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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hoops resting before Gonzaga contest

Gordon+Bates+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0AUniversity+of+Arizona+Mens+Basketball+versus+Northern+Arizona+University+at+McKale+Center+in+Tucson+Arizona+on+Saturday+December+3+2011.
Zachary Vito / Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona Mens Basketball versus Northern Arizona University at McKale Center in Tucson Arizona on Saturday December 3 2011.

Arizona is coming out of finals week with a few extra days of rest.

The Wildcats haven’t played since Saturday’s 63-47 win over Clemson, and won’t take the court again until this Saturday’s showdown with Gonzaga in Seattle.

“It’s good to get away for a couple days and get some fresh air away from basketball sometimes,” senior forward Jesse Perry said. “It’s important. And then come back stronger.”

Perry, one of the team’s five seniors, is working to continue his progress at the center position after entering the season expecting to see more time at small forward. But Arizona’s lack of a post threat has forced Perry back inside, where he’s become the Wildcats’ leading rebounder and third-leading scorer.

Freshman forward Angelo Chol is another player that’s been thrown into the fire as the Wildcats look for an inside presence both offensively and defensively. Miller said that Chol is starting to get more comfortable offensively, and that’s started to shine through in the way he practices.

“We’re moving Angelo’s role and expanding it,” said Miller, adding that he wants Chol to play around 15 minutes a game. “Not just because we’re playing Gonzaga but I think his recent play and his practices he’s settling in and more comfortable. It makes our team bigger, especially if he continues to rebound and block shots.”

With a week between games, Arizona has had more time to focus on practices. With just three games left before Pac-12 Conference play begins, Miller said he’s working on addressing weaknesses as they continue to face tougher, bigger teams.

“You have to stay true to who you are as a team,” Miller said. “If you start changing too much you won’t be good at anything. For us to pick up full court or be able to disrupt a well organized, great execution half court offensive team is smart for us because we’re not as big of a team.”

Offensively, the team is working on stabilizing at the point guard position. Freshman Josiah Turner is back with the team after a one-game suspension, but has struggled with the “everyday” effort, both on and off the court, according to Miller.

“He’s doing well,” Miller said. “He’s had a couple good days of practice. It was good to see him back out there against Clemson. He’s doing a good job. It’s always really difficult for me to suspend a player, because the minute you do so, the player is put into a category of malcontent. Josiah Turner is not a malcontent.”

Turner has been splitting time with sophomore Jordin Mayes, who Miller said will continue to be in the Wildcats’ starting lineup. Freshman guard Nick Johnson has also found his way into the point guard rotation as the Wildcats’ third option.

“We’re not really trying to debut Nick at the point guard as much as just teach him and develop him at both guard positions because that’s in his future and also our program’s,” Miller said.

Parrom progressing

With conference play quickly approaching, non-conference opponents have given the Wildcats adequate competition as well as time to find confidence and adjust to new roles on the court. Junior Kevin Parrom’s recovery from a gunshot wound late in the offseason is also continuing to progress.

“I’d say about 85 percent physically, mentally probably about 75 percent,” Parrom said when asked how healthy he is. “You know just getting back on the court, used to playing again. When my number’s called I get out there and play and I just try to give my best effort. I just have to play as hard as I can.”

Fogg locking down

Miller has taken this week of consistent practicing to re-evaluate his players and determine readiness for Pac-12 opponents. Returning players are once again looking to rise to the occasion as leaders both on and off the court.

“Kyle (Fogg) is leading by example right now because, to me, he’s really bought into being an elite level defender,” Miller said. “He takes a lot of pride in his own performance. That has a way of being able to spread around his teammates. It’s hard for a younger guy to not give great effort in practice when they’re alongside Kyle Fogg on this team.”

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