Miller breaks down new additions

Sean Miller met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the new additions to the team. Read on for his thoughts on T.J. McConnell, Matt Korcheck, Mark Lyons, and more.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller finally sat down with the media on Tuesday to discuss the incoming class and started with a player that may arguably be the most important, despite not being able to play next season.

"T.J. (McConnell) is someone that I have known for a long time through his family," Miller said. "We obviously competed against him this year and you learn a lot about a player when you have the opportunity to face them in a real game. Both prior to and after the game, we had a lot of respect for how Duquesne played, but in particular how T.J. played."

When talking about what impressed him most, Miller was quick to point to a defensive statistic.

"The statistic that really jumps out is that he has finished third in college basketball as both a freshman and as a sophomore in steals, which speaks for itself," Miller said. "For us to have him practicing with us and being a part of what we do as a program this year and then having two years left, one of the things that I really believe we have to do as a basketball program is to become more seasoned, become older, and not just constantly deal with the same age group of freshmen replacing the next class and the next class.

"I think his age, his experience, obviously his ability level is something we covet for down the road. I do believe he will have a real impact on this year's team because he will be able to practice and be a part of what we do every day."

McConnell is not the only player that will not play in games next season, as forward Matt Korcheck will also redshirt.

"We made the decision to offer Matt a scholarship and we are excited to have him a part of what we do for much of the same reasons that I talked to you about T.J," Miller said. "Matt this year will not play. We will redshirt him, but I look at us investing in Matt comprehensively with our strength and conditioning program knowing that he has competed for an excellent coach in Jerry Carrillo at Cochise."

Miller feels that with an extra year of conditioning, Korcheck will be able to step in and make an impact right away.

"He's played against good competition at the junior college level and then to have him as part of the program practicing, lifting weights, developing on his own with the help of our staff and then having two years to play," Miller said.

"Again, he makes us older, creates depth in what we do and, like T.J., I believe he will impact our season this year because over the long course of the season, you are bound to have injuries and adversity and to have somebody like Matt available at 6-foot-9 to participate and play and compete in that competitive environment that we all crave, it is much easier to have that in place when you have somebody like T.J. McConnell and Matt Korcheck as part of what we do."

The most interesting story of the three may be Xavier transfer Mark Lyons, who was recruited to Xavier by Miller.

"Seldom do you leave a player as a college coach and have a chance to coach him again," Miller said. "I have known Mark Lyons for six years and was the person responsible for bringing him to Xavier."

A closer looks at Lyons' career shows a player who is accustomed to winning, which is something Miller feels will benefit the program.

"If you look closely at Mark's career, in his first year at Xavier he was unable to participate because of a technicality on his transcript that made him a partial qualifier, so he practiced every day almost like a redshirt season for me when I was the coach and then had the ability to play for four years afterwards," Miller said.

"He may be the only player that plays college basketball this coming year that has been on three Sweet 16 teams. You have three Sweet 16's, three conference championships, he has his college degree in place that's hard to get that great education at Xavier. He leaves with 1,100 points in three years."

In addition, Miller believes that past history will help Lyons transition easier.

"He is eligible immediately and I am excited to add his experience," he said. "He already knows our system and he is one of the most competitive kids that I have been around."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories