Arizona Basketball

Arizona has no identity yet, except for, um, overconfidence

No, Sean Miller isn’t frustrated with what’s going on with his team. Yes, he is concerned in as much as his opinion of his team hasn’t changed from his weekend comments that have him wondering why he can’t reach his team and get them to play hard for him.

Yet, isn’t that every coach’s problem? Kind of like a parent trying to get the most out of their kids. It works sometimes and other times, well, not so much. And it’s a day-to-day thing.

“I think we will eventually be the team we all think we can be,” Miller said Monday afternoon adding he didn’t think UA would go 18-0 in the conference. “More than anything, we are trying to reach our potential. But how can you really reach your potential when you don’t have consistent effort for 40 minutes?”

Sean Miller addresses the media to discuss his program’s issues.

We all know the answer to that: It doesn’t happen if there is no effort.

“You can’t cheat the process,” Arizona senior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright said.

Arizona is 12-4 and 2-1 in the Pac-12 for a reason. To me, the underlying effort – or lack thereof – is because of overconfidence. I’ve seen it before – a number of times. You see it in players who think they are better than they are, thinking that all they have to do is show up. Some days it works, other days you wonder what that two-by-four was that hit you.

Colorado was that two-by-four.

The Bahamas were Arizona’s two-by-four times three. How many more are needed before UA gets the picture?

“Hopefully that’s it,” PJC said.

As for the overconfidence, Miller said that could partially be it but “overconfidence is great (because) you want your team to have a swagger to it, a confidence to it and a belief in themselves, but not at the expense of how we are going to play.”

Backing it up is the key, he said, with effort and quality of play helps that confidence.

“That’s the team we are trying to develop,” Miller said. “We’re a work in progress.”

The good thing is, Arizona is practicing well and doing that consistently.

Well, there’s that, but it’s not translating onto the court all the time. Granted, it happens

Which led me to ask if he has been frustrated, given the weekend’s rant was the second this season in an attempt to get his team’s attention. It prompted him to say, no.

“Every season has their pockets,” Miller said, referring to downs. “Every season has (bad moments). But it’s how you handle those moments.”

He later said, “every season is imperfect.’

And added, even though his team gets labeled as a talented team and a team that’s going “to win it all or bust” it’s a long road to get there.

“We’re not there,” Miller said. “We have to become a group of guys that are really committed to the task at hand. One day at a time, one practice at a time.”

Every team has its struggles. I’ve seen them for the last 30 years. To illustrate his point of recent teams, Miller said his talented team of three years ago – one with Rhonde Hollis Jefferson, T.J. McConnell and Stanley Johnson – lost three games in the regular season. They were to UNLV, Arizona State and to Oregon State. Clearly teams it should have beaten.

“We were that group that when we thought it was easy we didn’t play to the level we were capable of,” he said. “That was only three losses in the regular season. We finally found our stretch. We ended up where we should have been, on the threshold of a Final Four.”

This year it’s too early to tell what kind of team he has or what the identity is. Kind of late for a Miller-led team, but he, too, understands that.

“It’s up to us to finally establish that,” Miller said.

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