Last season, Arizona experienced the ups and downs of a rebuilding program.
This season, it will be expected to improve in numerous different areas.
"You know, really since our season ended a year ago, with so many players returning from last year's team and having the ability to add the three newcomers that we did, our entire focus has been to do things better than we did a year ago, and I don't just mean in terms of the wins and losses," Sean Miller said.
"As much as it is just to be better at everything it takes to win and have a great spring, we had a longer spring. That's not a good thing but it's an advantage moving forward."
Arizona took steps towards improvement over the summer and Miller is happy with the progress he saw.
"I thought our team did a great job this summer," he said. "At one point we had all thirteen of our players here for about a seven or eight week period in July and early August.
"A lot of good things happened during that time, and we followed that up with the beginning of the school year where the experience from a year ago and the continuity that I think develops when you have the same things happening, the same terminology, the same staff, some newcomers returning, you could really feel that in our approach this fall."
The season has not started yet and Miller already believes it is ahead of last year's progress.
"As we've gone through our conditioning program, our skill workouts, and now our team workouts preparing for first practice, that leads me into saying that we're in a much better place than we were a year ago, especially at this time, and to me we have to be able to take advantage of that moving forward as we approach the beginning of practice and the long season ahead," he said.
One area of improvement is conditioning, which Miller takes very seriously.
"We want to be better, and we expect to be better," he said. "And being better by leaps and bounds, I don't know if that's going to be the case, but I do know that we have the ability to be a better team, and head in that direction that we all want to eventually head.
"A year ago we ran a mile on the first Friday of school, it's a tradition that I really believe in. We did it at Xavier, where I came from, and what it does is it's a benchmark for the condition and the commitment of the team that you're about ready to coach, because in the summertime you're not able to work with your players. So, you give them a time, frontcourt players, forwards, and guards, and they know the time, they prepare kind of on their own, and then if they make the mile run then conditioning starts in the middle of September, and if they don't, it starts right away."
Miller believes in consistently having a competitive environment, which is already obvious in the way the team prepares.
"Last year we have twelve players run that mile and we had four make it," he said. "This year we had 13 players run the mile and 12 made it.
"When I talk about being better at the things that are important to winning, that may seem small, but I think it says a lot about what I mentioned here at the beginning, and that is having a highly competitive environment so that our players get better individually, we become better as a team, and have that consistency in what we do and how we do things."
Team already improving
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