Arizona Basketball Notes

Arizona head coach Sean Miller met with the media on Tuesday. Read on to see what he said about Zach Peters, Aaron Gordon's groin injury, and much more.

  • Although Arizona's rotation is not set, Miller says he has a good idea of which players are going to see the bulk of the minutes.

    "I think in one sense we are set with the players that earned and what we think is the best to win today is how we are going to play every game," Miller said. "But there is no doubt and forget where we are ranked, we have a much better opportunity to be a better team here in a month, a couple weeks, two months, whatever you may have it. As long as we are healthy, just because we have so much inexperience across the board."

  • The freshmen will have plenty to contribute, but there may be just as much pressure as the players returning.

    "Nick (Johnson) is new to the role we have for him this year," Miller said. "We need more from him. It's not as if he is returning to that exact same role that he had a year ago.

    "We need both (Tarczewski and Ashley) guys to play well, to do more, to foul less, to play more minutes. From that perspective I think November is going to test us in a lot of different ways."

  • Zach Peters was cleared for contact on Tuesday, but that does not mean he will get minutes right away.

    "Zach has been cleared today," Miller said Tuesday. "Today will be the first day that he has practiced with contact. He's done a lot of things we have done since the summer, but he has not been cleared to do contact. It's been a while since he has played competitive five on five, so you don't go from 0 to 100.

    "It's too early. I have not seen him playing and he has not seen himself playing against live competition. We're going to give him all the time in the world and we're going to move at a pace that is in his best interest in the hope that at some point this season he can help our team."

  • Arizona easily defeated Augustana in the exhibition, but the rebounding was disappointing. At this point, it does not seem to be a major concern moving forward.

    "Rebounding is a strength of this year's team, but you have to learn how to utilize your strength sometimes," Miller said. "That was the first game that a lot of our players have ever played in McKale, sitting on the same bench, had a lot of guys that were anxious, as they should be in their first game ever in college or the first game in the new role that they have.

    "We didn't necessarily crash the glass and be as physical as we will be moving forward, but that is the beauty of being able to play an exhibition game or have a scrimmage."

  • Speaking of scrimmage, Arizona had one at St. Mary's this past weekend and was able to learn plenty from it.

    "We got a lot out of that scrimmage," Miller said. "It is the best thing that I believe we have done since I came to Arizona to prepare for our season. Not only did we play a quality team in St. Mary's with a great coach, but we also played a team on their home court.

    "We were able to leave the comfort of Tucson and McKale Center with our great crowd and go into a gym that was empty playing against a really unique style, a veteran team, a team that I believe will have a chance to be in this year's NCAA tournament for sure."

  • In addition to preparing for opponents, the Wildcats have been working to adjust to the new hand-checking rules.

    "We have had officials eight times," Miller said. "That is the most a team that I've coached has ever brought officials in and that includes the Red and Blue game, the exhibition game, and we did that to see and get a better feel for the hand-checking. It is something we are coaching, we're working on, and I hope it translates here to our early games."

  • Often times a coach needs a game or two to learn what he has, but Miller says it may take longer than that for this year's team.

    "Each team is different," he said. "Sometimes you almost know right now because you have the same players coming back. This year it may take a while for us to really hit our stride and figure out what groups of players can do what and how well we've played under pressure.

    "You see it every day in practice, but sometimes game circumstances change, so it is going to take I would think certainly a couple weeks of games. I would like to think that as we get into early December, we would have a better feel and certainly no question once we get through the entire non-conference season we will have a real firm grasp on who we are."

  • Aaron Gordon played limited minutes in the second half of the Augustana exhibition and only 60 percent of the St. Mary's scrimmage. However, Miller believe he will be fine on Friday.

    "Aaron has a groin strain and I would say it is kind of a nagging groin strain in that it is not an injury that is all of a sudden going to go away," Miller said. "What we've done is we've tried to teach him how to manage it.

    "He's chomping at the bit to be in every practice and be ready to play, but sometimes for us giving him an extra day of rest and not letting him practice the entire time big picture wise is going to let him calm down. He's going to be fine, especially if we are smart right now. I don't anticipate him being limited (Friday)."

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