Arizona practiced this weekend in front of former wildcat Channing Frye and here are PGU’s observations from the practices.
The first starting 5 was: Lyons, Nick, Solo, Grant, Kaleb
The second 5 was: Jordin, Gabe, Max, Brandon, Chol
The third 5 was: TJ, Jordin, Solo/Max, and then Korcheck, Grant, Chol, and Ashley rotating at the post positions. Chol got some 4 work in, Grant got some 5 work in.
Nick Johnson: Arizona fans likely recall a few momentum changing blocks by Johnson last season, along with his near game tying tip dunk against Washington. With the number of offensive options Arizona will have this year, Johnson won’t have to force shots or play out of position. If he can focus on crashing the boards and cutting to the basket, Johnson will be able to make the big plays that can help change a game. With the attention Arizona’s post players will receive, Johnson will have a number of chances at alley oops, tip dunks, and weak side blocks.
Mark Lyons: Lyons can get to the rim any time he wants and usually finishes. He is very confident in his game, both driving and shooting. He has range past the three point line and won’t hesitate to take his shot. Lyons has also been very good at finding the open man in practice. He has very quick hands and ‘is going to be a terror on defense. Very vocal. He’s a leader, but doesn’t yell. Almost coaches his teammates up instead of knocking them down.
Solomon Hill: Has every facet of an offensive game. Can shoot the three, can shoot the mid-range, has a pull-up game, and can get to the basket. Plus rebounds very well. Now it’s a matter of doing what’s working on any given night and not trying to force something that isn’t. Also, very vocal.
Grant Jerrett: Can stroke it from outside and can get hot. If he’s in the game as the 5, the opposing 5 won’t be able to guard him. He might struggle guarding bigger 5’s like Josh Smith or Jordan Bachynski. But he can hold his ground with Aziz N’Diaye or the Wear twins. He is a cerebral player that works very hard.
Kevin Parrom: Because of his versatility, Parrom is a player than can provide whatever is needed. Whether it is pulling down a rebound and leading the break, locking up the opponent’s best guard, or making key three pointers, Parrom can change the game from anywhere on the floor. Parrom’s toughness is contagious, and he can provide the energy Arizona will need to make it through rough stretches. We know that if Parrom is open, he will shoot it. But when Parrom is in the game, it seems to change the whole lineup. Along with Lyons and Hill, Parrom will be counted on as a leader of this team.
Kaleb Tarczewski: He is very strong and nobody on this team can contain him physically. When he gets the ball in close, he doesn’t miss very much. Free throws may be a struggle though and will hopefully be rectified as he will be getting fouled a lot. He does a very good job of getting position down low and when his teammates get him a good pass. He’s going to be tough to stop.
Jordin Mayes: Is capable of knocking down the outside shot and every once in awhile he makes a good pass. He should be a solid contributor and role player this season.
Gabe York: His defense isn’t terrible, but he needs to work on not getting screened and not losing his man running around and coming off screens. He has a smooth shot that will be called upon to help out during the season. He does a nice job getting to the rim and isn’t afraid of contact when he gets there, just needs to get a little stronger to play through that contact and get the ball in the basket.
Brandon Ashley: He’s extremely athletic and does a great job of rebounding, but right now is much better in transition and off of rebounds as opposed to being a true post player. Can knock down the midrange jumper comfortably and is a great FT shooter.
Angelo Chol: Although he’s ripped, he’s not as strong as he looks. Or rather, he’s not as strong as Kaleb. Not saying he isn’t strong. He has a hard time containing Kaleb but is physical enough to irritate him. There are very few post players Chol will not be able to guard. Chol is very aggressive on defense and the boards and his energy will be infectious. He can knock down a midrange jumper, but he will likely be the fifth scoring option when he is on the floor. Knocking down a wide open jumper and scoring off putbacks/free throws will be all Arizona needs from him offensively. He’s worth twice that on defense.
TJ McConnell: A very similar player to Mark Lyons in that he will wreak havoc on the defensive end. He can get to any spot he wants on the floor and makes excellent decisions. He waits to see what the defensive gives him before deciding what to do, then takes what the defense gives him. He sees the floor very well and will be the best true PG Arizona has had in a long time.
Matt Korcheck: This guy understands his role and plays within it, which will be very valuable. He’s quick for his size, sets screens, plays defense, and rebounds. He does the dirty work and relishes it. He doesn’t make the same mistake more than once. He won’t be flashy and his contributions won’t show up in the box score, but he will be a very important part of the team.
This team should not get out rebounded ever because every single player on the team can rebound the ball. They all do a great job crashing the offensive glass as well. Even though this team had the Bahamas and those practices, there was very little of players not knowing where to go. Everyone seems to have a very good grasp of the offense and now the coaches can actually coach basketball as opposed to the system. They can focus on fundamentals and principles that they couldn’t focus on as much since they were still trying to get everybody to be in the right spot.
Also, the team seems much more focused. Last year, players joked around and fooled around during practice. This team is much more serious. It’s not that they’re not having fun, but they are all business and intense and that’s a good thing. They look very polished and poised and put together, much more so than a team in October should look. Much more so than last year’s team looked in December. They are well ahead of the curve.
When this team gets hot from outside, look out. With so many players capable of knocking down the three-ball, it’s going to be infectious and Arizona will never be out of a game with that ability. Further, Arizona can put teams away quickly if they get hot.
Here’s a fun fact. Miller shoots FT’s when the team is working on running their fast break. The team will take it out after a Miller made FT and go. He missed one on Saturday and brought it back. He then said sorry and that it was the first time that had happened in a year and a half.
No one gives you an insider look into Arizona Basketball like PointGuardU.