Interview with James Whitford: Part II

WildcatAuthority.com talks with Arizona assistant James Whitford about Solomon Hill's role, who will replace Derrick Williams' scoring, Kyle Fogg's leadership, and more.

WildcatAuthority.com: What are you going to be working on with Solomon Hill?

James Whitford: Solomon really has two areas that we want to work with him on. One is continuing to shoot the ball better. He made a big jump from his freshman to sophomore year and he has to make the same jump from his sophomore to junior year shooting the basketball.

Secondly, continuing to refine his body to where he is thinner, leaner, faster, more explosive, and he is working with coach (Chris) Rounds aggressively with that. Solomon does a great job with it and to his credit, he is one of the hardest working guys in the program and always has been.

WildcatAuthority.com: Can he be a guy that scores 15 points per game?

James Whitford: Sure he can. He is more than capable of that. What is going to allow his scoring to go up is his ability to shoot the ball better from three.

WildcatAuthority.com: Now that Derrick Williams is gone, who is the most likely to step up his scoring?

James Whitford: We were such a balanced team outside of Derrick and obviously he had some big games, but I am going to say we had at least six or seven guys that scored in double figures in certain games last year. I think you will see the same next year. We are going to be a team that can score from a lot of different ways and with different people in the starting lineup and off the bench. I think you will also see one or two players emerge based on a great offseason and emerge in the fall. We will have to see who that is.

WildcatAuthority.com: What are your impressions of Kyle Fogg?

James Whitford: Kyle is working his tail off right now shooting the basketball. He has gotten his summer program started in the spring. He is coming in every day and getting extra shots up and I couldn't be more proud of the way he is working. He is committed to having a great senior year and right now he is working on his ability to shoot the ball with range more accurately and even deeper and he is working as hard as anybody on the team right now.

WildcatAuthority.com: Is that because he thinks he will be pushed even more by the players coming in?

James Whitford: I think competition brings out the best out of everyone. That is part of it, but I also think Kyle is going into his senior year and he knows this is his last chance. He is going to try to make a living playing this game. I think when you are going into your junior or senior year you start to feel two pressures. One, ‘I want to play this game for the rest of my life and I am going to work my tail off to do it' and Kyle is doing that and then secondly, we just went to the Elite Eight.

Our team was really hungry because they knew we should have beat UConn. As rewarding as it was to go to the Elite Eight, on the other hand you tasted something that you felt like you should have been able to get a hold of and I felt like it wasn't seven days after the season and we had guys hungry to get back into the gym and Kyle was the leader of that charge.

WildcatAuthority.com: How upsetting was that knowing that you guys were so close?

James Whitford: I think the frustrating part about it was that we felt like in our minds we should have won. Hats off to UConn for doing what they did and they won the game fair and square, but we felt like we had a chance to win that game in a lot of different ways. In that way I think it drives you to get back to the big prize.

WildcatAuthority.com: How about Kevin Parrom?

James Whitford: Kevin is as talented physically as anybody on the team. He is a terrific shooter. He is long, has great length and is a good athlete. He is working hard right now on gaining weight and getting stronger, more explosive with power by being a stronger player and then he is working really hard on getting better at shooting the ball with range. He is working really hard on getting better at shooting the ball with range.

The thing that is really going to help Kevin next year is the experience of being a junior and being in his third year in our system. He missed a lot of his freshman year with that injury, so some of the experience he could have gained, he didn't. I think he did this year, but it was kind of a half freshman year and half sophomore year and we are excited to get him back because he is an experienced guy in our style of play and knows how to attack at the right times for us.

Wildcatauthority.com: Last year he had some games where he maybe got too excited and took himself out of the game. Does that go back to experience?

James Whitford: He is a young guy anyway because he is young for his grade and then he missed a lot of his freshman year. This year we asked a lot from him for a young guy; we asked him to play two positions. He played some two and some three and that is not easy for a young player to do. There were games where he was great and games where he not quite as good, but he is as talented as anybody in the program longterm and I would expect him to make another jump into his junior year.

WildcatAuthority: Is it safe to assume he will stick to the three next year?

James Whitford: I think he will be a three. Will we able to play him at the two again? Probably. However, we are also going to obviously have a lot of guards too.


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