#14 Arizona Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111


arizona wildcats cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

It didn’t take Sean Miller long to get the Arizona Wildcats back in the national picture.  In his second year as head coach, Miller helped ‘Zona reach the Elite Eight and was a three-point shot away from beating eventual National Champion UConn to earn a spot in the Final Four.  This season, the ‘Cats will rely on a more balanced attack as they try to replace All-American Derrick Williams… and hopefully bounce back from their shocking exhibition loss to Seattle Pacific.

Last Season: 1st, 14-4 in Pac-10, 30-8 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kyryl Natyazhko (Jr)/Sidiki Johnson (Fr)/Alex Jacobson (Sr)
PF: Jesse Perry (Sr)/Angelo Chol (Fr)
SF: Solomon Hill (Jr)/Kevin Parrom (Jr)
SG: Kyle Fogg (Sr)/Nick Johnson (Fr)/Brendon Lavender (Sr)
PG: Josiah Turner (Fr)/Jordin Mayes (So)

Gone: F/C-Derrick Williams, F-Jamelle Horne, PG- MoMo Jones (transfer-Iona), SG-Daniel Bejarano (transfer-Colorado State)

2011-2012 Outlook:
Arizona also loses starting point guard MoMo Jones who chose to transfer close to home back east to be near his sick grandmother.  That leaves senior shooting guard Kyle Fogg as the team’s top returning scorer despite just averaging 8.1 points per game.  Fogg has been a solid role player throughout his collegiate career as he gets after it on the defense end and is capable of knocking down triples.

Freshman Nick Johnson and Brendon Lavender will compete for minutes off the bench at the two.  Johnson is an athletic combo guard who really impressed me in ‘Zona’s loss to Seattle Pacific.  He can score off the bounce and stroke it from deep.  Lavender brings a spark off the bench with his outside shooting but has yet to prove he can consistently impact a game in any other way.

Josiah Turner is considered the most talented of Arizona’s highly-touted freshmen class and will take over for MoMo as the starting point guard.  Turner has great size, athleticism, and knows when to be a scorer or distributor.  He has a chance to be a real special talent.

Sophomore Jordin Mayes will serve as Turner’s back-up.  Mayes is coming off a solid freshman season in which he connected on 45.3% of his triple tries last season.  He is more of a scoring point guard than creator though as could play off the ball at times.  Nick Johnson will likely see some time running the point as well.

solomon hill arizonaSolomon Hill is the most likely to emerge as the team’s go-to scorer and will start at the three.  He looks like he has slimmed down a bit and there is a little more bounce in his step.  That should allow him to be more effective off the dribble which will add to his all-around game of being able to post up smaller defenders and shoot it from the outside.

Kevin Parrom has been through hell the past several weeks.  In late September, he was shot in the knee and hand while back home in the Bronx visiting his sick mother who ended up passing away on October 16 due to cancer.  He could be out until mid-November as he recovers from those gunshot wounds.  When Parrom does return, he will add versatility to the wing as he can play several positions and has developed into a dangerous outside shooter.

As for the frontcourt, it will be impossible to replace Williams’ production.  In their exhibition game, Miller went with experience, starting Jesse Perry and Kyryl Natyazhko while using freshmen Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol off the bench.  Perry is an active player especially on the glass but undersized at 6-7.  He also thinks he is a better jump shooter than he actually is.  Natyazhko has great size for a center but needs to show a better basketball IQ if he is going to hang onto his starting spot.

As for the freshmen, Johnson looks the part but is still raw on the offensive end and needs to pick up Arizona’s defensive principles to be a true factor.  Chol reminds me of a taller, less physical Perry; he is active on both ends of the floor and very athletic.  However, Chol needs to add some weight to his skinny frame to better handle the physicality of the college game.  Senior Alex Jacobson can bring some toughness off the bench if Miller needs to go deep on his bench.

Arizona has a lot of talent on their roster but as they showed in their loss to Seattle Pacific, it is going to take sometime before everything clicks.  They are the pre-season pick to win the Pac-12 title and should get better and better as the season progresses.

Player to Watch: Josiah Turner
I think how quickly Turner grasps the point guard position at the college level will be the difference between Arizona being a good team and a great team.  He was one of the top ranked point guards in the 2011 recruiting class and will have to deal with lofty expectations from the get-go.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/9 vs. Duquesne
11/13 vs. Ball State
11/17 vs. St. John’s (2K Classic)
11/18 vs. Texas A&M/Mississippi State (2K Classic)
11/23 vs. San Diego State
11/29 at New Mexico State
12/7 at Florida
12/10 vs. Clemson
12/17 vs. Gonzaga (in Seattle)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#15 Wisconsin Badgers
#16 Alabama Crimson Tide
#17 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#18 Marquette Golden Eagles
#19 Texas A&M Aggies
#20 Michigan Wolverines
#21 New Mexico Lobos
#22 Temple Owls
#23 Cincinnati Bearcats
#24 Kansas Jayhawks
#25 UNLV Rebels
#26 Washington Huskies
#27 UCLA Bruins
#28 Butler Bulldogs
#29 Missouri Tigers
#30 Texas Longhorns
#31 Villanova Wildcats
#32 Michigan State Spartans
#33 Florida State Seminoles
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#35 Harvard Crimson
#36 Illinois Fighting Illini
#37 Oregon Ducks
#38 Wichita State Shockers
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.


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