When fall rolls around the Pac-12 fans focus on football, but what the fans do not see, is the hard work the basketball team is putting in behind the scenes. At the U of A, fans enjoy watching Scooby Wright III on the football field while preparing for basketball season. The only problem for the boys in Tuscon in the past couple seasons has been getting past the Elite 8.
Last year the team was looking like they were going to make a run to the top. Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and TJ McConnell all put it out on the court with veteran help from Gabe York and Kaleb Tarczewski. While last year’s Wildcats could not achieve their goals of returning to the Final Four, this years group has the same expectation. While the Wildcats did loose many talented players to graduation and the draft, many recruiting databases graded the 2015 recruiting class as top 5 in the nation.
Justin Simon is freshmen guard out of Temecula, California is ranked 37th in the nation. He will add quickness, a consistent shot, and strength where the team needs it. The Wildcats were able to sign a 6’8 young star named Ray Smith who is a gifted scorer. The 29th overall recruit was first team all-state as a junior and an honorable MaxPreps Junior All-American in 2014.
Chance Comanche is a freshman big man is a 6’10 center out of Beverly Hills, California. He is very talented and projects to be a great player for Arizona but this year he will have to earn his minutes with a slew of bigs returning from last year’s team. Luckily for Chance Comanche, he is used to winning. In high school he won four CIF Southern Section Championships and was the CIF Southern Section Division 3A Player of the Year.
Lastly, for the Wildcats, the best high school basketball player out of the state of Washington, Allonzo Trier. Trier played alongside recently drafted rookie, Stanley Johnson, who was also a member of the USA Mens U-18 Basketball Team which was coached by Arizona head coach, Sean Miller. Trier knows exactly what intensity he needs to bring to fill the large hole left in the Arizona offense and defense with the departure of Stanley Johnson. These four freshmen each have to know their role on and off the court if Arizona wants to be the best college basketball team in the nation.
In about two months the Wildcats have their first official tip off of the 2015 season against Chico State. Coach Sean Miller expects his experienced returners and determined freshmen to jell right away to start their season playing their best. The preseason schedule will prepare the team for their tough conference schedule and the journey to March Madness Tournament begins now.
Bear Down Wildcats!
University of Arizona ’19