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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Future looks bright for returning players

    Arizonas Marcus Williams goes up for an off balance shot over Villanovas Will Sheridan during the second half of No. 8 seed Arizonas second round game against No. 1 seed Villanova, Sunday, March 19, 2006 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. Villanova beat Arizona 82-78, ending the Wildcats season at 20-13. Villanova will play No. 4 seed Boston College in the sweet 16. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s Marcus Williams goes up for an off balance shot over Villanova’s Will Sheridan during the second half of No. 8 seed Arizona’s second round game against No. 1 seed Villanova, Sunday, March 19, 2006 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. Villanova beat Arizona 82-78, ending the Wildcats’ season at 20-13. Villanova will play No. 4 seed Boston College in the sweet 16. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    Seniors


    Mustafa Shakur
    Shakur may test the NBA Draft waters, but chances are he’ll be back for his senior season. If the flashes of brilliance he showed in the NCAA Tournament are any indication, the point guard position should be safe in his hands for a fourth consecutive year.

    Arizona head coach Lute Olson said: “”Mustafa down the stretch played the best he’s ever played.””

    Ivan Radenovic

    Arizona’s most improved player since he stepped on campus during the second semester of his freshman season, Radenovic will carry the scoring load along with will-be sophomore forward Marcus Williams. He has been effective inside on the block and in the midrange game, but his most important asset is his knowledge of the game and ability to pass from the high post, creating opportunities for teammates.

    Radenovic will start at the power forward position and may play center when Arizona goes small.

    Olson said: “”When you take into account all of the things with Ivan having to come to this country – all of the cultural changes, the language change – the first year was really difficult for him, probably because he had to play against (former forward) Andre (Iguodala) and (departed senior guard) Hassan (Adams) every day.””

    Kirk Walters

    Although he played sparingly against Villanova, Walters’ improvement was noticeable as he made 26 starts and had a few big games, like his 18-point, eight-rebound performance against Oregon Feb. 9. If Walters falters, incoming freshman forward Chase Budinger (see below) could be ready to replace him in the starting lineup, causing Arizona to go small.

    Olson said: “”In the past, he’s talked about going home for the better part of the summer. Now, he wants to be here so that he can work on his game. He’s around 240 (pounds) now, which is up 30 from when he got here, but he needs to have a target of 15-20 more pounds between now and next year.””

    Juniors

    Daniel Dillon

    A defensive stopper, Dillon may see minutes at point guard and shooting guard. He will serve the role of departed senior guard Chris Rodgers as the team’s full-court pest. Offensively, Dillon is still hesitant to find his role in the team’s scheme.

    Olson said: “”(I’m) very happy with Daniel Dillon’s development. Early in the year, you would have had to take insurance if you were sitting in the stands to protect yourself from getting hit with errant passes. He got to the point where he was a very solid defender and did a good job

    offensively taking care of the ball.””

    Bret Brielmaier

    The walk-on forward scored a career-high 10 points against Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and has proven he can give Arizona minutes when needed. Look for him to continue coming in when the Wildcats are in need of energy and toughness.

    Olson said: “”Bret Brielmaier did an unbelievable job.””

    Sophomores

    Marcus Williams

    Don’t be surprised if Williams declares for the NBA Draft and later pulls his name out to return for one more season. As a freshman, Williams was arguably the best player on the team and undoubtedly the go-to guy down the stretch.

    Williams will likely get the bulk of his minutes at small forward but may have to guard big men defensively at times. It would be shocking if he isn’t the team’s leading scorer next season.

    Olson said: “”He’s so aware of the things that he needs to do that he can’t wait to start working on them. He’s asked Fendi (Onobun) if he wants to come up and spend some time in Seattle because they can work out up there against really good players. He’s just amazing.””

    Jawann McClellan

    After medically redshirting this past season, McClellan will battle for the shooting guard position along with Budinger. The key to the battle will be McClellan’s recovery from his wrist injury and the effects it will have on his shooting.

    Olson said: “”I frankly thought going into the year that he was going to be one of our leading scorers and leading rebounders because he’s so aggressive to the boards.””

    Mohamed Tangara

    Still a project in development, Tangara may see some minutes behind Walters. His defense, rebounding and physical play are already at a D-I level, but his offense is sorely lacking at this point.

    Olson said: “”With Mohamed it didn’t show with the amount of playing time that he got, but … defensively he’s always done a good job and he’s always been aggressive on the glass. His biggest thing is adjusting to offensive moves and items like balance. But I think he’ll be ready to step up big for us.””

    J.P. Prince

    Unhappy with his playing time, Prince’s lack of “”doing the little things”” has hurt his ability to stay on the floor. Prince can also play shooting guard and small forward.

    Olson said: “”Defense needs to improve, movement without the ball, it’s always a big adjustment for someone who has been a point guard in high school. … There’s no question in my mind he has the ability to play at the next level and be very successful.””

    Fendi Onobun

    The redshirt pulled, Onobun produced, coming off the bench to provide quality backup minutes for Olson this season.

    Olson said: “”I’m pleased with Fendi’s progress.””

    David Bagga

    The ultimate team player, chants of “”We want Bagga”” could be heard at any Arizona blowout win.

    Freshmen

    Chase Budinger (Carlsbad, Calif.) 6-foot-7, 190 pounds;

    Rivalshoops ranking No. 10

    A McDonald’s All-American and the top recruit coming in, Budinger may be the team’s best shooter and dunker in his freshman season. He will battle McClellan for the starting shooting guard spot and may wind up as the team’s second or third scoring option.

    Arizona fans could be hoping he’s not one and done after his freshman season.

    Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner said: “”He’s one of the top five players in the country. … Offensively he’s gifted.””

    Nic Wise (Kingwood, Texas) 5-foot-10, 175 pounds; Rivalshoops ranking No. 120

    A pass-first point guard, he committed to Arizona as a 15-year-old freshman. In his first three seasons, he led his high school to a combined record of 99-11.

    Pastner compares Wise to a younger version of former Wildcat Jason Gardner. Wise will likely be in a fight for the backup point guard position with J.P. Prince.

    Pastner said: “”He’s a winner. … He knows how to run a team. … He’s tough as nails.””

    Jordan Hill (Lenoir, NC) 6- foot-8, 210 pounds; Rivalshoops ranking No. 128

    Hill, who is from Georgia, is attending the Patterson School in North Carolina. Although he hasn’t been playing organized basketball against good competition for very long, Hill’s athleticism and potential are intriguing for a coach like Olson who has developed fringe guys into NBA players.

    Pastner said: “”His upside and potential are scary.””

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