All this week SB Nation Arizona is previewing the showdown between the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona St. Sun Devil and their game on Saturday afternoon to kick off conference play. Scott Coleman and Cody Ulm are exchanging questions this week to give fans a feel for their team and what they think of their in-state rivals.
Q: When scouting the other team, what do you see?
Cody Ulm: As much as it pains me to say it, there's a lot to like with this Arizona Wildcats roster. Although I've only been able to watch to games this season, they have shown some true flashes of brilliance and it's easy to tell, at least in my opinion, that they are the most talent-rich roster in the Pac-12.
Of course, alongside those flashes of brilliance are stretches of head-scratching play but some growing pains are to be expected from such a young team. All four of the losses have come against above average teams but in a way I think their non-conference schedule has made them a more mentally tough team.
The first names that come to mind are Solomon Hill, Nick Johnson and Kyle Fogg but I'm a huge fan of Jesse Perry and what he's quietly done. From the little I've seen, Perry is a tough, hardnosed rebounder who also knows how to make the smart pass and can score a bucket or two. He's the type of player every team needs and he's not nearly getting the credit he deserves outside of Tucson.
Beyond those guys, I really think Kevin Parrom is the player that can really push this team over the top in the conference. A lot of people will point to Josiah Turner as this team can still definitely improve at ball handling but I think the issue is more about team-wide ball movement. If Parrom can continue to make strides while still recovering from that gunshot wound, it gives this squad another slasher that can make something happen when the Wildcats becomes stagnant.
Overall, I think this team is deep and developing but it's hard not think they will begin to reach their potential sooner rather than later. There are many solid one-on-one defenders on this team, which is a plus when trying to slow the Tony Wrotens and the Maurice Joneses of the conference. Sure, Arizona doesn't have a true center but they're athletic enough to rebound with the best they will face the rest of the way. Also, Fogg and Brandon Lavendar's range will come in handy as you always need at least two or three threats from deep to compete in the Pac-12.
Scott Coleman: When I look at the Sun Devils, I see a team that has some talent, although they are lacking a true point guard to run the show and a post presence that is needed to dominate down low. The loss of Jahii Carson cannot be overstated and the young ASU big men just aren't ready to handle as many minutes as they're typically called upon for.
Trent Lockett is obviously a very talented player and seems to always play well against Arizona, if memory serves me correctly. He is capable of taking over a game from behind the arc and he rebounds at a solid rate for a guard. Lockett will likely be guarded by Kyle Fogg on Saturday, which could prove to be the key matchup for the game. In addition to Lockett, Keala King has turned into a solid player under coach Sendeck and causes a lot of matchup problems with his athleticism.
Carrick Felix and Kyle Cain do a solid job on the wings for ASU, although it seems to me like both players have a tendency to disappear at times while on the court. Their matchups with Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom will definitely be something to watch.
As afore mentioned, I believe the Sun Devils are hurt most by their lack of a playmaker and distributor. Once Carson was ruled ineligible for the season, it was difficult to see ASU winning too many games against tough competition. Chris Colvin does a solid job in limited minutes working the ball around, but he isn't much of a scoring threat. Lockett and King do a decent job, but similar to Nick Johnson, who has had to fill in at times this season, neither is a true point guard and the offense suffers as a whole because of it.
The lack of true post players is also worrisome for the program. While Arizona isn't exactly loaded at the position, Jesse Perry and even Angelo Chol should not have too much trouble with the sized-yet-unskilled front court of Ruslan Pateev and Jordan Bachynski when they're on the court.
Stay tuned for more on this week's game between the Wildcats and Sun Devils, including a game preview and some final predictions. For continued coverage, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @SBNArizona, @ScottColeman_UA and @CodyUlm.