol hit a few jumpers and looked solid around the basket. His presence was felt on the defensive end with multiple blocks, though he will need to bulk up to stop larger post players.
Sidiki Johnson was very impressive and was the best post player on the floor. He ended with a team-high 18 points and did not miss a single one of his seven shots. Not known for his shooting in high school, the big man even hit two 3-pointers. Conditioning, avoiding foul trouble and free throws are still something to improve on, but Johnson surpassed all expectations today.
As the only returning point guard on the roster, Jordin Mayes looked like the player that earned him a ton of playing time last season. He pushed the offensive tempo, hit open teammates with a pass and made quite a few jumpers. He showed no signs of struggle with his surgically repaired foot.
Kyle Fogg was his usual self at the Red-Blue Game; he scored the ball, played stellar defense and delivered smooth passes time and time again. Brendon Lavender was on fire from behind the arc and really looks like a man determined to have a big senior season. Consistency has always been the issue with B-Lav, but his jump shot looked smooth on Saturday.
Solomon Hill continued to impress on both sides of the ball and is in the best shape of his career. He will be counted on throughout the season to be a leader and looks primed to have a breakout year in 2011-2012.
A player who many feel is the key to this season, Kyryl Natyazhko finished with 13 points, five rebounds and about three million fouls. If he can avoid foul trouble, he appears to be Arizona's starting center to begin the season. Practice and scrimmages have never been an issue for Natyazhko, though.
Jesse Perry was excellent on both sides of the floor and will likely lead the team in rebounding. He scored around the basket, with his midrange jumper and hit three 3-pointers. For a player who was pretty unheralded in junior college, Perry looks primed for a big senior season.
Finally, Kevin Parrom was dressed out, but he did not participate in the scrimmage. Sean Miller suggested after the game that Parrom would not redshirt this year, but he would miss at least the first few games of the season.
It was an incredible atmosphere today and the many recruits in attendance had to come away very impressed. The team played well and UA fans have to be excited for the season to begin.
Arizona will play two exhibition games before starting the regular season on November 7. The first exhibition game will be played Thursday night at 6 p.m. against Seattle Pacific University.
Arizona basketball is back. Finally.
After the incredible run in March Madness last season, the team is ready to get the year started. Will Jesse Perry, Kyle Fogg and Brendon Lavender step up as seniors? Will the "Fantastic Four" -- otherwise known as Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson, Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson -- have a major impact as so many expect them to do?
UA fans may not get the answer to all of these questions on Saturday, but they will get to see their team in action for the first time. With a huge guest list of both former players and highly touted recruits scheduled to be in attendance, it should be a special day in Tucson.
Start Time: Festivities will begin at 1:45 p.m. in Tucson, doors open at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets: The game is sold out.
Online Stream: ArizonaAthletics.com will have a live stream.
Former Players and Coaches:
Derrick Williams; will be enshrined into Ring of Honor.
Chase Budinger; will be enshrined into Ring of Honor.
Jason Terry; will be honored for championship with Dallas Mavericks.
Brandon Ashley (Committed)
Grant Jerrett (Committed)
Gabe York (Committed)
The Arizona Wildcats are the highest ranked team in the Pac-12 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 preseason poll. Who else made the grade?
One of the reasons the Arizona Wildcats were able to achieve so much success last season was the depth of the team. Nine players averaged double-digit minutes and a tenth came in just a few seconds short of that mark.
Not only does it pay off in March Madness, but it also allows a head coach to keep his players fresh throughout the regular season, especially once conference play begins. Not only is it valuable for the current season, but it also prepares bench players for a bigger role down the road.
Sean Miller has always preached using a team's depth to its advantage and that will be the case once again in 2011. Despite Derrick Williams, Lamont 'MoMo' Jones and Jamelle Horne leaving the program, Arizona figures to play nine or ten players once again throughout the season.
Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry all figure to receive the most minutes out of anyone. Not only are these three veteran leaders on the team, but they also posses the fundamental skills required to make it through an entire game.
Once Kevin Parrom fully recovers from the shooting that took place earlier this month, he will also be among those who see the most playing time. His status is still completely up in the air at this point, though.
Assuming freshman point guard Josiah Turner is the starter, he should see a lot of playing time. Behind him, sophomore Jordin Mayes is a very talented backup and will likely see an increased role after playing 14 minutes-per-game last season.
While Fogg will probably lead the pack in terms of minutes played, athletic freshman Nick Johnson will be one of the first players off the bench and should see quite a bit of playing time in his first season. Senior guard Brendon Lavender could also play quite a bit, especially if he is able to translate his excellent play in practice onto the McKale Center floor.
There are a lot of minutes up for grabs in the post. Perry will command most of them at the four, but expect freshmen big men Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson to earn playing time throughout the season. They are both very talented and eager to get off the bench and into the game.
The biggest question mark surrounding playing time is at the center position. In a perfect world, Kyryl Natyazhko lives up to his potential and becomes a solid force both offensively and defensively in the middle. Arizona fans have seen flashes of brilliance from the 6'11, 270 pound Natyazhko, but consistency has always been an issue.
If Kyryl is able to put it all together this season, he will command a large chunk of minutes. If not? Well, those freshmen big men might see a lot more playing time than they originally anticipated. That could lead to some very interesting lineup changes from Sean Miller this season.
The Arizona Wildcats have released the official team post for the 2011-2012 team. Here is a look at it:
It may be tough to see from the screen of a computer, but those are not just lines on Kyle Fogg and Jesse Perry. Instead, the program incorporated names from players both past and present. Everyone from Steve Kerr to Max Wiepking can be found on the poster, which is pretty cool. These posters will be made available at the Red-Blue Game, which will be played October 22, as well as the team store.
Arizona basketball also released a promotional video of sorts giving fans information on how to purchase tickets. Here is the video:
Towards the end of the video, a fast list of accomplishments are displayed. Here they are:
For more on the Wildcats, check out AZ Desert Swarm.
In recent years, the Arizona Wildcats basketball program has gone away from their Midnight Madness event in favor of a much more organized Red-Blue Game. While (most) fans enjoyed staying up into the wee hours of the night, the event was basically a "glorified pick-up game", as Sean Miller called it at Media Day earlier this week.
For the third straight year under Miller, the Red-Blue Game will be the primary event for fans to get a glimpse at their new team. While the event will still focus a dunk contest, shoot-off and scrimmage, this year's event means so much more.
Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger will both be in attendance to be enshrined into the Ring of Honor. In addition to Williams and Budinger, former Wildcats and current NBA stars such as Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye will be in attendance, among others.
While the return of these players to the McKale Center will be a great scene to behold, the future of UA basketball will also be in Tucson. Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Gabe York, the three members of Arizona's No. 1 ranked recruiting class for 2012, will be at the game.
Top-10 prospect Kaleb Tarczewski, who is considering the Wildcats, will also be on his official visit. Showing Tarczewski a great time is imperative to landing the seven-foot center and the fans can make that happen.
The Red-Blue game will be played on October 22 at 2 p.m. Sean Miller has asked fans to sellout the McKale Center. As of Friday, October 14, UA has sold nearly 10,000 tickets. This does not include any students, due to the fact they get into the event for free. With a week left to purchase tickets, as well as the walkup crowd and students, it is safe to say we are on pace to meet Miller's goal.
Do you have your tickets yet?
Stellar recruiting classes are what keep the nation's elite college basketball programs dominating year in and year out.
A team can luck out every once in a while when a lowly ranked prospect turns into a star -- Derrick Williams and Jordan Hill come to mind in recent years -- but without bringing in top talent to replenish those who graduate or leave for the NBA, it is tough for a coach to keep his school competitive.
Sean Miller has assembled one of the top recruiting classes for 2011 and each of the four committed players will play a big role on the team. That can only mean good things going forward for the Arizona Wildcats.
Josiah Turner, the highest ranked point guard to commit to Arizona since Jerryd Bayless in 2007, will likely handle the starting point guard duties from day one.
"Josiah can pretty much get the ball wherever he wants," said fellow freshman Angelo Chol, "the things he can do are crazy and he's really talented."
A head coach usually has concerns with a true freshman handling the ball and pushing the offense for nearly 25 minutes a game, but Miller and his players have complete faith in Turner.
Nick Johnson, a 6'3 shooting guard out of Findlay Prep, has been proclaimed one of the most college-ready freshmen in the country and those around the program rave about his defense. Combine that with his ridiculous athleticism and smooth jump shot and UA fans are looking at their sixth man off the bench.
"Nick is like a miniature (Kyle) Fogg out there," Hill said, "he brings it every day and works hard."
As for freshmen big men Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson, while the transition to the college game typically takes longer for post players than it does guards, Miller has been very impressed with both players. The head coach praised Chol for having one of the best motors he had ever seen and was impressed by his work ethic in the gym and the weight room.
Miller has been eager to bring more size and physicalness to his front line since coming to Arizona and the team will get that from Johnson. Already 6'8" and 240 pounds, opposing defenses are going to have problems stopping the big man in the paint.
With the season beginning in just a few weeks, expect Turner and Johnson to see the most playing time early on. As Chol and Johnson progress in practice, do not be surprised if either claims a chunk of minutes by the time March Madness rolls around for the Wildcats.
As we continue our coverage of 2011 Media Day for Arizona basketball, here are interviews with Angelo Chol, Jesse Perry and Josiah Turner, three players UA fans should expect to see a lot of in 2011.
On why he chose the University of Arizona:
"It was the coaching. I wanted to be coached by coach Miller. He seems like he knows what he's doing and he's intense off the court. Off the court, he's a real nice guy."
On who has emerged as the team's main senior leader:
"Kyle Fogg. Definitely."
What he wants to improve in his game:
"I want to get better offensively. I've been working on that. Right now I just want to contribute and help the team as I get used to the college atmosphere."
On fighting for playing time in practice:
"I just gotta show up and play hard, even if I don't feel like it. You have to prove it in practice if you want to play, so that's what I have to do. Everyone is good. You have to produce if you want to play."
On being a senior leader:
"What I learned most is you just have to work hard. On the court, off the court and in the class room, it all comes together and you have to have a great attitude."
On improving his strength and jump shot:
"Those two things, most importantly, and getting bigger and stronger. I've always had the tough game and I'm going to be a tough kid regardless. I'm just trying to get better, coming in and shooting a lot of shots and things like that to take my game to the next level."
On taking the younger post players under his wing:
"I just tell them they have to work hard. If they're doing something wrong, tell them and show them what to do to get their confidence higher than it already is."
On what he learned from the deep tournament run last season:
"When you put in hard work, you see the results. I don't anyone expected us to be at the point we were at. Down two, we just missed it. And what I'll take away is we can do it and go farther than that this year."
On why he chose Arizona instead of any other program:
"The coaching staff, style of play, and the weather, basically."
On your visit, you saw the Iowa football game. What was that like:
"Man, it was crazy. That was nice. I liked it."
On what he'll contribute this season:
"My ability to pass, move the ball around and keeping the tempo up. That would be my biggest input on the team."
The biggest difference from the high school game to college:
"In college they're all bigger, stronger and faster."
On improving his jump shot:
"I have been working on it all summer and continue to keep working on it."
And on what he looks forward to the most at Arizona:
"Winning a championship."
That does it for all of our interviews with coach Miller and the players. In case you missed them, you can find a complete list of our UA preseason coverage here. For more on Arizona, check out AZ Desert Swarm.
SB Nation Arizona was in attendance for UA Basketball's Media Day. Here were some of the highlights from various players on the team:
On becoming a team leader and mentoring the younger players:
"I want to bring consistency and to really step up this year. I've played my roles and I've worked hard. And especially with Derrick (Williams) and MoMo (Jones) gone it's time for me to become a man and step up to lead the team."
On his jump shot and the progressions he made in the offseason:
"It's coming along great. Especially coming in (the Richard Jefferson gym) with coach Whitford and getting it smooth. Try to keep the same shot every time and add different moves I can add off the jumper when I'm in here working."
On the incoming freshmen:
"Their intensity level is great. From day one Sidiki (Johnson) and Josiah (Turner) came out hard. Nick (Johnson) defense is great and he's like a (Kyle) Fogg on his own. And Chol, he can get up and down the floor and rebound. He blocks some shots and he'll be a real difference maker."
On being there for friend and teammate Kevin Parrom:
"We've been joking around, talking about video games, homework, just laughing. Kevin's a funny guy and a real chill guy and we can talk about anything."
On being a teacher to the incoming freshmen guards:
"They can't get laid back. They gotta compete every time they get on the floor. Every time they got on the floor and something doesn't go their way they can't pout or get frustrated or it's really going to hurt them. They just gotta keep playing and thinking positive."
On potentially playing a position other than point guard:
"It's going to give defenses a lot of different looks with me at the one, two or three. With my ability to shoot it gives me the advantage and when I'm the point guard it allows me to set up my teammates and push the ball down the floor. That's just an advantage we have."
What having the Richard Jefferson Gym, the new locker rooms, and the facilities mean to him and the program:
"It shows a lot of people have faith in us and in coach, that we're going to use this to our best ability and improve us in the long run. And for getting recruits, I mean, you already see how many we have now. This is just a blessing to have and a blessing for the fans to give us this."
On what he worked on the most in the offseason:
"I'm just getting in shape, trying to be the best player I can be."
On becoming a key player this season:
"I'm going to do whatever my coaches tell me, try and improve my team. Defensively, I'll do whatever I have to do to win some games."
On improving his scoring game:
"I worked on my jump shot, my post game, just whatever I need to to become a better player."
On the incoming freshmen class:
"I really think we have a good freshmen class this year. All of them are going to help us win some games this year."
On his personal goals for the season:
"I'm going to do whatever coach asks me to do individually for every game. We want to get back to the elite eight and try to win a championship."
The team is hungry after an elite eight appearance and the incoming freshmen class is among the best in the nation. We have the highlights from media day.
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