Radenovic will impact Cats in many ways

Ivan Radenovic will make his Wildcat debut on Sunday and his arrival will impact the entire Wildcat team. It is obvious that he will cut into the minutes of Channing Frye and Hassan Adams but, just as Isaiah Fox's injury had a trickle down effect, Radenovic will also have an impact on almost every player on the team.

The Cats are excited to have Ivan Radenovic, a 6-9 post player from Serbia. Following the win over San Diego State Lute Olson could not hide his smile when talking about the freshman forward. Olson compared him to Luke Walton and Rick Anderson, high praise indeed.

Radenovic will play right away. I'd expect the Cats to throw him to the wolves and let him get his feet wet against inferior competition during the Fiesta Bowl Classic. I assume that the Cats will let him log a lot of minutes in an effort to get him ready for Pac-10 play. The coaches will give him a lot of run in an effort to get he and his teammates used to each other.

Radenovic will play, but don't expect him to start. Hassan Adams may be playing out of position at power forward, but he leads the team in scoring. Adams is second in minutes and blocks and third on the club in rebounding. He's also been the team's emotional leader on and off the floor.

Things have clicked with Adams on the floor and Olson won't tamper with that, not even to get a taller player in the game.

Expect Radenovic to spell Adams and Channing Frye. While he's better suited to the four spot, Radenovic will be used to give Frye a breather. He'll slide between the two post spots, which are fairly similar in Olson's basic offense, and give the Cats another big body which they sorely need.

Both Adams and Frye average over 32 minutes a game and those numbers will drop, but not by much. Frye will still get the bulk of the minutes at center, while Adams will now have a chance to slide over and get time at small forward.

The player who could be most affected is Chris Rodgers. Rodgers has been playing all three perimeter spots, but could see his minutes at small forward dwindle. With Adams seeing time at the three now, the Cats won't sit Andre Iguodala too much, and that means Rodgers could all but be phased out at the small forward position.

Don't feel too bad for Rodgers, he'll still get plenty of on-court opportunities. He's been seeing a lot of time at the point, playing next to Salim Stoudamire, giving the Cats two combo-guards on the floor at the same time. Even though neither is a true point guard, the offense has run great with the two on the floor simultaneously. They give the Cats a pair of scorers who can also pass. They also bolster the defense, which is vital in setting up the fastbreak offense.

Kirk Walters will also be affected. As of now Walters is just a role player, seeing a few minutes here and there to give Frye a rest or allowing the Cats to go big. With Radenovic on the roster, Walters will be pushed into more of a reserve role. Expect him to play a few spot minutes, used primarily in a mop-up role. Like Walters, Jason Ranne will lose what few minutes he gets as well. Olson has used Ranne from time to time to rest his guards, but with Adams getting minutes on the perimeter, the rest of the wings may not need that break.

Don't expect Radenovic to disrupt team chemistry. Olson has already said the guys have embraced the likable young man and he's done very well fitting in. More importantly, not many minutes will be sacrificed. Four players average between 32-33 minutes. If all four drop to just 30 a game then there is already 10 minutes of playing time for Radenovic. Add in most of Walters' time and just two minutes from Chris Rodgers and Mustafa Shakur and that would put Radenovic over 20 minutes a game.

He'll also provide quite an adjustment for opposing teams. Opponents already have to deal with Adams, a difficult match-up, but now they have to chase a 6-9 shooter all over the court. While he doesn't have the quickness or explosiveness of Adams, he is taller and a better pure shooter. He's been compared to Rick Anderson with better feet and speed.

Radenovic should make a pretty quick impact on this team. Although his arrival means a few less minutes for some of the players, his overall presence will make them better and this team can appreciate that.

"Whatever makes this team better is cool with me," said Frye.

Arizona has been built to be unselfish and to win as a team. Most if not all of the players knew they'd have to sacrifice some personal glory in order to fit into Olson's system. That same attitude will make the addition of Radenovic a smooth transition and one that will ultimately benefit the team.

Talk about this on the Cats' Lair MESSAGE BOARD

Wildcat Authority Top Stories