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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A new touch on the perimeter

    Guard Nic Wise, right, pauses outside the 3-point line as forward Marcus Williams waits in anticipation during Saturdays scrimmage. The blue team took the first half, 67-33, before the teams were reshuffled and the red team won the second,
    Guard Nic Wise, right, pauses outside the 3-point line as forward Marcus Williams waits in anticipation during Saturday’s scrimmage. The blue team took the first half, 67-33, before the teams were reshuffled and the red team won the second,

    During Lute Olson’s tenure as head coach at Arizona, his team has never shot as poorly as it did last season. But from the appearance of Saturday afternoon’s scrimmage at McKale Center, this year’s team will improve on a 44.6 percent field-goal percentage.

    “”The primary difference between this team and last year’s team is we have good shooters,”” Olson said following the scrimmage.

    Freshmen Chase Budinger and Nic Wise have solidified Arizona’s 3-point shooting as has the return of junior guard Jawann McClellan, who is still not at 100 percent physically.

    McClellan, who like many others flip-flopped teams in the scrimmage, was 4-of-5 from the field in the second half, including makes on both of his 3-point attempts.

    Olson said he has used McClellan (knee) and Dillon (foot) on the same team in scrimmages because both players are still limited while rehabilitating injuries.

    “”They’re not in the condition the other guys are, so we usually have them on the same team, and we usually have one in, one out,”” Olson said. “”(McClellan’s) timing is off, and this is not a game that you just suddenly pick up the ball and you’re at game speed.””

    “”The primary difference between this team and last year’s team is we have good shooters.””

    – Lute Olson,
    UA head coach

    Meanwhile, senior center Kirk Walters sat out the scrimmage after returning to practice on Monday and Tuesday. Olson said Walters landed awkwardly in practice on Wednesday after forward Fendi Onobun went up for a block, resulting in Walters slamming his head on the floor.

    In Walters’ place, center Mohamed Tangara shined, getting the nod of approval from Olson, who said Tangara “”was the best of the big guys today.””

    Tangara played mostly for the blue team in the first half, along with McClellan, point guard Mustafa Shakur, and forwards Ivan Radenovic, Marcus Williams and Budinger. The group came out on top, 67-33, at the half before players were shuffled around and the score was reset.

    In the second half, Olson matched Shakur with Wise in the backcourt, along with Budinger, Onobun and forward Bret Brielmaier up front.

    “”We were trying to get a look at a number of different combinations,”” Olson said.

    The red team got off to a 17-0 start in the first 5 1/2 minutes on the back of Williams and McClellan and ended up with a 54-49 win.

    With under a minute left in the second half and the blue team trailing by three points, the squad got the ball back with a chance to tie after Williams threw an alley-oop to walk-on guard David Bagga, who lost the ball. Shakur subsequently drove the lane and was stripped before he could find an open Budinger, who was setting up behind the 3-point line.

    Olson said Shakur, who played shooting guard in the second half Saturday, and Wise, who manned the point, play well together, but noted that Wise still has many things to work on.

    “”The biggest problem today with Nic is that he had too many turnovers, too many mistakes with the ball,”” Olson said. “”That’s one of the adjustments he’s going to have is the size and quickness of other guys, but he’s a smart player and he’ll adjust to that.

    “”The other thing we need to have out of Nic is he has to be more of a pest on defense, and he’s too passive right now. You can’t be passive when you’re 5-9 playing against 6-2, 6-3 guys.””

    Despite Wise’s lack of height and set-shot-like release, he was able to get his shot off even against 6-foot-7 guard J.P Prince, at one point canning back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the red team lead to 25-15.

    “”He’s smart in terms of moving to open areas, and he’ll give you pump fakes and get you up in the air, and he shoots it well too,”” Olson said.

    Olson said he liked the pace of the scrimmage, noting that “”we got it out quickly both ways so that we were in attack mode.””

    He said from an offensive standpoint, this year’s team has about as many different combinations to work with as he has ever had.

    But on the defensive end, it’s a different story so far.

    “”The biggest thing defensively is there’s a huge difference between our top guys and the guys that are battling for time,”” Olson said.

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