Arizona’s first official game may be weeks away, but Saturday will provide the first glimpse of this season’s team with the Red and Blue game. Here are a few aspects of the game that we will keep a close eye on.
The freshmen: This pretty much goes without saying. Like anything in this game, it is difficult to take away too much because it is a scrimmage and history has shown us that we could see players do well that won’t contribute at all and vice versa.
This will be the first opportunity to see Stanley Johnson in an Arizona uniform. For those who haven’t seen him, the first reaction will probably be one of amazement based on his sheer size and the fact that Arizona is going to be playing him at shooting guard.
In addition, fans will get to see Parker Jackson-Cartwright in action. The big question surrounding his game is whether or not he will be ready to play right away, but that is somewhat irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Arizona has a legitimate backup point guard and, at the very least, we will get a glimpse of his skills.
Craig Victor and Dusan Ristic will give the first look at what Arizona’s future in the post may be. Both players may not play a ton this season, but Miller has spoken highly of both. We think Ristic will surprise people with just how good he is and if it wasn’t for Kaleb Tarczewski, his minutes would probably be bigger than what they likely will be. Still, Ristic has potential and it will be intriguing to see how much he shows on Saturday.
The physical development: We’ve said this before, but every single player on the team looks considerably bigger than he was last season. The Wildcats were already in good shape last season, but guys like T.J. McConnell have put on upper body strength and players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who was big to begin with, have gotten in even better physical shape.
Arizona is going to be one of the biggest teams in the country and with the work that it put in the off-season, there’s a good chance it will be one of the strongest as well.
Rondae’s jumper: We don’t expect Hollis-Jefferson’s shooting percentage to jump up 20 percent and for him to all of a sudden become an amazing jump shooter. We do however, expect it to be improved a bit and for there to be an increase in his confidence as well.
Hollis-Jefferson’s form isn’t really broken, but his touch needed improvement. Saturday may not be the best environment for us to see how far he has come in that regard, but hopefully we will get some kind of look at his jumper and how much work he put in to making it better.
The New McKale: We have gotten a close look at the new McKale Center, but it is always fun hearing how fans react. We’re guessing that they will be a fan of the new court, seats, and lighting, but the changes in McKale are going to be major for some people.
The renovations in McKale are not done yet and there is plenty of work left, but Saturday will give the fans a good taste of what is to come.