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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Finding a uniform style

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Wildcats topped Augustana College 92-76 Wednesday night at McKale Center.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcats topped Augustana College 92-76 Wednesday night at McKale Center.

For a bunch of guys wearing different sneakers and coming from different walks of life, the Arizona men’s basketball team served an exhibition game’s purpose.

They made a few squeaks on the fresh coat of McKale Center paint, a few leaps above the rim and probably a few tweets coming later tonight.

It’s the first dry run, suiting up in bright white jerseys with an odd assortment of footwear. Jamelle Horne wore red Nikes. Others wore blue. Some wore white.

Half the team grew up in the West Coast. A few from back East.

Different shoes, different footprints — maybe somehow Arizona’s mishmash of styles, newcomers and rotations will develop into a cohesive system in the next nine days.

“”You learn a lot about our team; what we need to work on,”” UA point guard Nic Wise said. “”When we were clicking at times, it looked good. And when we weren’t, it looked real bad.””

First-year UA coach Sean Miller shuffled 12 players through a scorers table carousel in last night’s 92-76 exhibition win against Augustana College — serving more like a de facto tryout for players to prove their roles as the real season approaches.

But unlike the shallow depth on the bench last season, Arizona fans may see the Brendon Lavenders and Alex Jacobsons get some playing time.

“”To me there’s not a big difference between a lot of players on our team,”” Miller said. “”We’re going to do it with depth. I love to play nine or ten guys. It makes practices more competitive and builds for the future. I would like to think we’ll play nine and possibly ten players.””

The bench scored 45 points. Nobody played more than 26 minutes. Walk-ons Dondre Wise and D.J. Shumpert played three minutes a piece.

Newcomers scored 44 points and played more than 50 percent of the total minutes.

“”At times we played well, but we have so many new players,”” Miller said. “”I know that I’m going to keep beating that drum, but that’s just reality.””

On a night the Yankees clinched their 27th World Series championship, the Wildcats’ own Bronx Bombers began adding their efforts to Arizona’s own prestigious program.

Kevin Parrom and Momo Jones — hailing from the Bronx, N.Y. and Harlem, N.Y., respectively — had a mixture of mid-season glimpses and freshman moments before a crowd of 13,202 last night.

Jones missed a wide-open layup with 12:45 in the first half. Some of them jogged back after big dunks, failing to play transition defense. A few made some allie-oops. Others committed sloppy fouls.

“”Of course, they’re freshman, they’re 18 years old,”” Wise said. “”First college atmosphere, first game, they don’t know anything. You can do everything right in practice, but when you get in front of 15,000 fans you can easily forget some stuff.””

UA freshman Solomon Hill, a West Coaster who scored 5 points and grabbed 7 boards, made the obligatory it’s-a-lot-different-than-high-school contrast after the game in his first post-game press conference.

But in the same atmosphere with thousands of distractions came a more intense focus on the game. Hill said plays and positions get echoed throughout the court, making it hard to forget.

“”We all have to just settle in,”” Hill said. “”We just get antsy. A couple exhibition games, everyone should relax. We really have to step up as a freshman class.””

Back east, in light of No. 25 Syracuse’s loss to a Division II team two nights ago, who could take exhibitions like these for granted?

The final scoreboard, hardly the sole measure of what Miller considers a successful night, looked comfortable most of the night with Arizona’s sizable lead thanks to well-rounded offensive production.

Defense was a different story.

“”We almost gave them 50 in one half — that’s alarming,”” Miller said. “”That’s not going to serve us well in the future.””

In the second half, both teams scored 42 points.

“”We got a long way to go,”” Wise said.

It’s a long journey on foot. Maybe the red, white and blue sneakers will walk it together.

 

Injury Report:

Nic Wise, point guard

Injury: Ankle

Status: Day-to-day

Quote: “”My ankles a little sore, that’s why I didn’t play a whole lot. It hurts to cut. I feel about 70 percent, but hopefully I’ll be 100 percent by Western New Mexico (on Nov. 10).”” — Wise.

Kyle Fogg, shooting guard

Injury: Flu

Status: Away from team until healed

Quote: “”We anticipate every day from this point on he’ll get better. We missed him tonight. As the week progresses, he’ll get back.”” — UA coach Sean Miller.

Derrick Williams

Injury: Sprained ankle in exhibition

Status: Day-to-day

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