Korcheck excited to be a Wildcat

Matt Korcheck may not play this season, but that does not mean he is not important. Read on for his thoughts on his role, feeling about Arizona, and much more.

The Arizona Wildcats added seven players to the roster this offseason. Two of those players joined the team thinking about the future of the program, as T.J. McConnell transferred from Duquesne and Matt Korcheck was recruited out of Cochise Community College.

Prior to playing for Cochise, the big man played for Sabino High School in Tucson. As a local product, Korcheck had aspirations of playing for the Wildcats growing up. After two years of improving his skill set, he has finally joined his hometown team.

"It feels great to finally be here," Korcheck said. "It's a dream come true for me. It's an opportunity finally awakened after two years of hard work. I'm just glad to be here."

Korcheck didn't plan for his path to go the way it did. He signed with UTEP out of high school, but decided to go the community college route when he failed to meet admission standards.

"As a younger guy in high school, you never want to go down the junior college path," he said. "You want to be big time right away, but unfortunately that's the path I took. I think it worked out really well and I take it as a positive thing."

Over the summer, Korcheck was able to work with the team for ten full practices before the trip to the Bahamas. It is something that stood out to the newcomer as a helpful marker in his transition.

"The extra practices were tremendously helpful," he said. "I got a first hand look at what it's going to be like at this level.

"Everyone has struggled at times in certain areas, but everyone is moving along nicely now. We are all getting the system and improving."

With the speed bumps that come with the transition from one level of play to another, the change in coaching styles is often overlooked. According to Korcheck, the coaching staff at Arizona has helped the switch by being understanding.

"The coaching style isn't too different for me right now," Korcheck said. "The biggest thing is that the coaches here at Arizona are more relaxed. They are being very patient with everyone's development. They understand that everyone has a different skill set."

Korcheck has already seen plenty of differences between basketball at Arizona and basketball at Cochise.

"Size and speed are the biggest differences," he said. "Coming here, I was used to being the bigger guy, but going against Kaleb (Tarczewski), who's seven-foot-one and 260-pounds, it's crazy."

The big man has more than enough competition in practices, going against three of the top freshmen big men in the country.

"It's great going playing against the freshmen," Korcheck said. "Going against Kaleb every day is unbelievable. He's such a huge guy and it's a challenge to play against him in practice.

"They're all extremely talented. If I had to pick one freshman standout, I'd have to say Brandon Ashley. He's said to be the most consistent in practice, but all of them are so good. They are all hard workers and want to win."

Korcheck has also seen the early impact of working with Chris Rounds. He is not alone, as the other incoming players have also praised the work of the strength and conditioning staff.

"I've put on about eleven pounds of muscle," Korcheck said. "I've never lifted this much in my life. They have us going three to four times a week. It really rips your body apart. On top of weight lifting, they have taught us how to eat right and it's completely different.

"We are doing different lifts here are Arizona. Most of it is machine lifting with gear that's designed for bigger guys, so we don't get hurt."

Korcheck came to Arizona with the intention of redshirting this upcoming season. He will take the year to increase his size and skill level.

"It's tough to sit out, but I'm going to take it as a positive," he said. "It helps to have a guy like T.J. (McConnell). It's motivating for me because we are the same age and it's really nice to sit out with a guy like him. We can come into the gym together and work on our games together knowing that we will have our shot next season.

"I'd say I'm going to use the redshirt year to help the team get better. I'm going to work on my shot and try to learn as much about the system here as possible."

It hasn't taken long for the incoming freshmen to mesh with the returning players. Since arriving on campus, all of the players have fit in well with each other.

"We all have an equal bond with each other," Korcheck said. "We all get a long and while some of us hang out with others more because of schedules, there's no separation. It's a great group of guys to be around.

"We need to stay focused and stay together. Everyone comes to practice every day and comes ready to compete. Keeping that up for the whole season will help us be successful."


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