Arizona Basketball

How will Arizona play? ‘Fast but not rushed’

The University of Arizona men’s basketball will run this season. Promise. No, this time I really, really mean it.

That’s because new coach, Tommy Lloyd, means it. Yes, you’ve been teased before over the last decade or so, but this time it looks like it’s going to happen.

A sure bet.

Arizona will go fast – not all the time, but …




“Fast but not rushed,” said UA sophomore guard Kerr Kriisa, who will be the starting point guard this season. “We’re trying to push the ball and try to get the ball side to side. We don’t want to take terrible shots either.”

Kerr Kriisa taking a selfie.

Even the big men are excited “because he wants us to be involved. He wants us to have some responsibilities.

Pace and tempo are two of the things the team has been working on as it prepares for Lloyd’s first year at UA after 21 years at Gonzaga. The Zags ran and succeeded. The Cats ran – a lot – under Lute Olson and succeeded.

It’s back to the future for UA. Lloyd even remarked that if there were one thing he took from Lute’s playbook it was the run-and-stun gameplan through the years. If you recall, Arizona and Gonzaga had notorious back and forths through the years.

What Lloyd will also do is give the guys “freedom” to play “but on the same token to whom much is given much is expected. I expect them to handle that freedom with responsibility.”

The reason he likes to play fast, he said, “is that there’s a lot of advantages to it. I think you get a lot of easy scoring opportunities, and you’re not playing fast to the point where you’re playing out of control or turning the ball over. You’re playing fast to create easy opportunities. I know it might be appealing to watch but that’s not the reason. The reason is because I think it’s the best way to win the most basketball games.”

How fast? How many points?

Parts of UA’s team getting ready for interviews.

 “More than the other team,” he said, smiling. “That’s step one.”

It’s also a start … and was his starting point when he first got with his guys to prepare for this season.

Again, who doesn’t like to run?

“They all say they want to play that way until you really make them play in a real structure,” Lloyd said. “Do they want to play that way like in a, you know, open gym set, you know where the other guys aren’t getting back on (defense, you’re doing it for real.

“And teams have a transition defensive plan and they are throwing out presses, things like that so it’s hard, and it takes a lot of effort a lot of energy. … I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m sure Saturday you’ll see some of that you’re gonna see other possessions where it is bogged down, if they’re tired or they a0re, you know, being lazy or whatever happens, and that’s why. Whatever happens Saturday, it’s going to be a great teaching tool for our staff.”

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