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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats have questions, room for improvement

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Basketball victory against Humboldt State.

The Arizona basketball team figured something out in Tuesday’s 60-51 exhibition win over Humboldt State: That it doesn’t know much about itself.

Head coach Sean Miller played 10 different players, and each of them entered the game before the first half was a quarter of the way finished. Miller said that isn’t something that will continue once the regular season gets started on Monday.

“Part of what’s going to make us better is to play certain players more, certain players not at all,” Miller said. “And maybe make sure we have the right players at the right positions. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

Freshman forward Sidiki Johnson saw just eight minutes after playing 13 in Arizona’s exhibition opener against Seattle Pacific, a 69-68 loss. Senior guard Brendon Lavender saw his playing time more than double, jumping from eight minutes to 17.

But figuring out the rotation is just one thing that Arizona’s working through right now. Its players still need to get more comfortable with each other and get better at communication on the floor.

Freshman point guard Josiah Turner threaded the needle on several passes but finished the game with just three assists. Junior forward Solomon Hill said that’s a result of not being familiar with what some of Arizona’s players can or can’t do.

“Right now, he just needs to know his personnel on offense,” Hill said. “When teams give him an opportunity, he needs to shoot that more. He just has to pull up a little more and show that jumper.”
Arizona’s also adjusting to three veteran players — Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry — that are trying to learn new roles, something that’s going to take more time on the floor to figure out.

“Everybody’s not on the same page right now,” said Perry, who led Arizona with 12 points and 14 rebounds. “It’s hard having new guys coming in and having three new guys step up and be leaders. I definitely think we’ll have growing pains, but at the end of the day, we’ll be ready when it comes to it.”

The Wildcats are also trying to figure out what style of offense they’re going to run. Perry said that he views Arizona as a fast-paced, run n’ gun-style team, but Hill, who scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds, said that isn’t the case.

“I kind of laughed when he said that,” Hill said. “If we was run n’ gun, we’d score more than that. I think we need to take a note from (Seattle Pacific) and know that we have to run our stuff. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against.”

But even though there are a lot of uncertainties about how Arizona is going to play this season, Miller said that he only has one goal in mind.

“To keep getting better,” Miller said. “That’s really our quest.”

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