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Who will lead Arizona?
T.J. McConnell was an obvious captain last year. Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said recently that McConnell’s hustle deserves an “A” grade. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson spoke volumes with his play and determination on the defense, which set the tone. He’s off to the NBA.
Who’s going to lead by example and vocally for Arizona this season?
Without Hollis-Jefferson, Miller will rely on veterans such as Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York to lead by example. Tarczewski plays within himself and is not the rah-rah, get-in-your-face-type. That may be York’s role as he gains respect of his young teammates after being mostly a reserve in his career. His value will be his overall play.
The vocal leader: Sophomore point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
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“You know, that’s one of the many things that we’re working through,” Miller said Thursday. “Parker Jackson-Cartwright is someone that benefited a lot from T.J. a year ago. When you practice against a guy like that every day, Kaleb will be the first one to tell you, you’ve got to strap it on. And Parker learned a lot from T.J., benefited a tremendous amount, watched him closely.”
Miller is making it clear he wants Parker-Cartwright in the same role as McConnell, instituting a policy during practice in which coaches require Jackson-Cartwright to be a vocal leader on the court.
Jackson-Cartwright added more than 10 pounds to his frame this offseason to hold up, especially on defense, against some of the best backcourts in the nation and Pac-12 this season.
Miller said he has tried to prepare Jackson-Cartwright for this season right after last season ended both mentally and physically to the tremendous challenge at hand to become Arizona’s next leader.
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