McConnell ready to make it count

T.J. McConnell's role has changed dramatically in one year. Read on for his thoughts on being a leader, what that role will be, and more.

T.J. McConnell knows that there was not much pressure on him last season. After all, he was responsible for only playing well in practice and fans and coaches alike never got to see him in an Arizona game environment.

Fast forward a year and McConnell knows exactly what he is getting himself into.

"Last year I was on the scout team most of the time and I was trying to get starters ready for games," McConnell said. "Now that I am on the other side of that, the bullets are real. It definitely changes the perspective on things."

McConnell's college role has also changed with his difference in schools, as he recognizes the need to be more of a leader. In fact, McConnell did not disagree with a recent report that the Wildcats are too quiet during practice.

"I think we are too quiet," he said. "I think that if we don't talk, it could hurt us in the long run. We're really working on that now, so we are going to get that fixed.

"It's hard because at Duquesne I really did not have to talk that much. I was always one of the younger guys, but now that I am one of the older guys on the team it's hard to change. If you want to go far in this season, you're going to have to change."

The guards have taken it upon themselves to become more vocal and McConnell has seen the improvement the past few weeks.

"In the beginning it was pretty quiet, but as the weeks have went on and we have been together on the court, everyone's communicating well and everyone is starting to talk and it is looking better," McConnell said.

"Nick has always been that guy to lead with his voice and I have picked up the talking, Gabe has picked up the talking. I think everyone has done a great job of talking and I think Nick has always been the one that spices up practice in the beginning."

McConnell's main role at Arizona will be as a distributor, but the coaching staff has been very vocal that it also wants him to be aggressive offensively.

"At Duquesne I took the shots that they gave me and I pretty much plan to do that here," McConnell said. "I will try to get people the ball as much as I can, but when I have the opportunity to score I am going to score as well.

"To know that a coach has confidence in you to tell you to shoot, and he's pretty much been telling me all year to let the game come to you and take the shots that they give you. I am not going to force a bad shot, I am going to run the offense, get it where it needs to go, get people the ball, and when I am open I am going to shoot."

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