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5 Burning Questions for Red-Blue Game

October 15th, 2014 News 6 Comments

Ivy Hunt-Ashram

We’re so close. With the season right around the corner, fans can almost taste it.

Luckily we’ll get an amuse bouche this Saturday when the first glimpse of the Cats will be revealed for the annual Red-Blue Game. What should the Wildcat faithful be looking for this weekend? Here are five burning questions heading into the Red-Blue Game, otherwise known as Christmas in October.

1. Does Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have a jumpshot? Last year Hollis-Jefferson had a brilliant freshman season, proving to be a dynamic, athletic force with the ball. He was fierce attacking the rim, and had the look of a player who could blossom into a star.

But his one Achilles’ heel is and always has been the ability to shoot the ball with distance. It allows defenders to sag off, thereby limiting Hollis-Jefferson’s greatest strength of attacking the rim.

So will RHJ be improved enough to keep defenses honest? That might be the biggest question of the year, and one of the factors in whether the Wildcats can put together a National Championship run.

2. Who will start at shooting guard? While the other four starting positions have clear front runners, the competition at shooting guard is a bit more fierce.

Will it be Gabe York, the junior with the sweet three point shot? Or will it be Stanley Johnson, the freshman phenom who will likely be playing NBA preseason games this time next year? Or could it be Kadeem Allen, the mysterious junior college transfer who just happened to be his league’s player of the year?

No matter who earns the spot, it’s clear that Arizona has a variety of options at shooting guard and can frustrate opponents with different looks.

3. Will Kaleb Tarczewski finally get the ball? Miller hinted at it in the media day press conference, but Tarczewski has been criminally underused in his time at Arizona. Seven footers need to get the ball, and though you can’t argue with the results, Zeus deserved more looks.

Could this be the year we see Tarczewski truly dominate the interior? While he’s always been a great rebounder, Tarczewski has actually expanded his game outside the paint and can now shoot the midrange shot. This added dimension to his game is a good sign for a potentially expanded offensive role.

4. Who will be Arizona’s go to scorer? Arizona hasn’t had a truly dominant, go to scorer since Derrick Williams. And frankly, they haven’t needed one.

But there will be games when the Wildcats will have to manufacture points in crunch time. Which player will carry that burden?

Last year it was Nick Johnson. Brandon Ashley seems like a natural fit with his diverse offensive game, but he’ll be rusty to start the year after missing the end of last season. Could it be McConnell, the maestro behind the offense who carrier the Cats in the clutch? Only time will tell.

5. Where will Arizona’s three point shooting come from? This is perhaps the biggest question that comes up about the 2014-15 Wildcats. They are talented at every position, they have great height and strength, and excellent guards. But can they make defenses respect the three point line?

It’s a legitimate question, but one that shouldn’t worry Wildcat fans. Arizona has capable three point shooters, they just aren’t proven yet.

York and Ashley have already shown it on the court, and McConnell surely passed up some attempts last year to facilitate the offense. Johnson could also play a role as a long range shooter, as could reserve Elliott Pitts.

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6 Responses to “5 Burning Questions for Red-Blue Game”

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  1. LWash

    October 16, 2014

    This is a nice article. The interesting thing is to see how Sean Miller uses each of the players to the best advantage of the team. If they buy into that Arizona will be a phenomenal team this year.

  2. Jeff

    October 16, 2014

    I love Zeus, but I don’t think he has been criminally underused at Arizona.

  3. Papadeuce

    October 16, 2014

    Lots of questions going into the season but they’re all good questions to have. Imagine the questions teams like ASU have headed into the season!!

  4. Portland Catfan

    October 16, 2014

    I always like your writing. And I agree that you have identified 5 significant pre-season questions. But none of these will be answered on Saturday.

    Let’s just have fun seeing Stanley, PJC, Kadeem, and Dusan in Arizona uniforms (and Victor and Anderson if they’re suited up). Let’s see how Brandon’s foot holds up and get a peek at the new versions of RHJ, Zeus, TJ, York, and Pitts.

    But let’s not expect any definitive answers yet. After all, Sidiki Johnson was the star of his RB game.

  5. nightwave

    October 17, 2014

    Pretty good article, but some things are not accurate. I like Zeus too, but he has not “always been a great rebounder”. Six rebounds per game for a center is not a “great” number. The question of Arizona’s ‘go to scorer’ has been debated before. You say that our system doesn’t rely on a number one scorer, with the great results we have through our balanced approach without a ‘star’. So why bring up the ‘go to scorer’ all over again? We will go to the guy who is open. To say that our balance was wonderfully effective but ask who will the go to scored be?, in all situations?, is an oxymoron. If our strength is balance, then our game winner comes from the balanced mantra. Swing it to the guy who’s open, like we do all during the game. Dance with the girl you came with. Nick was a clutch end of game free throw shooter, but not an end of game scorer.

    Comparing this team to last years team is necessary, but expecting to have to cover for what were perceived necessities is not sound reasoning. Saying we have to cover for Nick isn’t true. We’re not going to find a guy with his skill set, like his vertical leap and infectious personality. Stanley Johnson has his own amazing skill set, some of which Nick didn’t have. Stanley’s better than Nick, probably a lot better. Get used to that.

    We had way more perceived losses when Soloman, Lyons, Parrish, etc left. Looking at the results after that exodus shows that we don’t need to replace what other guys did. We are a clearly better team than last years. Ashley’s return, Stanley being clearly better than Gordon at the free throw line, and in a number of ways, with yes, a different skill set, and now to be able to see RHJ in all his glory as a starter? I believe he has the leaping ability of Gordon. A sophomore RHJ compared to a freshman Gordon will show that RHJ is better. The ever improving York! The guy people disregard! The guy that really has an all around game and shoots and drives with lots of flourish is a nasty pain in the opposition’s side. This seasoned kid will no longer be nervous on the court. He has verve, and he’s such a good sub, or starter. His demeanor is level headed. How will we replace a guy like York one day?

  6. thunderhorse

    October 19, 2014

    Would also like to add:

    Did the recruits really enjoy themselves? How was the crowd and the atmosphere? How entertaining were the festivities? Besides the red blue game was there anything else that went on, like a slam dunk competition or any ceremonial things? Were there any pros in attendance? Hopefully we’ll get a full detailed report on it from PGU later.

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