Sports Perspective: Questions surround Arizona Basketball success - The Explorer: Sports

Sports Perspective: Questions surround Arizona Basketball success

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Evan Hofmann

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 4:00 am

Early predictions place the Arizona Men’s Basketball team in high regard, as they are expected to place first in the PAC 12 and within the top 10 in the nation. Head coach Sean Miller has instilled a consistency and excitement in Tucson that is reminiscent of the Olson era, returning Arizona Basketball to the elite group of national powerhouse programs.

There is much to look forward to in the upcoming season such as the Jordan-esque acrobatics of Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon, the acquisition of Miller’s first true point guard, T.J. McConnel, and the dominant potential of sophomores Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley. But despite the lofty expectations for the 2013-2014 squad, there are a few burning questions that need to be answered before we can start cutting down nets and pouring confetti from the rafters.

First off, was Aaron Gordon worth the price Arizona paid for him? The incoming forward was among the most sought after players in his class. College coaches drooled over his raw athleticism, explosive play, and work ethic. In fact, had Gordon been eligible for last year’s NBA Draft, there is a solid chance he would have been the number one pick. That being said, his decision to attend the U of A was not without recourse. Within weeks of Gordon’s commitment, the Wildcat’s promising forward, Grant Jerrett, cast his lot in the NBA draft. Shortly after, defensive enforcer and fan favorite forward Angelo Chol packed his bags and transferred to San Diego State University. The common consensus is that both players abandoned ship due to concerns over sharing playing time with Arizona’s freshman phenom. Gordon has all the talent in the world, which is good, because he is going to need it in order to fill the empty shoes of two former Arizona players.

Secondly, How will Arizona generate outside scoring? The only prominent shooter returning from last year’s team is Nick Johnson, who shot roughly 39% from the three-point arc. Johnson is far too talented at slashing toward basket to be camping behind the three-point line for an extended period of time, so other Wildcat players are going to have to step it up this season. The most obvious players to watch will be senior Jordin Mayes and sophomore Gabe York, who are both efficient outside scorers, but need to bring their game up a notch to fill the void. The Wildcats shot a collective 3 for 14 from downtown in their Red and Blue scrimmage, and should that continue, the season could be filled with adversity.

Finally, Who is Arizona’s go to guy when the game is on the line? The Wildcats are searching for players to fill the gaps led by seniors Solomon Hill, Mark Lyons, and Kevin Parrom, who were all comfortable taking the team on their shoulders should the occasion call for it. This season, however, the Cats are without a true senior other than Jordin Mayes, who will likely be coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see who answers the necessary call for leadership.

Nov. 8 is the day that the unraveling of these mysteries begins, as Arizona faces off against Cal Poly at home. If the Wildcats can address these looming questions and play to their potential, they should dominate their opponent early, and may continue to do so all the way to the Final Four.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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