Jesse Perry #33 (C) of the Arizona Wildcats walks with teammates Jordin Mayes #20 and Kyle Fogg #21 during the college basketball game against the Clemson Tigers at McKale Center on December 10, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Tigers 63-47. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
How have the 9-4 Wildcats performed this season? We break it down.
The Arizona Wildcats had a lot of questions entering this season. With non-conference play officially over, which Wildcats made the grade and which ones came up a little short? Here is a breakdown of each player:
Kyle Fogg: A-
Fogg took over 30,000 shots in the offseason and it has paid dividend greatly thus far. A senior guard who has started almost every game in his career, Fogg has been lethal from behind the arc and is one of the better defenders in the nation. His shot was a little inconsistent to begin the season, but he's locked in right now.
Brendon Lavender: B
Lavender is a player who I always felt should play more than he has and he may have earned himself some more playing time after an 18 point outburst against Bryant. His numbers may not look great, but he's shooting nearly 60% from behind the arc and is the best pure shooter on the team. When committed on the defensive end as well, Lavender is a very crucial piece of the Arizona puzzle.
Jesse Perry: A
Perry was asked to step up in the absence of Derrick Williams and the senior big man has done exactly that. He has brought toughness and a tenacity that is unparalleled by most and leads the team in rebounding at nearly eight a game. Perry is yet to have a breakout game, but you can pencil him in for double digits on almost given night.
Solomon Hill: B+
Hill is arguably the best player for the Wildcats, but inconsistent play and shot-happy tendencies can be frustrating to watch. Still, though, Solo's numbers speak for themselves; he's averaging nearly 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, all while improving his defense. When Hill plays aggressively, it's tough to stop him. When Hill plays aggressively, Arizona is a different team. Now it's just a matter of playing aggressively every time he takes the floor.
Kyryl Natyazhko: D
Natyazhko played well as a freshman in the Red-Blue Game. It's been all downhill since then. Blessed with the size and strength to be a difference maker in the paint, the junior big man seldom rebounds and is a liability on the defensive end of the court. A loss of playing time has resulted from his struggles and it's tough to see Kyryl playing more than a few minutes in conference play.
Kevin Parrom: Incomplete
It's tough to grade Parrom after everything he has been through. He's fortunate to be alive, let alone playing basketball. He's the heart and soul of this team and will continue to improve every day.
Jordin Mayes: C+
Mayes can shoot the basketball well, but he sure isn't much of a point guard. In nearly 300 minutes of play, Mayes has recorded nine assists and has turned the ball over 13 times. That's not cutting it at all. To his credit he has scored the ball with a little more consistently in the month of December, but the 'Cats still need more out of him as a ball distributor.
Angelo Chol: B-
Chol entered college having just three years of organized basketball under his belt and everyone knew his game would be a work in progress. With the non-conference season wrapped up, it's safe to see why his name rocketed up scouting boards the way it did last year. Chol is already impacting the game on the defensive end with his length and athleticism, and he is making strides on the offensive end as well. Still incredibly raw, the kid has limitless potential going forward.
Nick Johnson: A
Johnson has been everything the Wildcats could have asked for and has earned himself a spot in the starting rotation. He has done it all for the UA, scoring nearly 11 points a game, all while playing stellar defense and even running point guard at times. Coach Miller raves about Nick on a daily basis and it's easy to see why. The kid is special and will only get better.
Josiah Turner: C
Turner has been his own worst enemy thus far in college, getting himself suspended twice for either not showing up to practice or missing it entirely. When he is on the court, though, it's easy to see why he was a top-10 prospect be seemingly every scouting service in the nation. Gifted with incredible quickness and an ability to make plays happen, Turner has the potential to be a star. Will he continue to improve or get himself in trouble with the coaches? That may be the biggest determining factor for how far Arizona goes in 2012.