Victor comfortable with his role

Craig Victor is comfortable with his role going into the season. Read on to see why that is, his thoughts on conditioning, and more.

With the competition among the Wildcats being so fierce, each player knows that it has to impress Sean Miller in order to get playing time.

Freshman Craig Victor believes he knows how there will be separation.

"I play very hard," Victor said. "I play defense. It’s just the small intangibles. Everybody can score, but it is those intangibles that get you on the court."

Victor has already started the process of transforming his body and looks to be in the best shape of his career.

"That all goes to Coach Rounds," he said. "We’re in there every day and since the season is about to start, we go there three times a week full body.

"He teaches us a lot. He is hard on us and I would say he is much more strict than Coach Miller is. We spend the most time with him and all the credit with the physicality goes to him."

In addition, Victor has put in more work into simply becoming a better player and more ready to contribute.

"We’re in the gym so much," he said. "I have never been in the gym this much. Two weeks ago I had a meeting with Coach Miller and I looked at my fall shooting chart and I shot close to 4,000 shots.

"I would say I am very comfortable with my role and my position getting better as a player and as a man. Off the court there are a lot of things you have to deal with being in the spotlight, so I am very comfortable with the player I have become."

Sean MIller has been impressed with Victor's physicality, but also admits he is fighting for a spot just as numerous other players are.

"Craig is just a physical player and is almost like a throwback forward in that he loves to rebound the ball and score close to the basket," he said. "He’s just getting better at some of the things that he needs to, shooting the ball, getting his body in shape. How fast the game is, how big everybody is, that’s always an adjustment for a new big guy.

"Part of this year’s team is that we have great depth, but some of the players in our program, whatever role they carve out this year, they are going to be much better and ready a year from now or in their future having gone against this type of competition every day. That’s what you want, you want that highly competitive environment within your own team and we have that now."

Victor does not shy away from the belief that he is a throwback player and has an understanding of what that means.

"Between Coach Miller and I, throwback is basically getting the job done at all costs," Victor said. "The rules have changed. A lot of these players are soft now, but I am going to play my game regardless and Coach knows I am going to play my game and we will go from there."

The transition has been made easier for Victor due to a previous relationship he had before joining the team.

"Brandon Ashley a mentor to me," Victor said. "When most guys come in as freshmen, the older guys try to say that he is coming to take their spot, but Brandon has been there for me when I needed him and he is still showing me the ropes, so I appreciate him."

If there is anything that Ashley has taught Victor, it's that there are no days off.

"You have to bring it every day," Victor said. "That’s me, Stanley, Rondae, the older guys, everybody. The younger guys are coming to play just like the older guys are, so you can’t lag. That’s the main thing, because if you do, it is easy to tell in practice."

If Victor and his teammates continue to do that, the freshman feels that the Wildcats will be ready to break through.

"Really for myself, I know this may sound weird, but I don’t really have expectations for myself," Victor said. "I just want us to win. I’ve seen this team fall two years in a row in the Elite Eight, so it is just about getting over that hump and being in the Final Four."

Much has been made about team chemistry being so important and Victor says that it has been helped along by the fact that many of the current players knew each other before joining Arizona.

"We’re freshmen, but to these guys, Brandon and Stan played on the same AAU team," he said. "I’ve been knowing Parker for a long time. I have known Rondae for about four years now.

"T.J. and Kaleb had a relationship, Kadeem and I have known each other for three years. It’s not really that we are new. Everybody knew each other, but being able to play together is the key. We’re a family here, but it is transforming that onto the court.

"We have to listen to what Coach Miller says and honor the process. We have to take it one day at a time. If guys are going to be worrying about minutes and what they are doing in the future, it is obvious we might fall short."


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