Sean Miller still has a lot to live up to in the 2011-12 season. With conference play now upon us, Miller has a chance to establish himself as the elite coach in the conference. However, with the subtractions of Derrick Williams and Lamont Jones from last year's roster, Miller has been forced to find success without his two leading scorers from a year ago.
It isn't going to be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination for Miller. While the Pac-12 still seems to be on a downward swing in terms of overall quality, there are several teams in the conference that are going to give UA a run for its money.
The key for the Wildcats is locating that primary option on offense. The lack of a true go-to guy has hindered Arizona when it has been forced to play tougher opponents and it's difficult to figure out just how it will affect the Wildcats against their conference rivals.
California has Allen Crabbe.
Oregon State has Jared Cunningham.
Even Washington has multiple players that can step up on a night-to-night basis.
Who exactly does Arizona have to turn to?
The first name brought to the forefront of this conversation is usually Solomon Hill. The junior has been playing progressively better as the season ages but whether or not he is actually a number one option on offense is up in the air.
Hill is an extremely valuable cog to the team; arguably UA's most important player. He does it in an all-around fashion, though. Hill's game doesn't necessarily reflect a player that can score over 15 points per game consistently, but has a lot of the required intangibles needed to make his team better.
If Hill can assume the go-to role, then Arizona should benefit greatly, but will it be as helpful as how he contributes now? Hill does a fabulous job of involving his teammates, grabbing rebounds, diving for loose balls and bringing other various qualities to the table. If the junior finds himself in more of a scoring role, it cannot be at the expense of his other talents.
Another name that has continued to float closer to the surface is freshman guard Nick Johnson. The Findlay Prep product has been – far and away – the best newcomer on the roster. His game reeks of natural scoring ability, but is the role of a primary scorer too much for a freshman like Johnson to handle? Only time will tell.
Johnson is still developing and learning how to play against the increased talent level of his college opponents. Early indications are that he has what it takes to become the number one option on offense, but he is not quite there just yet. Perhaps getting more comfortable with himself will allow Johnson to progress to where he needs to be in order to assume such a role, but it's risky to throw that kind of pressure on a player who is still finding his way.
Jesse Perry's production has certainly increased on the offensive end of the floor, but in an ideal situation, he is a player brought in to do the dirty work. That's not to say that Perry can't be a player his teammates rely on to be a consistent scorer, but to become a number-one option consistently may be just a bit out of his reach.
Many thought that Kevin Parrom would be that guy heading into this season, but due to both physical and emotional setbacks, Parrom is still finding it difficult to even get on the floor to see consistent minutes.
Given what Parrom has experienced since the conclusion of last year, taking grasp of the number-one scoring role will be very challenging. The junior has certainly shown signs of his old self, but Parrom is still in recovery mode and it may be a while before he is back to 100 percent all around. He certainly has the talent to take his game to another level, but if and when that happens are still to be determined.
There are others on the roster that need to step up but there is a dire need for someone to step up and take charge on offense consistently. Without one to take the attention away from the rest of the players on the floor, the offense will most likely continue to play inconsistently.
If someone steps up to take the scoring load during conference play then that should create some momentum heading into the postseason. The Wildcats have found ways to win playing quality team basketball so if Hill, Johnson or anyone else can learn how to take control consistently, it will work wonders for UA's postseason chances.
Who can Arizona turn to?
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