Since coming to Arizona 5 years ago, Sean Miller has established himself as one of the preeminent coaches in all of college basketball. Despite inheriting a program in turmoil, his success on the court has turned the program back into a perennial National Championship contender.
Here’s a look at what the roster might look like for an All-Miller Era team, dating back to his first season in 2009-2010.
Point Guard: Nic Wise – Wise logged an ironman-like 32.9 minutes per game his senior year, shouldering much of the load on offense due to the team’s inexperience. He was also clutch down the stretch, hitting numerous late game shots to help buoy Arizona’s record in Miller’s rookie season. Without Wise, who could have transferred elsewhere for his senior year, Arizona would have been one of the worst teams in the Pac-10 that season.
Wise led the team during the 2009-2010 season with 14.4 points per game. He also had four games with over 20 points, and two with 30.
Shooting Guard: Nick Johnson – Over Johnson’s three years at Arizona, he developed into the Pac-12 Player of the Year and helped Arizona to 83 wins. Of his 108 career games, he started 107 of them. Johnson also became one of the country’s elite defenders, totaling 137 steals or 1.3 per game. He led Arizona with 16.3 points in his final season.
Johnson’s career embodied everything that was the backbone of Miller teams: defense, versatility, and unselfishness. After securing a multiple year contract with the Houston Rockets, Johnson is sure to go down as one of the best Wildcats ever, regardless of coach.
Small Forward: Solomon Hill – A four year player, Hill started over 120 games in his career and contributed in a variety of statistical categories. As part of Miller’s inaugural recruiting class, Hill’s production over four years helped lay the foundation for Arizona’s title run this year.
During his upperclassman years, Hill averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1 steal per game.
Power Forward: Derick Williams – The biggest star of Miller’s tenure at Arizona, Williams exploded onto the national scene and brought Arizona with him on a magical Elite 8 run during his sophomore campaign.
Williams put up a red hot 19.5 points per game during his sophomore year, to go along with 8.3 rebounds and 59.5% shooting from the field. What made his second year even more brilliant was the addition of the three point shot to his game, hitting 56.8% of his 74 attempts. The momentum Arizona had from their surprising tournament run was indirectly responsible for the Wildcats’ recruiting success in recent years.
Center: Kaleb Tarczewski – A true 7 footer, Tarczewski came into the program with the looks of an excellent college player and he is on his way to achieving his potential. Playing on some of the deepest and most talented rosters in Arizona history, Tarczewski has held the interior and been Arizona’s most reliable post presence over his first two seasons.
As a junior, Tarczewski has a chance to add a special chapter to his Arizona legacy. As one of the most experienced players on the team, Tarczewski will look to lead the Cats to another championship this season and could emerge as one of the top centers in the nation.