The Arizona Wildcats may have fallen short of expectations this past season, but there is still plenty to be excited about for the future. Other than seniors Kyle Fogg, Jesse Perry and Brendon Lavender, most of the roster is expected to return, with the possible exception of a player or two. Assuming a few things work out for the UA in the coming months, the 'Cats could be looking at a potential Final Four run this time next year.
Here is a look at the projected roster for 2012-13.
Solomon Hill - The do-it-all forward emerged as the best player on the club this past season and showed just how dominant of a player he can be at the Pac-12 Tournament. A first team All-Conference selection, Hill is expected to return for his final season in Tucson and could be a frontrunner for Pac-12 POY assuming he continues to work hard on his jump shot and defense.
After having to play the four-spot for most of the past year, Hill will be able to shift back to his accustomed spot on the wing with the emergence Angelo Chol and the impact of three five-star post players arriving on campus.
Most of all, Sean Miller and the coaching staff will look for Solomon to be a leader both on and off the court. He is blessed with having a very high basketball IQ and speaks like a coach while talking hoops with the media. Hill will be the most experienced player on the roster next season and will be a key part of the equation if the UA hopes to make a deep Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament run.
Kyryl Natyazhko - It is unclear at this point if Natyazhko will return for his senior season or return home to play professionally overseas, but it appears that the seven-footer has worn out his welcome in Tucson. He simply does not produce on the court and provides nothing more than a big body to run at the opposition while on defense. He could be a valuable practice player to help teach the incoming freshman just how physical it can get in the paint, but it would be very surprising to see him amount to much in 2012-13.
Kevin Parrom - When healthy, Parrom was arguably the second-best player on the Elite Eight team from two seasons ago. Capable of scoring, rebounding and playing lockdown defense, Parrom is one of the better sixth men in the country. Unfortunately for him, his junior season was ruined by a gunshot wound he sustained back in October and a broken foot that sidelined him for the final two months of the year.
Parrom has always been a capable player when healthy and the summer months will be an excellent chance for him to get healthy and in excellent shape for his senior campaign. He simply makes everything run smoother on both ends of the court while and Miller needs him healthy and productive.
Jordin Mayes - Mayes is likely to return to Tucson next season, although that is not certain at this point. Should he come back, improving his defense is an absolute must if he wants to assume a big role with the team. There is a decent chance he could become the de facto starting point guard because of another situation, and the thought of that, at least right now, has to be concerning for UA fans.
In addition to his defense, Mayes needs to put in time in the gym to regain his outside shot which was such an effective weapon off the bench a few seasons ago. The junior-to-be will also need to work on his conditioning after missing nearly one-third of last year with a fractured foot.
Angelo Chol - Chol showed flashes of brilliance this past season and displayed a tremendous work ethic as a freshman, something that can be hard to find at times. Still very new to the game of basketball, Chol needs to work on his fundamentals and continue to gain confidence on both ends of the court, but his potential is limitless. He also needs to add both weight and muscle to help establish his presence down low, something he has been very good about despite an incredibly high metabolism that has kept him slender his entire life.
Nick Johnson - Johnson got off to an incredible start with the Wildcats as a true freshman, but the long, grueling season got the best of him down the stretch. His jump shot stopped falling, his defense suffered and his turnover rate went through the roof. Fortunately for Arizona, Johnson is a first-rate person and teammate, and will continue to develop his game.
Johnson may be forced into a point guard role next season depending on a few potential roster moves, and he should spend most of his time in the summer working on his ball handling and passing skills to prepare for any situations he faces next year. He will be counted on heavily as a sophomore in 2012 after starting most of this past season and his progression will likely determine just how far the 'Cats can go.
Josiah Turner - It may be pointless to write this, especially with there being a very strong possibility that Turner does not return to Tucson next season, but it would be huge for the program if Turner finally wakes up and stops getting into trouble off the court. Gifted with incredible court vision, speed and a knack for making plays happen, his potential emergence as a sophomore next year would be incredibly huge for the team. As practices begin, point guard will be the biggest question mark on the roster.
Will it be Turner running the offense like he is more than capable of? He definitely could be.
Just don't hold your breath.
Arizona currently has the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation -- which consists of a combo-guard and three posts players -- and may very well be adding another player in the coming weeks as Sean Miller has suggested. It's tough to project just what these four need to work on, but this is a general outlook for each player, based on what we've seen on tape and read in various scouting reports.
Kaleb Tarczewski - Zeus, as he will be known for years to come, is a legitimate seven-footer and true post player that fans in Tucson have not seen for many years. He will need some time to adjust to the college game -- including putting on muscle to help bang in the paint -- and his offensive game remains a work in progress, but you simply cannot teach the size he brings every time he steps on the court. Tarczewski has a very high basketball IQ and will open the court up for shooters when he commands the ball in the post. The sky is the limit for this young center.
Brandon Ashley - Ashley is a very versatile player and does a little bit of everything. At 6-foot-9 and 210 pounds, he will draw (unfair) comparisons to a young Derrick Williams because of his athleticism and ability to score the ball from all over the court. Ashley will need to get stronger in order to be a scoring threat around the rim, and his stock could soar if he improves his already-solid midrange game.
Grant Jerrett - It seems like Jerrett gets overlooked when talking about the 2012 recruiting class, but he is probably the most college-ready big man in the nation. He has the size (6'10, 230) to be effective around the rim on both ends of the court, can hit shots from all around the court and has flat-out dominated his high school compeition this season. Do not be surprised one bit of Jerrett is an All-Freshman selection come next March.
Gabe York - York is a physical freak -- this dunk he pulled off last month is insane -- and has the potential to be the best pure-scorer at UA since Salim Stoudamire. He attacks the rim very well despite being slightly undersized (6'2, 170) for a combo-guard and can shoot the lights out on any given night. His defense will need to improve drastically if he hopes to see a ton of playing time as a freshman, but York could end up being one of the better scoring threats around the country by the time it's all said and done.
Looking over the roster, Arizona definitely has a chance to pull off a magical run in 2012-13. A lot will depend on the health of Kevin Parrom and the development Ashley, Chol, Jerrett and Tarczewski, but assuming the Wildcats can get decent point guard play -- and that is far from guaranteed at this point -- there is a ton to like about Sean Miller's club next season.