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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Top-Five Players to play under Miller

5

Stanley Johnson — Arguably the most talented player on this list, Johnson gets knocked down because he only stayed in Tucson for one season. He just narrowly edges out Aaron Gordon due to his better all-around game. Johnson was the go-to player for last year’s team and could get buckets at ease when he was rolling. Having him play on the wing with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made it crowded at times, but Johnson still produced at a high level.

4

T.J. McConnell — If we were to go by most beloved for Sean Miller, McConnell might be the runaway winner. Although he looked like he belonged in the ZonaZoo, the catalyst for last year’s Elite Eight team, he looked at times like the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year. While Utah guard Delon Wright and Oregon guard Joseph Young averaged more points and had flashier all-around games, McConnell held Wright’s shot chart at 7-19 in two games and Young’s chart at 8-25 in two games. McConnell is a complete floor general and will have a career in basketball.

3

Solomon Hill — Where he does gain points for longevity, the players ahead of him were first-team All American, so this seems like a fair spot. The four year alumnus went from steady contributor in his first two seasons to back-to-back Pac-12 first-team selections in his last two years, including a Sweet Sixteen run with Nick Johnson, Mark Lyons and Brandon Ashley in 2013. Throughout Arizona’s ups and downs, he was there to give his all and mentor the younger players on what is expected from them in Tucson. He gets a higher ranking than McConnell due to him being at Arizona for all four years, while McConnell only gave the Wildcats two.

2

Nick Johnson — For anyone wondering why Nick Johnson is number two on the list, consider the following: He led Arizona to a No. 1 seed and a No. 1 ranking during the 2014 season. He won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. In just the 2014 season alone he was an All-Defensive Team member, Pac-12 Player of the Year and an All-American while still leading the team in scoring. The catalyst of the 2014 season averaged 16 points per game while leading a Wildcat defense that gave up the sixth fewest points per game in the country that season. Even after Ashley went down during the season, Nick Johnson kept the Wildcats afloat and helped lead them to the Elite Eight.

1

Derrick Williams — He earned his spot on this throne thanks to his eradication of the defending Duke Blue Devil champions in the Sweet Sixteen in 2011. His 32-point, 13-rebound, career-high total while going 5-6 from three, and throwing down highlight-reel slams was like if Steve Kerr met Aaron Gordon. To put his all-around dominance that season into context, he averaged over 19 points and 8 rebounds per game while hitting 42 3-pointers that season at a 56 percent clip. He edged out 2015 John R. Wooden Award winner Frank Kaminsky in each category while only placing on the second-team All-American in 2011. He was also Pac-10 Player of the Year and twice made first-team All-Pac-10 during his tenure in Tucson.

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