A closer look: Arizona's shooting

With Kyle Fogg and Brendon Lavender leaving, Arizona has some questions as to who will shoot the ball. Read on for possible answers and which players may step up as well.

One of the primary reasons the Arizona Wildcats were able to hang in so many games during the 2011-12 season was the team's ability to connect from beyond the three-point arc. Giving up size to most opponents, UA was often forced to rely on the accuracy of its sharpshooters.

Heading into the 2012-13 season, that strength may be just the opposite given the players that have run out of eligibility. The Wildcats lose both Kyle Fogg and Brendon Lavender – Arizona's top two shooters from long range – and while there are players on the roster that are capable of hitting from deep, none should be expected to pick up all of the slack left behind by two of the Pac-12's best shooters.

In terms of shooting percentage from three-point range, Solomon Hill is the top returning player. Hill showed significant improvement as a junior from deep, connecting on 38.9 percent of his attempts and displaying improvement as the season progressed.

Hill isn't a typical sharp-shooter, but if he continues to increase his shooting production from beyond the arc, his teammates will look for him to shoot more and stretch the defense.

Nick Johnson will enter his sophomore campaign with higher expectations and that includes his shooting. Johnson entered college with an array of talent, but was a bit inconsistent with his jumper. Johnson concluded his freshman season shooting 32 percent from deep and struggled finding any sort of rhythm.

Johnson is the type of player who can create a shot for himself, so many are expecting his offensive game to advance in the 2012-13 campaign. Confidence, or lack thereof, appeared to guide Johnson's first season in college and if he can regain the fire he had at the beginning of his first season, his shooting percentage from outside should improve.

One of the bigger disappointments of the most recent season was the play of Jordin Mayes. To be fair to the backup guard, Mayes wasn't completely healthy for the majority of the season, but he still appeared to struggle when he was good to go. Mayes shot 45.3 percent from deep as a freshman, so he certainly has the ability to knock down the three-point ball, but last season that percentage took a dramatic dip to 29 percent.

Mayes must step his game up in his junior season if he wants to receive consistent playing time. Even with the departure of Josiah Turner, Mayes is going to be in for a battle for playing time with players like Johnson and Gabe York fighting for playing time as well.

Speaking of York, he's a newcomer that could significantly assist UA's outside shooting. York can be a bit of a volume shooter but, when he is on from outside, he is extremely difficult to cool down. At the very least, York will provide another player to pay attention to along the perimeter. Due to his ability to break the defender down and take them to the hole, York could find many open looks from outside as defenders position themselves to prevent him from getting inside.

Kevin Parrom should return as one of the program's top shooters from long range, assuming he is fully healthy. Parrom began to shoot well from long range during his sophomore season, but he didn't play enough healthy basketball to get into any kind of groove. If the soon-to-be senior can find his rhythm (and health) he could very well be the Wildcats' top shooter from beyond the arc.

Arizona's shooting could also receive a huge boost if it somehow can land Xavier transfer Mark Lyons. Eligible to play right away, Lyons would significantly improve UA as a whole, especially from the outside. Last season with the Musketeers, Lyons scored over 15 points per game and shot just a shade under 40 percent from three-point land. Lyons would fill several holes in 2012-13 and his shooting touch will be one of the most welcomed attributes he provides to the team.

Another previous strength that could very well become an area of concern, outside shooting is going to be under the microscope at the beginning of the 2012-13 campaign. With the team's added size, if the Wildcats can somehow remain deadly from deep, they will be in line to have a very strong season.


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