WildcatAuthority.com was able to watch the big men work out on Wednesday. Read on for a complete look at how Kaleb Tarczewski, Angelo Chol, Grant Jerrett, and Brandon Ashley did.
Sean Miller was gracious enough to open up a big man workout to select media and we were able to come away with numerous impressions of Angelo Chol
, Kaleb Tarczewski
, Brandon Ashley
, and Grant Jerrett
The drills were a mixed bag in terms of what they emphasized. There was a rebounding drill in which the players had to tip it off the glass six times before making it in, shooting drills in which they had to do short hook shots from both sides of the basket, one-on-one drills, and drills that required the player to rotate to three different positions in order to guard.
The players do not necessarily always work out together and the drills may not be the same each time, but Wednesday allowed us to see the players work at numerous parts of their game, which was certainly good for everybody in attendance.
Angelo Chol looks like he has gained at least ten pounds and it is very apparent at first sight. One of his biggest weaknesses last season was his strength in the post and he definitely seems to be stronger while not losing any of his athleticism. The key for Chol will be whether or not he can keep the weight on, as he has an extremely high metabolism. We figure he will be able to, which is definitely a good thing for Arizona and his future.
It is easy to forget that Chol has not been playing basketball for very long, but it showed a few times on Wednesday. He struggled a bit on the tip drill, which is not a big deal and more of an observation that he is still a bit raw. Chol's jump shot seemed to be just as good as it was last season, if not better, and he has the potential to make more of an offensive impact this season.
Defensively, there are no secrets with Chol. He will always be able to block shots and he showed strong foot speed as well. The biggest issue with him has been strength and, as we mentioned earlier, that will not be the same type of issue as it was last season. Chol's largest potential is definitely on the defensive side of the ball.
Physically, none of the players are as ready to contribute as Kaleb Tarczewski. Obviously, he was tall to start with, but he has put on a considerable amount of muscle and you can make a legitimate argument that he already has NBA size. Physically, we don't see how he is kept out of the starting lineup because he is a nightmare for other teams in the post and can more than handle his own against any other big man in the conference. He will have to improve his hands, but that is definitely something that will be worked on.
Offensively, Tarczewski showed solid touch from the corner of the free-throw line. We would like to see him shoot a little better on the hook shots around the basket, but that will likely come with repetition. However, we had never really seen him shoot at the AAU level because he was not really asked to. On Wednesday, Tarczewski shot well from the field and if it is a weapon that he can use in games, Tarczewski becomes much more dangerous.
Tarczewski will never be a player that is fast up and down the court, but he still has room to improve his foot speed. You don't see many guys his size with extraordinary foot speed and his is not bad by any means, but it is a good sign that he can still improve in that area, which is being worked on in certain drills.
The first aspect of Brandon Ashley that stands out is how much stronger he has gotten. Although Ashley was never fat, you can tell that he has lost some weight or at least turned it into muscle. He was in fine shape to begin with as far as we are concerned, but it is almost a scary thought for opponents that he is in better shape and keeps going in the right direction.
Ashley was never a great defender in high school due in large part to the fact that he did not seem to put in the necessary effort. That is not as big of a knock as it may seem, because it is hard to find a lot of elite players that care about that side of the ball.
The good part about this is that Ashley definitely seems to recognize that he needs to play defense at this level, especially if he wants to play for Arizona. On Wednesday, he showed fantastic foot speed and more than held his own in the post defensively. Ashley is going to have plenty of talent on offense, but consistent defense is what is going to make him special.
We have a ton of respect for the other players, but we are not sure Arizona can keep Ashley out of the starting lineup. He is a complete nightmare for the opposition because he has the ability to score in numerous ways and uses his length on both offense and defense.
The lineup allows Ashley to play primarily at the four, but we can see him playing some small forward in a year. He has already come a long way in his skills and lateral speed, which is a big deal for his ability to play the three. We are not necessarily saying that Ashley is a small forward only, but he will have the ability to play both next season.
Grant Jerrett did not show us anything that surprised us because we were high on him to begin with. Sean Miller did not lie when he said Jerrett is one of the better shooters on the team and he showed why on Wednesday. Jerrett was able to consistently hit jumpers in the drills and do so from varying lengths. It will be difficult to keep him off the court for an extended period of time because of that ability.
Jerrett's length is going to be a big plus on both sides of the ball. On defense, he made it difficult for the offensive player in the post to get a shot off because he is bigger than a seven-footer when he fully extends his arms. If he happens to be on the court at the same time as Tarczewski, it will be curious to see how opposing teams possibly handle that.
Jerrett is a little behind in terms of strength, but that is only because he got to campus a bit later than the others. Miller said after the workout that everything will even itself out and it is hard not to agree. Jerrett has the will to work hard and it will certainly pay off in terms of his strength, so that is not a worry at all.