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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Basketball opens against Valpo

Sean Miller said the Arizona men’s basketball team will see much of the same type of play as it did during the exhibition season when it takes on Valparaiso in the 2011-12 season opener tonight.

That includes using the same starting lineup consisting of freshman Josiah Turner, juniors Solomon Hill and Kyryl Natyazhko, and seniors Jesse Perry and Kyle Fogg when the No. 16 Wildcats tip off at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

Arizona continues to adjust in how the roles of freshmen Turner, Nick Johnson, Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol pan out. That includes using Chol at center, where he would split time with Natyazhko.

“I do think he can really grow and be an agile and really quick five-man that could complement Kyryl,” Miller said of Chol. “Be a different look, use his agility. That’s where Angelo can have the best freshman year for him.”

Miller will continue to figure out his rotations against Valparaiso, who went 2-0 in its exhibition season, and was picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll.

“I think it will be a great test, probably very similar to the two teams that we played,” Miller said. “Be very well-coached, disciplined with a number of players on their team that are skilled and can play the game.”

While Valparaiso has eight returning players this season, it doesn’t help much for the Crusaders’ short bench, with just nine players eligible this semester. Junior Ryan Broekhoff, who averaged 10.3 points per game, 5.2 rebounds and shot nearly 45 percent from beyond the arc, is one of the players that could make a difference for Valparaiso.

“They have a number of different players that can shoot the ball,” Miller said. “They’re that team on a given night that can make a lot of shots, a lot of 3-point shots that puts themselves in a position to beat anybody.”

What to watch for: Arizona’s shooting percentage

The Wildcats shot 48 percent from the field against Seattle Pacific, but cooled off to 41 percent against Humboldt State.

Kyle Fogg took around 40,000 shots during the offseason, but in exhibition play there weren’t signs that it seemed to help much.

Fogg went a combined 3-for-13 in the two exhibition games. But head coach Sean Miller said that Fogg’s struggles are more a product of Arizona’s offense rather than Fogg’s lack of effort.

“He hasn’t had very many good looks and that’s a function of our offense,” Miller said. “Our offense is really choppy. There’s not a real fluidity to our offense. Part of what we have to do as a team is put Kyle in a position to get good, open shots.”

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