“T.J.'s a great player,” Frank Kaminsky said. “He’s definitely the heart and soul of their team. It takes a long time to become a leader on a college basketball team. Not very many freshmen can walk in the door and become the heart and soul of the team or a leader.
“He's definitely worked as hard as he could to be that for Arizona and it shows out on the court. We know he's a great on-the-court leader. He can do a lot of things.
“He knows how to get his teammates involved in the game. He can score, he can rebound, he can pass. So it's hard to frustrate a player like that, but we know at the same time that we have to shut him down if we want to win.”
Josh Gasser could be matched up with McConnell and shares Kaminsky’s sentiment.
“I definitely respect T.J. McConnell,” he said. “Just from watching him on TV, you can tell how hard he competes. The plays he makes are winning plays, and that's what you need.
“That's why Arizona has such a good record and such a hard team to beat, because they have a guy like that at the point guard position who is a great leader, tough, makes all the little plays.
“He's a fun guy to play against too, because you know you have to bring it, and they've got a lot of guys like that.”
McConnell isn’t the only dangerous player, as Kaminsky remembers being in a zone when these two teams last faced each other.
“Looking back at last year, it was just one of those games where everything was going right for me,” he said. “I've had some games like that before, and hopefully I'll have some more.”
As much as he would like a repeat performance, Arizona has some major difference this season.
“We know about Stanley,” Kaminsky said. “He's one of the most talked about freshmen in the country, and for good reason. He's a very good player.
“Brandon Ashley unfortunately didn't play last year, but he adds another dimension to their team with size and athleticism. We're going to have to really prepare for them this year, and it's not going to be easy to come out with a win, but we know if we stick to our scouting report and play well, we have a chance to win.”