Interview with James Whitford: Part I

WildcatAuthority.com had an opportunity to talk with Arizona assistant coach James Whitford about a variety of topics. In Part I, he discusses the point guard position, what he expects of Jordin Mayes, and more.

WildcatAuthority.com: How do you see Jordin Mayes' role changing from this year to next year?

James Whitford: Jordin finished the year so strong that we are expecting very big things from him next year. He is a guy that plays the point and obviously does a very good job of playing the point. We are hoping to be versatile at guard because we have a lot of good guards where we could play Jordin at the one and the two next year.

It allows us as coaches to have a more diversified attack. We are expecting big things for Jordin. He has to continue to gain strength and gain weight, which will allow him to be more physical defensively and stronger.

WildcatAuthority.com: Would you say his biggest obstacle right now is defense?

James Whitford: In some respects, yes. He got much better as a defender and I think by the second half of his freshman year I thought he did a good job defensively. Gaining strength and weight will help him defend bigger, stronger players.

Against thinner players, he is fine and against bigger players he will want to get stronger. He has done a great job. He is gaining weight, getting stronger in the weight room this spring and that will be his biggest obstacle, is getting more powerful physically as a sophomore.

WildcatAuthority.com: How about with MoMo Jones, what would you like to see improve?

James Whitford: Similar to Jordin in the sense that we want him to play both guard positions. The biggest thing we have talked with MoMo this year is becoming better at shooting the ball. When he shot the ball well, he played really well.

It opens the floor and opens the game up for him. He is going to spend the majority of his offseason working on his ability to be consistent from behind the arc. I think that is not only going to get him more baskets from behind the arc, but that is also going to let him get into the lane easier because they will have to defend the three better.

WildcatAuthority.com: He had some games where he would go out and shoot quite a bit and others where he would lay off more.

James Whitford: He was more hot and cold this year and the games he was hot, he was dynamite. For a player like MoMo, who is such a threat at the basket, shooting the three is a double edged sword because not only does he get three points when he makes the shot, but it makes it much more difficult to keep him out of the lane when he is shooting the three effectively.

I think for him to become a 40 percent shooter will increase his points, increase his assists, and his ability to get to the free throw line because it makes him a much bigger threat overall.

WildcatAuthority.com: Are he and Mayes going to be on the court at the same time much more this season?

James Whitford: That is our plan, is to be able to play multiple guards together at different times.


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