As Sean Miller sat down to address the media for the first time in months, he was quick to express his enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
"I think we are really excited about what we have in front of us," Miller said. "To me, one of the things that teams who do well have in common is you have some form of experience and I love the fact that we have a number of returning players not only from last year’s team, but if you delve into our history deeper, really we have a number of players that have been a part of our program the last two seasons.
"I think if you add Rondae onto that list with his experience that he got a year ago, really we have a lot of the same parts or crucial parts to previous teams that return. I think, to a man, each one is better, more experienced. In some ways they will pick up right where they left off and I think in other ways that they are poised to be in position to have very good seasons."
In addition to the players returning, it's no secret that the Wildcats added plenty of new talent as well.
"Equally exciting for us, and it doesn't happen a lot, on one side you have some returning pieces to successful teams, but on the other hand you have an influx of new players," Miller said. "A talented group of guys who haven’t been here before that I think in their own right potentially, it remains to be seen, but I think it could play out where they actually could make our team this season deeper than we would have been a year ago or even two years ago in some ways.
"I think quality depth with some of the new guys and the excitement of the returning guys blends together to give us a lot of optimism and I like what I have seen through the spring, summer, and early fall."
Although Arizona will ideally be a deeper team this season, Miller is not necessarily going to push to make sure that he uses players he may not necessarily have to.
"I’ve already addressed that with our players," he said. "I will only play six players potentially if those six players are significantly different than 7-12 or 13. We’ll play as many as nine, ten is a lot, but nine if six through nine are in and around the same in terms of the difference in ability and we feel they add quality depth.
"You learn through trial and error and over time. This is my 11th team. You can’t create depth if you don’t have it. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it. If you don’t have it, then create depth by having a great group of six players that are interchangeable and learn and get the byproduct of tremendous chemistry because you only play six.
"I’m not saying we are only going to play six. I don’t know if we’re going to play nine, that remains to be seen. Just because we have a lot of players that are talented or have done a lot of things before they got here, doesn't mean that they get a chance to play in a game. Our depth will only be as deep as the players have earned the right to play."
With that possibility of increased depth also comes the idea that Arizona may go with differing lineups depending on the opponent.
"I could see a scenario this year where we have six players and when you look at how they are there isn't a huge difference between them and on different nights we start different lineups," he said. "Or we could start the same group every day. That’s yet to be named, but I believe what we do have is a number of players competing for an opportunity, which is good."
Throughout the season, Miller would like to see each player fall within a specific role.
"It’s important that roles are defined, but that’s an evolving process," he said. "When it really looks right is when everybody understands what’s expected of them and what’s their job. Equally important is that they embrace it. Maybe they want more, but they understand why they have that role and they try to do it to the best of their ability."