While spooky things are known to happen on Halloween, don’t expect Arizona to be haunted in its opening exhibition game against Division II program Humboldt State. The 2012-13 Cats simply have too much size and strength down low to undergo the same kind of early collapse that last year’s team experienced when it played a forgettable exhibition against Seattle Pacific.
Thanks to the strongest recruiting class in school history, Arizona will no longer have to worry about post play. Of the three five-star freshmen, Grant Jerrett has perhaps transitioned best to the college level. The fact that he has worn the Gold Jersey (the honorary jersey given for outstanding practice performances) on numerous occasions proves he has quickly established himself as a go-to-guy in the eyes of the coaching staff. Expect to see Jerrett make a push for the starting lineup.
Whether Jerrett will be slotted at the power forward or center position is a question that remains unanswered. The starting post could include one of the other two highly touted incoming big men, Brandon Ashley or Kaleb Tarczewski, while sophomore Angelo Chol is yet another possibility. He can provide Arizona with a decisive defensive advantage with his shot blocking abilities and has a year of experience under his belt.
It is a dilemma, but one any coach would salivate over. Each of the freshmen post players bring unique attributes to the table, giving Arizona a dynamic inside attack with plenty of options.
Jerrett should provide a consistent scoring threat from anywhere on the court. He can dupe defenders down low, knock down mid-range shots with ease, and has been one of the team’s top threats from outside.
Tarczewski has sky high pro potential with his 7 foot frame. At his seven foot height, “Zeus” has the rare ability to control the paint. Once he gains a better hook shot and adjusts to the physicality of college play, there’s no telling what he can do.
Then there’s Ashley. When he plays up to his fullest abilities, he can look as dominant as any freshman in the country. He is the most versatile of the group while still being a fierce interior player.
And there’s also Arizona’s most senior post player, Chol, who has sculpted his physique in the offseason. There are few teams in the nation with as much depth and talent in the paint as Arizona, and that’s something that hasn’t been said for quite some time.
As the season progresses, Arizona’s post players will become even more polished and cohesive as a unit. For the rest of the Pac-12 conference and the country, that’s a scary thought.