With the Arizona men’s basketball team taking the floor for the first time on Sunday for its annual Red/Blue scrimmage, there is an unknown sense of what to expect for the first time in a couple of years. Here are three things to look out for on Sunday.
Who will be “the guy” this year?
Gone from last year’s Pac-12 championship team are all five starters, with the leading returning scorer in Dylan Smith averaging only 4.3 points per game.
Any number of players could be ready for their breakout campaign, but who will be the player Sean Miller leans on late in games to get a bucket when the Wildcats need one? How will players such as Brandon Randolph and Alex Barcello adjust to a more prominent role in the offense?
Arizona looked to the graduate transfer marker to bring in two quality players in Pittsburgh transfer Ryan Luther and Samford transfer Justin Coleman. Freshman guard Brandon Williams was the highlight of the 2018 recruiting class, with Devonaire Doutrive and Omar Thielemans committing as well.
The Wildcats also get the services this season of former five-star recruit and Duke transfer Chase Jeter after sitting out last season. All of these players figure to see minutes this season, with potentially as many as four of them starting on opening night for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats replaced two assistant coaches from last season, with Lorenzo Romar taking the head coach job at Pepperdine University and Book Richardson being let go due to the FBI scandal. Miller replaced the two with Justin Gainey and Danny Peters. Gainey played under Miller at NC State when he was an assistant coach from 1996-2000 and comes over from Santa Clara University.
Peters comes over from Ball State University, where he was an assistant coach. He spent 2010-2014 as a graduate manager and the assistant director of basketball operations for the Wildcats after playing four seasons for Thad Matta at Ohio State. While Mark Phelps will take over the lead assistant role under Miller, it will be interesting to see how the new additions impact recruiting and the on-court development of some of the players.
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