12/10 Basketball Notebook

Arizona continues to work to improve on both sides of the ball. Read on to see what Sean Miller says about the offensive efficiency, defensive play, and more.

  • Arizona has been criticized some for its offensive play, but Sean Miller believes that it may be better than it appears.

    "We’re very efficient right now on offense," Miller said. "I think if you look at our numbers, we’re doing a lot of good things. We have gotten off to slower offensive starts at the beginning of games.

    "We’re working to address that to kind of help that group through that period of time. The good news is that at the same time we have also defended very well.

    "Many times at the media timeout, it looks like we’re struggling, but in reality both teams are. We want to start faster for sure."

  • As well as Arizona has defended as of late, Miller feels there is room for improvement.

    "Our defense is okay, we’re not as good of a defensive team as we were last year," Miller said. "We can get there, but the one thing you learn as a coach is that you have to get through significant part of your schedule to really know and learn the most about your team."

  • Much of the Wildcats' success on defense is related to attitude and how the players handle possibly not doing as well on offense.

    "How players are in practice prior to games beginning, how their collective attitude is, it’s all about defense when your record is 0-0," Miller said."

    "When you don’t score double figures in a couple of games and you start to get that feeling that you’re not getting the numbers you thought you were going to get, it amazes me how defense isn't important any more."

  • When asked for an example of a player that seems to understand that dynamic, Miller quickly turns to last year's squad.

    "Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson’s greatest gift while they were here, although both guys had individual goals, they were as persistent and good on a daily basis of playing hard and competing and defending, regardless of what happened to them personally the night before," Miller said.

    "Sometimes when you coach a guy you can see it on his face a couple days later he is really down because he didn't play well and the first thing that goes is defense. That’s why we talk a lot about, when’s the last time that a team has been great on defense and you look at it and say they’re selfish. It’s almost impossible."

  • Kaleb Tarczewski has seen consistent double teams early in the season and admits that he has had to learn how to play through them.

    "I think it’s been a learning process so far," Tarczewski said. "A lot of teams have been dropping in the post, double teaming, playing some zones. I think we’re getting better every day.

    "Coach Miller wants us to be better every day and I think looking at where we were in the Red and Blue game compared to now, we are a lot better team and hopefully we can continue to get better."

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