Rolling in the deep: Arizona basketball has depth
Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sacrificing for the good of the team — that’s the message head coach Sean Miller has preached to the Wildcats throughout the offseason.
The Wildcats have talent up and down the roster, and enough to go 10 deep.
“It’s not individual anymore,” forward Solomon Hill said. “We have guys that can score, we have 10 guys that can score. Its not about the individuals anymore, it’s about the team.”
It was just an exhibition, but Tuesday against Chico State, Arizona put on display exactly what it’s capable of doing if each player can accept a supporting role.
Arizona won by 38 points, nine players had at least five points and no Wildcat shot the ball more than 10 times.
Hill even scored 18 points on just 2-of-2 shooting, getting the rest of his points from the free throw line.
In Arizona’s first preseason game against Humboldt State, which it won by 41 points, freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Against Chico State, Tarczewski fouled out with seven points and zero rebounds.
“The score of the game [against Chico State] was indicative of our depth and our firepower that we have not only with our starters, but off the bench,” Miller said. “One of the characteristics I hope that we can continue from [the]very beginning all the way to the end of the season is that on different nights we have different players that can step up and contribute, not always in scoring, but in rebounding.”
The Wildcats have a stable of newcomers that includes freshmen Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Gabe York, and transfer point guard Mark Lyons; not to mention T.J. McConnell and Matt Korcheck, who have to sit out this season due to transfer rules.
Hill compared the depth of talent on this year’s squad to that of two years ago, when Arizona reached the Elite Eight, and said the competition in practice will prove invaluable.
“It makes the team better,” Hill said. “It feels good that when your first five come out and our guys come out, we’re equally as good. There’s no drop off in the game and that’s what makes our team good. If we’re all in we can reap the reward from it.”
Through the first two preseason games, Miller has thrown out a lineup of shooting guard Nick Johnson, point guard Lyons, small forward Hill, power forward Jerrett and center Tarczewski, but Miller doesn’t anticipate having a “set five starters.”
“Some of the guys on our team, if they were maybe on another team they would have a bigger role, but that’s the gift that we have,” Miller said.
The Wildcats’ first five off the bench include point guard Jordin Mayes, shooting guard York, shooting guard/small forward Kevin Parrom, power forward Ashley and center Angelo Chol, all of which, except for Mayes, were four star recruits coming out of high school, and Mayes has NCAA tournament experience — he scored 16 points against Texas in the second round two years ago.
“It’s not about you having 20 points every single game, it’s not gonna be like that,” Hill said.
Projecting the rotation
Based on preseason performance and what Miller has told the media in the preseason, here’s the best bet for what the rotation will look like in the early going.
Note: The first five are the projected starters
1- Mark Lyons, point guard
2- Nick Johnson, shooting guard
3- Solomon Hill, small forward
4- Grant Jerrett, power forward
5- Kaleb Tarczewski, center
6- Kevin Parrom, sixth man/shooting guard/small forward
7- Brandon Ashley, forward
8- Jordin Mayes, point guard
9- Angelo Chol, center
10- Gabe York, guard