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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hoops notebook

    UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt, left, ties up Arizona’s Solomon Hill, right, during the second half at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles, California, Saturday, January 2, 2010. Arizona defeated UCLA, 77-63.

    Following a 56-50 loss to USC Thursday and an impressive 77-63 win against UCLA Saturday to begin the Pacific 10 Conference schedule, the Arizona men’s basketball team reassured itself about what it already knew – the Wildcats have the potential to surprise on any given night.

    “”The season is coming along, and it’s kind of hard because we learned a lesson after every loss,”” said freshman forward Solomon Hill. “”In some games it’s like, ‘You’re right there, you’re right there.’

    “”‘If you could have just won a couple games, what would people think about you? How would they look at the team?’ We’ve learned from that.””

    The most significant improvement for the Wildcats (7-7, 1-1 Pac-10) has been in the development of head coach Sean Miller’s offense.

    A newfound confidence in Miller’s system shone brightly in the second half of the USC game when Arizona fought back from a large deficit to make it a game on the road. Then, that momentum continued through the first half against UCLA at the famed Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

    As Arizona built a 15-point, first-half lead that UCLA couldn’t whittle away, Miller even went as far as saying that it was “”the best that we’ve played when you consider our ball movement and the way we played on defense.””

    After 14 games, his team is finally finding a rhythm.

    “”We’re not running as many plays as we used to because we know what to do now,”” Hill said of his team’s offensive improvements. “”We flow into it. Everybody just reads everybody.””

    While guard Kyle Fogg drove the lane at will en route to a career-high 25 points, senior point guard Nic Wise settled for just 8 points in his 36 minutes. With players like forward Jamelle Horne and Fogg scoring, the pressure off Wise will become a huge advantage in Arizona’s development.

    “”If you follow our season from this point on, it’ll be interesting to chart the balance that we have on offense from here forward,”” said Miller, whose past offenses while coaching at Xavier always leaned on balanced scoring. “”I believe Kyle (Fogg) can become a double-figure scorer.

    “”That would give us four double-figure scorers,”” he added. “”That balance is something that is real important and will help us become more consistent and not needing Nic to do everything.””

    Who’s in, who’s out?

    Freshman guard Momo Jones will be reinstated after a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules, Miller said.

    “”To run a program, to build, to improve, everybody’s got to be on the same page,”” Miller said. “”When an individual isn’t, I think it’s our responsibility to right the ship and make sure that his attitude’s great.

    “”Momo has learned his lesson,”” he added, noting that Jones has participated and played well in every practice since his suspension.

    Meanwhile, little-used sophomore Garland Judkins has traveled to Texas after a family death. Reports by the Arizona Daily Star and had sources saying Judkins would transfer to the University of Texas-San Antonio, but Miller said a decision of that matter has not been made.

    “”If anything further develops where he wouldn’t be a part of our future, I’ll make sure that we have a release,”” Miller said. “”We’re not at that point right now. So right now he’s just home dealing with his grandfather’s passing.””

    Also, injured center Alex Jacobson is doubtful for the Washington games this weekend due to back spasms, but after an MRI determined it was not disc related.

    “”His back is real slowly getting better,”” Miller said. “”We don’t believe it’s anything disc related. He’s had an MRI, he’s had all the tests. It’s just someone of his size who has back spasms, it’s not as simple as getting back out there.””

    Former Trojan recruits react to USC sanctions

    Whether they make it to the postseason or not, some Arizona men’s basketball players are thankful they still have a chance.

    Hill, Derrick Williams and Jones—all freshmen—were likely headed to play for the USC Trojans. But after a coaching change and then an NCAA investigation that eventually led to self-imposed sanctions that includes a postseason ban, the trio found themselves at Arizona.

    “”I know some of those guys over there that are devastated,”” Hill said, “”guys that came down with the new coach and jelled together really quickly.

    “”It hurts the Pac-10,”” he added. “”It just let’s me know I made a great decision.””

    Another player from the Los Angeles area, Williams said he felt for a USC team that he respects greatly after his Arizona team lost to the Trojans at the Galen Center.

    “”Like (USC redshirt senior Mike) Gerrity, he just wants to get out there and play,”” Williams said, also noting he and Hill especially feel bad for their friend, freshman Evan Smith, who will also miss out on a once-possible postseason.


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