State of the Roster: Power forward

Arizona will have more than enough depth at power forward next season. Read on for a closer look at that depth, what it means for the Wildcats, and more.

Arizona's front court was one of the biggest reasons why the Wildcats had such a successful 2012-13 campaign.

While there were plenty of growing pains among a very young group, the progress each player made was significant to the team's postseason success.

A year prior, UA was size-deficient and the lack of height and length on the floor turned out being one of the biggest reasons the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament.

With three new freshmen and the presence of veterans like Solomon Hill, Arizona was able to take a huge step in the right direction thanks in large part to the big men.

All three freshmen are returning next season and the Wildcats could be in even better shape with a year of experience under the belts of the three soon-to-be sophomores.

What's even more exciting for UA fans is that there is a very athletic player that possesses a plethora of skills being added to the front court in Aaron Gordon -- one of the nation's top high school prospects.

Gordon can hit a face-up jump-shot from mid-to-long range as well as take a player off the dribble, but under the basket is where he is most dangerous.

His athleticism and leaping ability make him tough to defend, but his determination and ability to finish are what make him a prospect that can take a team to the next level.

In order for Arizona to truly progress as a team, however, Gordon will have to be just a piece to the front court puzzle and not the lone contributor.

He is going to have to battle with four other big men for playing time and each of them has a leg up on Gordon in the experience department.

At the power forward position, Gordon must battle Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett for minutes. Both Ashley and Jerrett possess different tools that are equally valuable to UA on both ends of the floor. Jerrett struggled shooting the ball early in his first season, but he became one of Arizona's most deadly shooters from beyond the arc.

Jerrett's length also makes him a candidate for improvement around the basket on the offensive end of the floor. With a little added muscle, Jerrett could become a much more dangerous weapon around the bucket.

On the defensive end of the floor, he will likely be the team's top shot blocker given how he was able to swat away shots with frequency as a freshman.

In Ashley's case, it's just about refining his game. He showed potential in several areas of his game and there were numerous contests where he looked like the best freshman on the roster.

He uses his strength very well in the paint and with an off-season in the weight room, he could become a dominant power forward in the Pac-12.

As for Angelo Chol, it really depends on how he performs once Gordon arrives on campus. Chol played sparingly throughout the majority of the season and with a prospect like Gordon entering the equation, Chol will need to step his game up, especially on the offensive end of the floor.

The least surprising outcome for Chol is that he redshirts for a season to develop his game further rather than waste a year of eligibility by potentially riding the pine for most of the season.

The likelihood of the other four big men sticking around together after next season is slim. The popular belief is that Gordon is a one-and-done prospect and it wouldn't be surprising if one or more of the remaining big men played themselves into NBA draft prospects. So, for Chol, redshirting next season would be far from shocking.

There is also Matt Korcheck on the roster, who has the ability to play some four if necessary. Korcheck has the toughest road ahead to playing time, but contributing on the court is not completely out of the question.

Korcheck is another big body to utilize in the paint. With so much depth and talent already on the roster though, Korcheck is going to need to exceed expectations to crack the power forward rotation.

In the matter of a year, the Arizona front court went from a problem to an advantage for UA. Now, with more talent and experience on the roster, not many teams around the country are going to be able to match what the Wildcats bring to the power forward position next season.


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