Arizona Basketball Notebook

Sean Miller met with the media on Monday and discussed T.J. McConnell's shooting, Oakland, and more. Read on for the press conference notes.

  • T.J. McConnell has handled the point for Arizona well, but continues to try to find his shooting touch.

    "T.J. McConnell I think is having a great first ten games," Sean Miller said. "He is our team’s heart and soul, especially defensively. It’s not just what he does on the ball and who he guards, but it’s the number of great plays adjoin important plays he has made off the ball.

    "He is one of the many tone setters on our team where other guys follow his lead and intensity. From an offensive perspective he has done a lot of good things with his assist to turnover ratio.

    "What he hasn’t done to this point is shoot the ball as well as we expected him to shoot it from three, but there is a lot of basketball left to be played. We are all hoping he can hit his stride."

  • There are numerous ways to handle McConnell's slump, but Miller chooses to let it work itself out.

    "I think from T.J.’s perspective, taking good shots is not a problem, but not worrying about misses and just moving on miss or make knowing that the shot by him is a good shot for our team," Miller said. "That is really what we have talked to him about."

  • Arizona continues to improve with each game, but Miller does not believe that is always the case.

    "We have made progress since the fall," Miller said. "I think we are a better team right now than we would have been at the start of our season for sure. Not all teams have improved.

    "Sometimes you get hit with an unexpected injury or circumstance, you have cancers in your locker room which takes away from your ability to get better, or some losses and adversity strikes and you are battling more within than trying to improve."

  • The main reason why the Wildcats are improving is because of the overall team attitude.

    "From our team’s perspective, we have had a very good collective team attitude, our younger guys are more coachable, know our system better, and working harder," Miller said. "That is what you always hope happens with the new guys.

    "With the veteran players, let’s face it, there aren’t many veteran players in the country that have won more games or have been in more big games than our veterans. We are relying on those guys to show up every day and to set the tone and they have done that.

    "We are nowhere near where I think we can be as a team. We can get better. We have improved over the last couple of weeks offensively and I think we have the bar set very high from a defensive perspective, so we are challenging ourselves everyday to get better there too."

  • Attention now turns to Oakland, a team that can score in multiple ways.

    "Offensively they score the ball as well as any team we have played all season," Miller said. "They have a tremendous low post player, a very good point guard, and they shoot the three very similar to Michigan. If you look at Michigan’s statistics, Oakland and Michigan are similar in their three point attempts per game and how they rely on it."

  • In addition, Miller has know Oakland's coach Greg Kampe for quite a while.

    "Kampe is one of those coaches that is a coach’s coach," Miller said. "You respect him a great deal and he has been at his university for more than two decades.

    "He is one of those old school guys that coaches the game and takes care of his business and really has a great way of coaching. He has had some terrific teams and players over a long period of time and has done it with not the most.

    "His resources, he utilizes them as well as any coach. You always know you are going to get a quality team and a team that is well-coached, especially on offense."


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