Former Duquesne point guard T.J. McConnell will be on Arizona's campus on Thursday and Friday and is in the midst of deciding between the Wildcats and Virginia. All indications are that Arizona is in good shape and while McConnell would not be able to play next year, he would benefit the Wildcats in a major way in two seasons and make practice much more competitive next season.
Considering that there is a good chance McConnell will be joining Arizona, now is as good a time as any to take a look at the point guard.
For starters, McConnell would likely automatically become one of the better defenders on the team, if not the best. In his freshman season, McConnell broke the school record for steals, finishing with 91 in 32 games and then followed it up with 86 steals in 31 games his sophomore year. One of Arizona's biggest weaknesses this year was stopping the point of attack for the opposition and McConnell would certainly make that much more difficult for the opposition.
Offensively, McConnell is somewhat inconsistent in terms of his scoring ability. While he averages 11 points per game, McConnell had numerous single-digit scoring games. However, a lot of that had to do with the amount of shots he took, rather than a low shooting percentage. In fact, McConnell shot 50 percent from the field and one of his worst shooting performances of the season was against Arizona, when he went 4-12 from the field.
McConnell's worst offensive game of the season was when he shot 2-9 against Robert Morris. However, a closer look reveals that he still finished with eight assists that game.
At only 6-foot-1, McConnell averaged four rebounds per game, making him the team's third leading rebounder. As a comparison, he would have also been the third-leading rebounder on Arizona as well. Josiah Turner averaged three, Jordin Mayes less than two, and Nick Johnson a little over three as well. One rebound may not seem like a big difference, but it adds an effectiveness and dimension to Arizona that it really did not have last season and may not have next season as well.
The fact of the matter is that McConnell may legitimately be the difference between making a Final Four run and losing in the first round.
Figuring Turner will leave after this season, Arizona would likely be left with a freshman point guard and if last season taught us anything about point guards, it is that we don't really know what to expect from that position.
There is a strong possibility that Arizona will keep the top class in the country (as of now) intact for two years, keep veterans in the fold, and then add a senior point guard as well. There is still a ton of basketball to be played, a lot can happen, and it is two years away.
However, figuring Arizona will have success two years from now, you would likely be able to look at the end of this week as a major reason why.