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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Anderson, Tollefsen and Allen mark new generation of transfers for Wildcats

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Arizona forward Ryan Anderson (12) leaps for the rebound despite forward Mark Tollefsen’s (23) defense in McKale Center during the 2015 Red-Blue Game on Oct. 17. Anderson finished the scrimmage with 15 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Fans and media alike were used to seeing the same faces coming back and playing for Sean Miller’s Wildcats for the past two Arizona basketball seasons.

With the exceptions of Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson, Arizona saw players come back for two or three years, building a foundation that fans came to recognize on a consistent basis.

This year’s team features almost a complete turnaround of what we have seen in the past. Arizona is now fielding three transfer players: seniors Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen, and junior Kadeem Allen. While new to the Arizona uniform, these players are far from inexperienced in the game of college basketball.

Anderson began his collegiate career at Boston College, where he played three seasons. Anderson averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds and was Honorable Mention All-ACC in his junior year. The 6-foot-9 forward transferred to Arizona last season and sat out due to NCAA transfer rules.

Anderson has earned nothing but high praise from Miller through Arizona’s off and preseasons. Miller said Anderson earned the team’s gold jersey—which is given to the player who performs the best statistically during practice—for the past six weeks.

Anderson said he is just looking forward to getting back on the court.

“I’m just ready for the games to start,” Anderson said at the team’s media day. “It’s funny, every time I put this jersey on, I never sweat in it. Every one of these guys I consider like my best friend. I have never been on a team, personally, that I’m so close to.”

Anderson continued his strong preseason during the Wildcats’ exhibition game against Chico State. He finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and three blocks.

Allen is also a transfer student. Allen used last year as a redshirt season after he transferred from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. The guard was named the National JUCO Player of the Year while averaging 25.9 points and 5.9 assists per game at Hutchinson.

When it comes to this team, Allen said he wants to help in any way he can.

“[I want to] come in and help the team on defense or offense—being more vocal, more coaching on the court,” Allen said. “If that’s what I have to do to win, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Tollefsen is a graduate transfer from the University of San Francisco, where he played for three full seasons and redshirted for another.

The 6-foot-9 forward won the dunk contest at the Red-Blue Game and showcased to everyone how versatile he is, going 5-for-5 from the field for 13 points with eight rebounds and four assists.

“For me, in the past, I’ve played in environments like this, but it’s always been against me,” Tollefsen said after the Red-Blue Game. “So it was nice to have a crowd that’s for me. It was a great experience.”

Each of Miller’s three transfers brings a wealth of experience to the court, which has been shown early on. Anderson, Tollefsen and Allen were all dubbed starters in Arizona’s exhibition.

The only question surrounding this group is what cohesiveness they will gain in the short time they have together. Tollefsen and Anderson will be done after this season, so now is the time for these guys to make a statement.

From the early glimpses, each of these three knows how to play defense, which alone allows them to thrive in Miller’s system. Allen displayed sharp passing during the exhibition, while Tollefsen and Anderson proved they could score.

They may be new to Arizona, but be aware: these transfers will give other teams headaches all season, and Wildcat fans will be glad these three chose McKale Center over any other venue to display their skills.


Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.


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