In recent years the Wildcats have been known for being balanced, dynamic teams that get contributions from a variety of players. This year should be no different, as the Wildcats will field a roster deep at multiple positions and laden with star talent.
Part of the fun in having such a balanced roster is predicting how it all might shake out. Here’s our early look at how Arizona’s players might fare statistically. Disagree? Share your thoughts with other Wildcat fans in our forum.
TJ McConnell, PG: 9.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.8 spg, 33 mpg
McConnell is a lock to play heavy minutes this season, as he’ll likely be on the court whenever possible outside of blow outs and short breathers. That means we can expect to see similar statistical production to last year, with incremental improvements due to experience, maturity, and increased chemistry. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see McConnell step up on offense and average double digit scoring figures, though his primary focus will once again be on setting his teammates up with assists and racking up steals with his tough minded defense.
Stanley Johnson, SG/SF/PF: 12.75 ppg, 6.75 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.2 3pg, 32 mpg
Everyone is excited to see what the freshman phenom can do, and by all accounts Johnson should thrive in whatever role he is asked to play this season. Chances are he will match up with both perimeter players and post players, giving him unique statistical opportunity. Expect a well rounded line from the Stanimal, with significant contributions in points and rebounds. Johnson will also provide an extra long range shooter to stretch the floor, and should be a solid shooter from beyond the arc.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SG/SF/PF: 11.0 ppg, 7.25 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.3 bpg, 50% FG, 33 mpg
Like Johnson, Hollis-Jefferson will slide into the lineup anywhere from shooting guard to power forward depending on the opponent’s personnel. Stepping into a starting role will allow RHJ’s game to blossom, and his multi-dimensional talent will be on full display. There will be plenty of games where Hollis-Jefferson chips in double digit rebounds or helps facilitate the offense with a flurry of assists, but his defensive ability will also manifest in the box score. Hollis-Jefferson will likely average over 1 steal and 1 block per game, and could lead Arizona in blocks for a second year.
With more perimeter shooters on the roster this year, Hollis-Jefferson will be able to focus on attacking the rim where he was an elite finisher last year. Expect the sophomore to once again produce a high field goal percentage. Hollis-Jefferson will be relied upon heavily this year for his defensive versatility, so he appears in line for big minutes which should result in a very diverse stat line.
Brandon Ashley, PF/C: 13.25 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.3 3pg, 52% FG, 28 mpg
Ashley’s return to the court will be a huge celebration for Arizona, giving them one of the most offensively talented players in the country. His ability to score efficiently in the paint and also shoot the three point shot should make him Arizona’s most consistent scorer, while his offensive rebounding ability will keep his rebound average him on a roster with many excellent rebounders. Ashley may play the center position to spell Kaleb Tarczewski at times, but expect him to do most of his damage as an inside-out power forward.
Kaleb Tarczewski, C: 10.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 59% FG, 77% FT, 28 mpg
As one of few true centers in college basketball, Tarczewski will be an imposing force in the paint. On another deep roster, he may not be an offensive focal point but his ability to score from close to the basket will be vital in freeing up Arizona’s perimeter attack. Count on Tarczewski breaking the double digit scoring mark as a junior, while also providing excellent free throw shooting for a big man. Tarczewski’s ability to convert from the free throw stripe will make him an important weapon in breaking down the opponent’s defense.
Gabe York, SG: 8.5 ppg, 1.5 3pg, 22 mpg
While there is some uncertainty to what York’s role may be this season, we can be sure that he will be a three point threat when he is on the court. If York earns a large share of playing time in practice, he could develop into Arizona’s best perimeter shooter and could put up significant scoring numbers. However with a crowded backcourt rotation York will need to fight to secure his role and inconsistency could lower his season averages.
Kadeem Allen, SG: 6.5 ppg, 18 mpg
The battle between the junior college transfer Allen and the veteran York will be one of the most tightly contested position battles on the roster. Like York, Allen is a talented scorer who could provide offensive spark if he were to earn significant minutes. As more of a slasher than a long range shooter, you can expect Allen to do most of his work off the dribble. This could potentially make for a nice co-existence with York, who is more of a spot up three point shooter.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, PG: 3.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 10 mpg
Jackson-Cartwright will enter the program as a reserve to to McConnell at the point guard position, meaning he won’t necessarily see a lot of action outside of blow outs. But as he becomes more comfortable on the court, you can expect his natural play-making skills to shine. As a cerebral floor leader, Jackson-Cartwright should prove capable of facilitating the offense while McConnell is resting. His speed and peskiness should also result in a high steal rate.