McConnell ready for expectations

T.J. McConnell is aware of the expectations placed upon him and his teammates. Read on for his thoughts on those expectations, how he can help Arizona, and more.

It would have been understandable if T.J. McConnell had difficult sitting out last season. After all, he has the talent to contribute on any team in the country and could have easily stayed at Duquesne and been its best player.

Instead, he chose to transfer to Arizona and could only participate in practice. However, he had no difficulty doing so and believes it was worth the wait.

"It actually went by fast," McConnell said. "There would be games I wish I could be out there, but it made me better to sit out a whole year and work on aspects of my game. I'm glad I did it.

"When I was on my visit they told me that a year sitting out with them working out and everything, I knew I would get better from it. When I came here I pretty much knew that it was what I wanted and I did not make a mistake."

Once McConnell started practicing with his teammates, it did not take long for them to work well together.

"It did not take long at all," he said. "When I got here everybody pretty much welcomed me with open arms and we did the same with the freshmen this year. We all know each other's games already and we are working toward a common goal."

Arizona has numerous highly ranked players, but McConnell has high expectations placed on him as well. Instead of focusing on them too much, McConnell and his teammates focus on the goals at hand.

"We hear expectations all the time, but I know everybody on this team will take it one practice and one game at a time and that is what we preach every day," McConnell said. "We talk about it, but we have to practice and practice hard.

"We obviously have to go out and win to achieve the goal that we want. We try not to listen to the expectations and just go out and play our game."

With all of that talent, many teams would have difficulty splitting up minutes. McConnell feels that each member of Arizona knows what it will take to be successful.

"I don't think anybody is worried about minutes here, we are just worried about winning and that is the most important thing," he said. "I often hear teams worrying about minutes, but when I talk to all of the guys, we all say as long as we are winning, we don't care how many minutes we play."

It's no secret that most criticism surrounding Arizona is related to its shooting ability and McConnell has continued to work in order to make sure that is not the case.

"If I'm open I am going to shoot it, but if not I am going to get people the ball," he said. "Whatever the team needs me to take, whether it is a three or a two, it doesn't matter.

"It was non-stop (working on shooting). Nick and I tried to get everybody in the gym. We all just tried to improve our shots because we are going to need to be a good three-point shooting team this year to be successful I think."


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