Team Preview Part 1

Arizona is loaded with talent, which makes Lute's job of juggling line-ups very easy this upcoming season. The players will battle for time, and Lute will expand beyond his normal eight man rotation to get all of his players minutes.

Hassan Adams
Estimated Playing Time: 15-20

Hassan Adams could be the most well-rounded freshman basketball player that the Wildcats have had in years. This Arizona team has been spoiled to get players who are polished enough offensively and defensively to make an impact on the team as freshmen, but it seems to me that Adams could be the best all-around freshman that we've seen in awhile, which should earn him some valuable time on the floor. Adams is a good enough ball handler to be a point-guard, has the quickness and shot of a shooting guard, all with enough rebounding ability to play small forward. It would not surprise me in the least, if Hassan gets the minutes, for him to battle for PAC-10 honors.

Hassan simply has a knack for getting to the ball. During an open scrimmage he took over the offensive glass, and single handedly got his team at least 10 "garbage" points on put backs. This ability, coupled with his offensive skills, not to mention athleticism, puts him in a position to earn more minutes than any of the other freshman on the team. The Wildcat team this year is extremely deep, which will allow Lute to do major match-up juggling and Adams' versatility could make him a key player when Olson plays with the line-ups. Hassan's versatility will fit him into many of Lute's different lineups including his: hands lineup, 3-point lineup, quick lineup, and his "big" line-up (at the SG). The fact that Adams can be played at a multitude of spots is a good thing for the U of A fan, because the game is definitely more fun to watch when Hassan hits the court.

Rick Anderson
Estimated Playing Time: 25 minutes

Rick Anderson is coming off of a great season, and has emerged as a team leader. He is one of the three team captains, and according to a conversation that I had with Salim Stoudamire, he takes his role as a leader very seriously. Anderson shot 49% from the field last year, and an impressive 42% from downtown. With this team being as deep as it is, and with all of the underclass talent driving the squad, Ricky must take on a leader role.

Anderson will probably, in my estimation, see similar minutes to last year, but the Cats will need him to be more of a presence on the glass to make his time on the floor valuable. During the time that Anderson earns on the floor, I expect Ricky to be more of a threat down low than in year's past. The Wildcats need more big bodies down low, banging inside, and Anderson has shown an ability to rebound the ball with consistency. I would expect to see him be under the basket, or near the foul line on defense as the guards press the ball. Ricky's foot-speed looks much improved, and his basketball I.Q. makes him a solid defender. I expect that teams will direct their focus defensively to trying to contain Gardner and Walton, which will leave Ricky the beneficiary of the wide open 3-pointer. Anderson's ability to hit the 3-pointer will stretch defenses and allow Jason and Luke to break them down more easily. Rick has a fighter's mentality on the court and I think he will play an integral role not only on the court, but off of the court educating the younger players as well.

Will Bynum
Estimated Playing Time: 15 minutes

Will Bynum could be the wildcard on the team, and I expect his minutes to waver throughout the season. Bynum's only true flaw is that he is often too impulsive on the court, however, when Will plays within the system, he is a very effective scorer and passer. The press defense that the Wildcats have instituted requires a guard who can effectively pressure the opposing point guard and in the preseason games Will has been very impressive in his ability to play tight defense.

Last season did not go as well as many had hoped that it would for Bynum, but I believe that this is Will's year to step up and solidify himself as the point guard of the immediate future. When Jason Gardner leaves after this year, the Cats will be the beneficiary of a point guard controversy with Bynum and incoming freshman Mustafa Shakur both battling for minutes. If Bynum can show consistent play offensively and defensively he can solidify his position in the line-up. Bynum's greatest improvement over the off-season appears to be his on-ball pressure and his ability to stay in control on the floor. Will should benefit greatly from another year under the best point guard in the country and has all of the pieces that he will need to carry on the tradition at "Point Guard U."

Chris Dunn
Estimated Eating and Bench Pressing Time: 2 hours a day

Chris Dunn is officially red-shirting for the upcoming season, but yet still serves a very important purpose to the team. Dunn has been heralded for his ability to get to the rim and pull down rebounds, and in practices will be a very important factor in testing the team's aptitude on the glass. The Arizona training staff is very good, and should get Chris in good shape, and put some pounds on his frame for next year when he will definitely position himself as a fan favorite with his hard work and his athleticism.

Isaiah Fox
Estimated Playing Time: 20 Minutes

Depending on match-ups the Wildcats have the advantage that they can choose a power center or a finesse center to get the brunt of the minutes. Fox is the muscle option and he looks greatly improved from last season where he seemed tentative and lost at times. This off-season Fox worked very hard to improve his footwork and is able to bang down in the post with any big man in the country. As well, Isaiah is currently working hard to develop a midrange game, and should he be able to step out and knock down an open jumper, his minutes could improve greatly. In the preseason Fox has been inconsistent in his ability to score, but has conistently asserted himself as a presence on defense and has pounded the glass on both ends of the floor. In the most recent outing that the Cats had against the Nike Elite team, Fox showed his ability to score in the post and to rebound effectively. At one point in the game Fox went to the hole and had his shot blocked. He grabbed the ball off of the floor and immediately pounded the ball back to the basket and finished with a pretty hook shot. This single play shows a major improvement in Fox's mentality. Whereas last year Fox probably would have passed the ball to the outside, allowing himself to be defeated, Isaiah now seems fearless on the floor. There will be some games where Isaiah looks lost this season, but should be at least a few where he is a star.

Channing Frye
Estimated Playing Time: 20 Minutes

At last year's player ceremonies Salim Stoudamire called Channing Frye a "ham sandwich," a term used to call out Channing as "soft." Although Salim was only being facetious, Channing seemed to take the words to heart and build a nasty "I own the post" attitude. Whether Frye can maintain this attitude for an entire game is yet to be seen. Frye has a smaller frame, and although he definitely has bulked up over the off-season, will add a few more pounds over the next few years. Channing has shown the ability to hit the face up jumper, contest shots in the lane, and to hit clutch free-throws. Frye also seems to have added a good amount of post moves to his repertoire and consistently can drop a low post hook shot. Frye's free-throw shooting skill will get him minutes finishing games because other teams will have no one to foul on the floor, as all Wildcat players can hit free-throws. The only thing that is keeping Channing from being the Cats' primary option at center is that he is sometimes inconsistent on the boards. I expect that Lute will split mintues between Frye and Fox evenly and will subsititute them primarily for match-up reasons.

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