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Arizona Basketball Will Rely Heavily On Freshmen This Season

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.

"He hit Tree (Alex Jacobson) with a pass on the first two plays of a pick-up game the other day and he scored both times. I've never seen that happen," added junior forward Solomon Hill.

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.


For more on Arizona, check out AZ Desert Swarm and their coverage from Media Day.