Analyzing the Arizona Wildcats Basketball Roster


The Arizona Wildcats basketball team enjoyed a very successful 2013-14 season under Pac-12 Coach of they Year Sean Miller. The Wildcats finished the season with a 33-5 record and a Pac-12 regular season championship to add to the record books. The season ended in heartbreak with a 64-63 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Elite Eight.

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After the season, WIldcat fans saw six players leave the program to pursue other options. Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Aaron Gordon bolted for the NBA and was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the fourth overall pick in June’s draft. Also leaving for the draft, after his junior season, was Pac-12 Player of the Year Nick Johnson, who was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 42nd overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Wildcats also lost seldom-used, former walk-on, Eric Conklin, who transferred to  Amherst College, and lost guard Jordin Mayes to graduation. Chris Johnson and Zach Peters will also not return to the Wildcats this season.

All in all, that is 31.6 points per game lost, of the 72.9 averaged per game, 13.1 rebounds per game, of the 38.1 averaged, and 5.3 assists per game, of the 15.1 averaged. They also lost 2.3 steals per game, of the 5.9 averaged per game and 1.7 blocks per game of the 4.6 blocks per game averaged. Arizona lost its two best players, but are in very good shape for this upcoming season. There is not that much production needed to be replaced and with some of the returning players, and the great incoming freshman class, the Wildcats are set up for another run in the 2014-15 season.

The Wildcats have the sixth ranked incoming freshman class, and the top incoming class in the Pac-12, according to Rivals 247. The class is led by the top small forward in the country, and the seventh ranked player in the ESPN Top 100, 5* Stanley Johnson. The forward is from powerhouse Mater Dei high school, in Fullerton, CA, where he earned a lot of accolades, both as an individual and as a team. He helped Mater Dei to a 135-5 record and four state championships in his career and was named California Mr. Basketball his senior year. Johnson averaged 35 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 apg, and 3 spg last season. He is a potential number one pick and will only be in Tucson for one season, but expect a huge impact in that one year.

Also joining the Wildcats will be 4*forward, the number 37 incoming freshman according to ESPN, Craig Victor. He is a banger on the boards and could become the staple of this Arizona team the next few seasons. 4* guard, and the number 57 incoming freshman, is Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The 5’8″ true point guard will be a nice change of pace guard this season and will learn a lot backing up starting PG T.J. McConnell. Last but not least is the big Serbian, 3* center, Dusan Risic. Ristic will add some depth and will learn a lot from Kaleb Tarczewski this upcoming season.

The Arizona basketball team will also welcome in two very good transfers. Guard Kadeem Allen, a 4* transfer from Hutchinson Community College will provide a scorer off the bench. Allen averaged 25 points per game last season en route to being named the 2014 National JUCO Player of the Year. Joining Allen will be Ryan Anderson who will transfer to Wildcats after playing his first three seasons in the ACC with the Boston College Eagles. He will sit out this season because of the transfer rules, but will be a huge factor in 2015-16. Anderson was a honorable mention All-ACC last season after averaging 14.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg. His 7.3 rebounds per game were good for second in the ACC. Expect big things from him in the future.

Mar 23, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) dunks over Gonzaga Bulldogs center Przemek Karnowski (24) during a men

Along with all of this fresh talent, the Wildcats return some very key players from last years team. The top returning scorer is Brandon Ashely, who averaged 11.5 points last season. If it was not for an injury it is very likely that Ashley would have bolted to the NBA, so I know Wildcat nation feels lucky to have him return. Joining Ashley will be super sophomore Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Hollis-Jefferson earned a spot on the All-Freshman team last season after averaging 9.1 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Expect him to take a big step this year and become a star. Gabe York and T.j.McConnell will be the top two guards returning to this team and they return a lot of playing experience and skill. McConnell was a second-team All-Pac-12 performer last season. Last but certaintly not least, is the big man Kaleb Tarcsewski, who has been getting a lot of look from the pros this off season. He averaged 9.9 ppg and 6.3 rpg and will flirt with averaging a double-double in 2014. He has size, toughness, and a nice ability to finish around the room. This is potentially his last season in Tucson, so expect big things from the big fella.

Joining these main returners will be a lot of bench players. Guards Jacob Hazzard, Trey Mason and Elliot Pitts, and also forwards Drew Mellon and Matt Korcheck. These players will not get much playing time this year, but will still be big parts of this teams success with pushing the key players during practice.

There are only 69 days until the season opener against Mount St. Marys, in the newly renovated McKale Center. Sure the Wildcats lost a lot of talent, but some could argue that this years team has a chance to be better than last seasons. There is a ton of returning and new talent, and package that with Sean Miller coaching this squad, and Arizona has big expectations in 2014-15.

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