2009-2010 Arizona Wildcats Basketball Preview
New coach Sean Miller will work with an Arizona Wildcat (21- 14 overall, 9- 9 Pac-10) team that includes four top 100 freshman recruits. The Cats, who finished sixth in the conference last year, made it to the Sweet 16. That was the team’s best showing since 2005 when they made their way to the Elite Eight. This club has been a March Madness perennial for 25 years. In 2009- 2010 their quarter decade streak may end.
Last season, The Wildcats ranked 5th in scoring (72.3 PPG) and 8th in scoring defense (69.2). They were solid on threes, knocking down 39% from downtown, notching a third-place finish there, and were fine on frees, hitting 74% from the charity stripe, which was also good for third-place. The team’s rebounding was average as their margin sat at plus-2.2 (5th).
Arizona, which is composed primarily of freshmen and sophomores, will post a frosh at the center spot. Six-foot-ten, 250-pound Kyryl Natyazhko looks to establish himself under the basket as a true Pac-10 force. Junior power forward Jamelle Horne (6.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.3 APG) possesses a powerful vertical leap and long arms. He’s a tough prospect in the paint. Freshman Derrick Williams will play immediately and should be fine at either forward spot.
Point guard looks to go to senior Nic Wise (15.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 4.6 APG), who broke through last year in the last third of the season. Wise shows smarts, passion and leadership. He’ll be this team’s anchor. At the other guard spot, sophomore Kyle Fogg (6.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.7 APG) brings excellent defensive chops, while Lamont “MoMo” Jones, a freshman, offers toughness at either guard position. Sophomore guard Garland Judkins (2.4 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 1.2 APG) will be a top contributor if he can stay out of trouble. Last season, he was suspended through a disciplinary decision.
Sean Miller starts his coaching career at Arizona with an inexperienced
but talented team. Although they lack depth, this club could post
some important conference wins and land a berth in the NCAA tournament.
However, that’s a best-case scenario. It’s more likely
these Cats will finish in the middle of the pack and earn a NIT
invite. Still, they won’t relinquish their 25-year string
of NCAA appearances easily. No matter what happens, in 2010-2011
these guys look to be dynamite. Coach Miller loves an up tempo
game, which means that this team should be a fun to watch.