As PGU hinted in recent weeks, point guard TJ McConnell has transferred from Duquesne to Arizona. The addition is a big time get for the Wildcats, who are in desperate need of point guard depth over the next few years.
McConnell was the A-10 Freshman of the Year in 2011 and was a third-team all-conference selection in 2012. He also ranked third in the country in steals at 2.8 per game. McConnell will sit out the 2012-13 season but will still be able to practice with the team, which should provide the incumbent point guard with a daily challenge.
“It just seems like a great fit for me me” said McConnell. “I just have to work hard and see what happens.
McConnell is familiar with Tucson and McKale Center, as his former Duquesne team squared off with the Wildcats there last year. Head coach Sean Miller heaped praise on McConnell before and after the game, calling him one of the most cerebral and tough-minded players that Arizona played all season long. McConnell’s Pittsburgh roots also tie him to Miller, though the connection is nothing more than coincidental.
“I just like the way they play and I obviously love their coaching staff,” T.J. McConnell said. “I would love to play for a guy like Sean Miller. He’s one of the best coaches in the NCAA.”
While Arizona’s 2012 recruiting class includes three top 10 post players in Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, and Kaleb Tarczewski, the need for a true point guard and facilitator has been pronounced given rising sophomore Josiah Turner’s season long struggles. The Wildcats looked shaky without a natural ball handler in the game, especially during crunch time, but McConnell will go a long way in assuaging those concerns for Wildcat fans.
With two years of eligibility remaining, the addition of McConnell seems to be the Arizona’s coaching staff’s way of saying they are gearing up far National Championship runs in 2013 and 2014. With a plethora of talent at the other four positions, the missing piece had heretofore been at lead guard. Now that Miller has the final piece to the puzzle, the Wildcats could be very dangerous in the near future.