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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


T.J. McConnell named to Cousy Award watch list

Tyler Baker
Layla Nicks / The Daily Wildcat Rick McCollum drives students around the Outer Campus Loop on the Cat Tran Friday Oct. 17, 2014. Rick usually works Thursdays and Fridays.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday that Arizona men’s basketball senior point guard T.J. McConnell was named to the watch list for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. McConnell is one of 36 D-1 point guards named to the watch list.

Along with Delon Wright of Utah and Chasson Randle of Stanford, McConnell is one of three Pac-12 Conference players on the list. Last season, McConnell was one of 20 semifinalists for the Cousy Award, which ended up going to Shabazz Napier of Connecticut.

After sitting out the 2012-2013 season due to NCAA transfer rules, McConnell guided Arizona to a 33-5 record last year in his first action as a Wildcat. The 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 8.4 points per game, 5.3 assists per game, 3.6 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game.

His ability to orchestrate head coach Sean Miller’s offense while simultaneously hounding opposing point guards on defense is what makes McConnell so effective.

After this year’s annual Red-Blue game, Miller said he has complete trust in his point guard’s leadership and playing abilities. Having McConnell back in the fold as the starting point guard means Miller returns his floor general, something that hadn’t happened in his first five seasons at Arizona.

The award, named after legendary Boston Celtics point guard Bob Cousy, has been given out to the best point guard in the nation every year since 2004.

Wildcat roundup

With a glut of former Wildcats scattered around the NBA, including a couple pairs of teammates, it’s no surprise Arizona basketball never stops.

Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon have teamed up in Florida this year for the Orlando Magic. Frye starts at power forward while Gordon has backed up Frye at the four. Both have put up unspectacular numbers so far, with Frye averaging 8.8 and Gordon just 4.6.

Jason Terry and Nick Johnson are teammates on the Houston Rockets, but the Rockets have only received contributions from Terry. Due to injury, Johnson has only played one game while Terry has emerged as a scoring option off the bench.

Possibly the highest profile former Wildcat, Andre Iguodala has been demoted from his starting role into a more sixth-man type role on the Golden State Warriors under new coach and Arizona great Steve Kerr. Despite the Warriors being a perfect 3-0, Iguodala has seen a significant drop in his scoring.

Calm before the storm

Just three days remain until Arizona opens up the newly renovated McKale Center for the first true game action of the season. Fans will get four opportunities to catch the Wildcats in person during November.

However, home action won’t heat up until early to mid-December when both Gonzaga and Michigan come to McKale Center.

ESPN ranks four Wildcats

ESPN releases an annual list of the top-100 collegiate basketball players in the nation in inverse order in groups of 20. So far, ESPN has released players 100 to 20.

In those 80 players, four Arizona Wildcats were ranked. Kaleb Tarczewski came in at No. 47, T.J. McConnell came in at No. 36, Stanley Johnson came in at No. 28 and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came in at No. 24.


Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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