Kadeem Allen is competing for major minutes at the point guard position and believes much of that has to do with his defensive ability.
“The thing that separates me is probably my length and being able to guard on the ball or off the ball,” Allen said.
“We have a great I.Q. on defense as a team and with us getting better, that will separate us from a lot of teams in the country.”
Allen has always been drawn to defense and embraces his role on that side of the ball.
“Growing up my whole life, defense has been the thing for me in basketball,” Allen said. “My offense comes to defense and being on this team, my role is being a defensive stopper.
"That is what I am working on every day from the weight room to listening to coach.”
Although Allen is relatively new to point guard, this isn’t his first time playing the position.
“Our starting point guard got hurt in junior college, so our coach moved me there,” he said. “That helped me get comfortable and also being able to still learn how to play off the ball.
“I feel I have the ability to play point guard, but I have to get better at it and get more comfortable.”
One of the players helping him get more comfortable is fellow point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
“Parker gives me different curve balls,” Allen said. “He picks up full court, he’s small, he is quick with his hands and it allows me to go against a smaller, quicker point guard.
“It makes me change my game and learn how to back down and use my sight against smaller point guards.”
Friday’s starting lineup is still unknown, but that is part of what drew Allen to Arizona.
“Every day is different,” he said. “I like this program so much because it is about competing. I feel if you out compete your opponent and your teammate you will have that job.
“That is what Coach Miller focuses on the most and that is why we go at each other hard every day.”