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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Commentary: Arizona’s Big Ten shows offensive balance

    There’s a pretty popular T-shirt available anywhere clever-yet-subtle articles of clothing are made for Los Angeles Lakers fans. In large print, it reads:

    Kobe &

    Artest &

    Pau &

    Fisher &

    Bynum

    The shirt is simple, but highly effective in its message. Although the Lakers are well known for their productive “”Bench Mob,”” these five are the ones who get it going on the court—the real faces of the team. With two players listed by their first names and three listed by their last, they have become family members and have gained fans’ trust, whether they win or lose.

    Someone with a little bit of time and a T-shirt press could make a similar shirt for the UA men’s basketball team, though it would require a front and a back.

    Front:

    Wise &

    Horne &

    Fogg &

    D-Will &

    Momo &

    Back:

    Solo &

    Kyryl &

    KP3 &

    Tree &

    Lavender

    With the Wildcats so dependent on the offensive production of Nic Wise, Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill last season, Arizona had its Big Three. This season it’s the Big Ten.

    UA head coach Sean Miller uses a large rotation, but it’s not too large. It’s just right. In fact, the squad is able to balance itself out with each player having his own specialty on the scoring end of the floor.

    And sometimes roles are switched up. Wise—the senior leader of this season’s brotherhood—is fully capable of hitting buzzer beaters in consecutive games. He has the ability to score 30 points when he’s on fire, but when he’s not, other players have his back.

    It’s a brotherhood thing. It’s a balance thing.

    “”That balance is something that is real important and will help us become more consistent and not needed Nic to do everything,”” Miller said.

    Maybe it’s freshman Momo Jones hitting back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime to help the Wildcats beat Lipscomb 83-82.

    Maybe it’s sophomore Kyle Fogg exploding for a career-high 25 points on the road against UCLA.

    Every player in the rotation has the ability to score when needed.

    Alex Jacobson, the 6-foot-11 center appropriately nicknamed Tree, has a new nickname from his teammates this season: Swish. The redshirt sophomore has netted 7 of 8 shots off the bench.

    Jamelle Horne has his monster blocks on defense, which lead to monster dunks on offense—dunks that make for a sweet combination when his 3-pointers are added in the mix.

    Then there’s Solomon Hill’s athleticism, Kyryl Natyazhko’s heart and Brendon Lavender’s hustle.

    Oh, and that freshman named Kevin Parrom who has only played five collegiate games after sitting Arizona’s first 10 out because of a foot injury—best believe he’s just getting started.

    Like Ron Jeremy, any Wildcat can score at any time.

    That’s the beauty of Arizona’s Big Ten. Four players scored in double digits in Friday night’s two-point loss to Washington State. The other five players registered at least 3 points. (Jacobson didn’t play because of back spasms.)

    “”We shared the ball good, we just didn’t get any stops,”” said Williams, who scored 13 points in just 17 minutes of work against the Cougars because of foul trouble. “”Offense, we’re doing pretty good. Everybody’s shooting and getting good numbers and stuff.””

    Even sophomore guard Garland Judkins was able to contribute in the six games Miller played him. He scored 7 points in 8 minutes at Oklahoma. But Judkins, who will transfer to the University of Texas-San Antonio, was never quite able to crack the unwritten 10-man rotation.

    Even in blowouts, Miller seldom goes past a 10-player rotation. Walk-ons Max Wiepking and Ross Davidson haven’t seen a single minute on the floor this season, even though Arizona has lost by as many as 30 points and has won by as many as 17. DJ Shumpert (seven games) and Dondre Wise (four games) aren’t far off.

    But obviously the rotation is up to Miller, who is a big reason why the Wildcats are so offensively balanced this season. All nine players in Friday’s game played at least 10 minutes. The team demonstrates balance in almost every aspect.

    At least for now, Arizona’s Big Ten is pretty much set in stone.

    So, who owns a T-shirt press?

    Lance Madden is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu. Follow him at Twitter.com/LanceMadden.

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