The departure of Josiah Turner leaves Arizona in a bit of a predicament at the point guard position heading into the 2012-13 campaign. While there would be significant concern surrounding Turner had he returned, he was the only legitimate point guard on the roster and the incoming recruiting class – while highly rated – doesn't possess a player whose natural game encompasses the qualities of a true floor general.
This is going to be a huge concern for the Wildcats next season. Sean Miller's offense requires a player who can run the offense efficiently. Without one, the offense tends to struggle, especially in the half-court game. Given the circumstances that have surfaced, finding a player to run the point guard position is going to be far from an easy task.
Nevertheless, UA must figure out how it will handle the position. There are several players capable of filling the role for a season and if one can emerge before October, it will work wonders for the 2012-13 campaign.
Perhaps Nick Johnson can grab a hold of the role. As a freshman, Johnson played point guard in spurts and while his play was inconsistent at times, he filled the role better than anyone else outside of Turner on the roster. Johnson can shoot, run the floor and does a good job of involving his teammates on the offense.
Johnson's needed areas of improvement include consistency and shot selection. Johnson started the season off well, but struggled as opposing defenses adjusted to him. The good news is that when Johnson ran the point guard position, the team seemed to respond well as a whole. If he can continue to develop the skills necessary to succeed at the point guard position, Johnson has what it takes to play point guard at the collegiate level.
Jordin Mayes has played point guard in spots, but is more of an undersized shooting guard. Mayes can run the offense on a limited basis, but too much time at that role can eventually expose his weaknesses at the college level.
Not only that, but Mayes seemed to take a significant step backwards in his sophomore year in nearly every facet of his game. In his defense, Mayes was hurt for a good portion of the year, but it was obvious it was a confidence issue as well. Mayes should see the floor a fair amount in his junior year, but the main position remains unknown.
Incoming freshman Gabe York is a lot like Johnson in the sense that he is very athletic, can drive and finish, and he can shoot the ball well from outside. His style varies from Johnson though in that York is a bit more assertive when going to the basket than Johnson. Whether or not that translates well as a point guard in Sean Miller's system is to be determined, but York is certainly an intriguing option.
York isn't necessarily the ideal player to run the point, but he does like to have the ball in his hands a lot and is very aggressive. Defensively, there are numerous questions about York at the next level and the answers remain to be seen. At the very minimum, expect York to be given a fair opportunity to earn minutes as a point guard.
While the arrival of T.J. McConnell brings a little relief to the position starting in the 2013-14 season, the immediate concern is how UA is going to overcome not having a true point guard in the upcoming campaign. If the remaining players on the roster can fill in and manage Miller's system efficiently, the offense (and team) should see a successful season.
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