Basketball practice does not start for more than two months and we’re in the dog days of summer, so why not ask if 2017-18 is finally the year for the Arizona Wildcats and Sean Miller?
Slow news days bring these type of stories and Sports Illustrated delivered on Monday with an article that includes that specific question in its headline.
SI writer Dan Greene poses three questions for Miller and the Wildcats …
1. What does a full season of Allonzo Trier look like?
The article states: After Trier’s decision to return to school rather than declare for the NBA draft, the Wildcats hope to finally have him from start to finish. With another year’s improvement and his health potentially fully intact, Trier could emerge as an All-America honoree.
2. Can the new recruits hit the ground running?
This is something of an annual tradition in Tucson these days: The last time Miller brought in a class rated outside the top five was 2013, a haul that contained some dudes named Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. With Kadeem Allen’s graduation and Lauri Markkanen and Kobi Simmons early entries to the pros, there will be plenty of room in the rotation for the new recruits.
3. Is this the year Miller breaks through?
Miller has made four Elite Eights (one at Xavier, three at Arizona) but has yet to reach the tournament’s final weekend. The Wildcats, meanwhile, have not been there since 2001, under Lute Olson, when they lost to Duke in the national title game. If Trier continues to elevate his game and the freshmen live up to their billing, both of those droughts could come to an end.
Nothing stirring there for Tucsonans but national college hoops fans may have been educated by this article.
Some other questions to consider heading into the season:
— How well will Arizona’s abundance of perimeter players share the ball and minutes?
— In addition to that, what will Rawle Alkins’ role be with the team in comparison to that of Trier? Both want to play in the NBA. They play similar positions.
— What happens to Arizona’s post presence defensively if freshman center DeAndre Ayton gets in foul trouble or needs a breather? Chance Comanche could have helped in this regard — he was improving on the defensive end — but he is gone.
— Is Parker Jackson-Cartwright a Final Four-caliber point guard in the same mold as Steve Kerr, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby and Jason Gardner? PJC will be a senior and he’ll command respect. As a point guard, this will be his team. Can he be the deciding factor at the point?
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.