The 2011-12 season is still several months from starting, but it is never too early to discuss college basketball. Fans of the Arizona Wildcats are eagerly anticipating the commencement of the campaign as UA surpassed everyone's expectations and advanced all the way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament this past season.
The roster appears to be in relatively good shape even without Derrick Williams or Momo Jones on the roster. The incoming recruits give the Wildcats more versatility and depth at nearly every position and all four look to make some form of an impact right away.
One area littered with veteran leadership is the small forward spot. A season ago, Arizona utilized the duo of Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom to serve as the glue of the team and do a lot of the dirty work needed to play high caliber team basketball.
Heading into their junior seasons, each player is looking to up their production with both Jones and Williams gone from the squad.
Hill was the starter again last season and appeared to be one of the more improved players by the end of the campaign. Coming into the season in better shape and more determined, Hill became a more reliable option on both ends of the floor as the season progressed.
Hill averaged just a shade below eight points per contest last season and really started realizing parts of his potential at the end of the campaign. He was also second on the squad in rebounds, averaging 4.7 per game.
Hill also shot better from the outside, improving his three-point shooting from 25 percent as a freshman to 35.4 as a sophomore.
Going forward, expect Hill to continuously improve and develop into one of the team's go-to guys on the floor. Without Williams, Hill could be the player everyone looks for in terms of leadership.
Parrom was instant energy last season off the bench and is in the same boat as Hill when it comes to potential going into next year. Parrom was right behind Hill in terms of scoring at 7.6 points per contest while playing roughly five minutes less per game.
Parrom uses his athleticism to get to the rack, but also developed a much better outside shot, which raised his shooting percentage to 50.8 percent overall and 41.8 from beyond the arc.
When the Wildcats look for extra scorers, expect Parrom to step up. With the top two scoring leaders from last year's team gone, look for Parrom to get plenty more opportunities and for his numbers to increase, regardless of what role he takes on.
UA has a few other players that can play at the three spot if the Wildcats go with a small lineup. Players like Kyle Fogg or Brendan Lavender could slide over to the small forward slot if Arizona wants to utilize speed to beat the opposing defense.
This is a spot where UA has a lot of talent, stability and experience. The two primary small forwards – Hill and Parrom – could very well be the heart of the team next season. While the recruiting class that is arriving in 2011 is very talented, it is also inexperienced and needs veteran leadership to help guide the way. It would be no surprise if that came by way of the small forward position in 2011-12.
Evaluating the Roster: Small forward
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