Chol getting adjusted

Angelo Chol is being pushed by three new freshmen. Read on for his thoughts on that situation, his role on Arizona, and much more.

Last year, the Arizona Wildcats desperately lacked depth in the front court. That was why Angelo Chol was forced to play over twelve minutes a game as a true freshman. The season started with him playing fewer minutes, but it progressed as he grew as a player.

This offseason, Chol has been working hard to make sure that he is ready for the tasks he will face in his sophomore campaign. One thing that has helped the power forward was the team trip to the Bahamas over the summer.

"Last year we didn't get to do anything like that," Chol said. "I think going down there helped our team form a bond. We had fun and got a head start on the season. Those ten practices we had really helped."

Chol knows the difficulty of being a freshman and wanting to make the transition as seamless as possible. However, as hard as some incoming players try, most of them have some issues with the switch from high school to college.

"The freshmen have had mostly good days," Chol said. They do have trouble with the plays sometimes, but it's nothing big. They're going to be fine by the time the season starts."

For Chol, playing against the incoming players has been helpful, as he is playing against high caliber big men in practice every day. Last season, he had to practice against undersized post players, such as Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry.

"They're McDonald's All-Americans, so you already know that they are pretty good players," Chol said. "For me, playing with them and against them, I feel like I'm getting better every day.

"It's a big difference. I have to compete every day. They bring it every single day and I have to adjust to it because they are bigger than what we had last season. It's better for practicing against teams that have other big men."

When asked which newcomer stood out to him the most, Chol shied away from naming one player, but instead said that each one brings something different to the team.

"All three big guys have stood out in their own ways," he said. "Each one has a special skill that they bring. All three have been pushing me. They can really play."

The sophomore has improved his perimeter defense by guarding Grant Jerrett in practices so far. He has been mentioned as one of the best three-point shooters on the team and has taught Chol a valuable lesson about keeping his hands up on defense.

"I have to put my hands up all the time when I guard (Jerrett)," Chol said. "He's tall and he can shoot it. It really does challenge me because if I keep my hands low, he's going to shoot it in my face."

One of the key points that Sean Miller pointed out about the system that is in place at Arizona was the strength and conditioning program run by Chris Rounds. Not only do the players have vigorous workouts, but they are also required to eat healthy foods and monitor their body fat.

"I'm at about 225 pounds now," he said. "I was at 215 last year, so I've put on about ten pounds.

"It's hard for me because I have a fast metabolism. I lose weight fast, so it's harder for me to put on that kind of weight. I just have to eat a lot of the right foods and lift weights."

Over the course of the offseason, Chol has tried to improve different parts of his game. However, he has also worked on his personality.

"I think I've improved with being more vocal," he said. "Last season I was too quiet and didn't say much. This year that is different. I've also gotten better with my game around the basket. I've worked pretty hard on that over the summer."

Even though the team has high expectations for the year, the coaches and the players are trying to keep the same mindset that they had last year. The players in particular are trying not to take anything for granted.

"Our focus has been to follow through with the process," Chol said. "We have to keep working hard to get better with each practice. We have to get prepared for the season.

"Our focus is pretty much the same as it was before. We want to work hard and make sure we are winning games."


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