* Freshman Ray Smith is scheduled to have surgery Monday on his torn ACL and Sean Miller expressed his disappointment with the whole situation.
“I have never felt worse for a young player than I did when it happened to Ray because we are well aware of hard he has worked from two summers ago when he had his injury to the other knee,” Miller said.
“He has been looking forward to this time. Unfortunately that is how it works sometimes in sports. Single moment, non-contact and he is back in the same boat as he once was. He is going to get surgery on Monday, same doctor that did his other surgery.
“Ironically, his other knee is doing really well. It’s strong, he has full range of motion. We are optimistic that the same thing can happen here. We have tremendous support here, he has a great family behind him. He knows what to do and in some ways he will be better prepared for it this time around.”
* Kaleb Tarczewski has been battling an ankle injury, but the staff is optimistic he will be able to play this weekend.
“We’ve erred on the side of caution with Kaleb because he is one of the most experienced players,” Miller said. “The injury that he suffered was more to the inside of his ankle, which is odd for a basketball player.
“Sometimes it takes a little bit more time to heal and because of the size and experience he has, we have tried to make sure he gets almost pain free and allowed time to go by.
“That has put a lot of pressure on our practices, so guys like Ryan Anderson, Mark Tollefsen, Dusan and Chance Comanche have taken the lion share of the load where there is not a lot of breaks for those guys.
“Our hope is that as we get toward this weekend he continues to progress and then full contact as we head into our opener next Friday.”
* On Wednesday, Sean Miller and his coaching staff made the decision to not redshirt Chance Comanche.
“We’re not going to redshirt Chance,” Miller said. “The reason is that he is much further along than we anticipated. He is playing really good basketball. The thing he is missing is strength and weight and he can only gain so much of that right now.
“I have great optimism about his future in terms of if you look at him at 225, you will see his skill and quickness in a big guy that I believe will develop into a very good player. We’re a foul trouble situation, an injury away from him playing.
“If we didn't think he was capable, even though we still would have believed in him, maybe we would have talked to Chance and his mom, made sure they were aware it was a possibility, and then for his own development and best interest potentially redshirt him.
“Looking at him now, I think it is cut and dry that he is more than capable of helping us in those situations. His best days are no question ahead of him, but it is not out of the question he can help us at some point this season.
* Gabe York is one of the most experienced Wildcats and Miller is hoping to see him emerge as a leader.
“We have challenged Gabe to not be the same, but to be better,” Miller said. “He wants to be better and wants a bigger role. Make no mistake, last season and two seasons ago, Gabe York played a vital role on those teams.
“He has a lot of experience, like Kaleb, and has seen just about everything. I know he wants to finish his career and have his best year overall, but I think in order to do that he needs to defend better and be a more vocal, consistent leader, not just someone who blends in and allows a guy like T.J. McConnell or Nick Johnson to lead the team, but actually be that guy. This team needs his vocal leadership.”
* The most impressive player in practice has also been a player that ha yet to see real action in an Arizona uniform.
“Ryan Anderson has been our best player hands down,” Miller said. “I would say he has dominated the practices. Very similar to Solomon Hill and T.J. McConnell in that he dominates the action in virtually everything we do.
“He has won it in six consecutive weeks and he has been unchallenged. He was also excellent in the scrimmage. I would say he is one of our pleasant surprises because we believed in him and were around him last year, but he made a huge jump this off-season physically and sometimes you forget the value of a player that has played three years already.
“He is somebody that knows how to work hard and knows how to play. I look for him, especially if his health stays intact, to have a great year for us.”