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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats filling in roles after Williams goes NBA, transferred Jones

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team hosted the USC Trojans in a Pacific-10 Conference game Saturday Jan. 29, 2011, in McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to an 82-73.

Derrick Williams stepped up to the free throw line for the final time in McKale Center on March 5. As he prepared to take the shot, the chant “One more year, one more year!” rang out from the ZonaZoo section.

The fans didn’t get their wish. On April 13, Williams declared himself eligible for the NBA draft and in June he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wildcats lost their best scorer, rebounder and overall leader.

That changed things for head coach Sean Miller.

Almost exactly one month later, Momo Jones elected to transfer due to family and personal reasons. The UA floor general was gone, and Arizona men’s basketball team entered a state of transition.

Miller’s plans had to change again.

“Every year, especially with as much turnover as you can have with young guys leaving early,” Miller said, “it’s just a whole new team dynamic.”

On Wednesday, Miller said the 2011 Wildcats would continue with the strategy he implemented last season — score by committee.

“We may be a team of just great balance where we have a number of players that can get double figures on a given night,” Miller said. “Things really work out well for us on one particular night, we have five or six players in double figures.”

In 2010, Williams and Jones started every game for the Wildcats and combined for nearly 40 percent of Arizona’s scoring. Williams was the teams leading rebounder, and led the team in blocks and steals. Jones was the guy to take the highlight shot and complimented Williams.

The answer to the loss of Williams and Jones is to filter more playing time through Arizona’s veteran returners and mixing in four new freshmen players, Miller said. Although unproven at the collegiate level, Miller said the freshmen were game-ready and should see significant time this season.

“I think last year, in all 38 games we played 10 players … I look at this year’s team being able to do the same,” Miller said. “As we play minutes in November, they may not be anywhere close to the minutes you see us give out in March or in February.”

But players said Miller’s plan to spread time and points across the roster this season is something they’re used to. Arizona’s veterans are ready to spread the wealth and make way for the freshmen talent to help contribute this season.

“What’s good about this team is we’ve got more players that can contribute,” guard Kyle Fogg said. “Multiple guys averaging double digits per game as opposed to one player averaging 20.”

Parrom’s impact

Junior forward Kevin Parrom was shot in the left hand and right leg on Sept. 24 in the Bronx, New York, and his return to the team this season is in serious doubt.

“We’re going to have to learn how to play and practice without him,” Miller said. “Again, optimistically, maybe even cautiously optimistic, we hope to welcome him back to our team at some point.”

Parrom was a valuable part of Miller’s bench options last season. Although he only started three games for Arizona, he saw action in all 38 games and made a serious impact on the scoreboard along with Williams and Jones. Combined, the trio accounted for 48 percent of Arizona’s scoring all season and 50 percent of its scoring in conference play.

Parrrom averaged nearly eight points and 20 minutes per game.

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