The Arizona Wildcats’ season came to a bitter end in March with a first round loss in the NIT Tournament to an inferior Bucknell team. It’s time to look back to see what went wrong this season, and to look forward to next season. The Wildcats have a lot to look forward to.
First off, junior forward Solomon Hill in a post-game interview said that he would return to Arizona to finish what he came here for. Hill, who averaged nearly 13 points and 8 rebounds a game, was an All-Pac 12 player this season. He was a key part of Arizona’s success and helped the Wildcats win an impressive 23 games.
In addition to Hill, the incoming recruiting class is the top ranked class in the nation. Head coach Sean Miller and his staff were able to land four extraordinary recruits. Three of them are ranked in the top 10 according to espn.com, and the fourth is in the top 40. These new recruits will go a long way to solving the Wildcats’ deficiencies when it comes to forwards and height.
They have signed Kaleb Tarczewski, a seven-foot center who almost signed with the Kansas Jayhawks, but after a visit to the University of Arizona, he was sold. To compliment Kaleb, Miller also signed two forwards. Grant Jerrett, a 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American from California and Brandon Ashley a 6-foot-8 McDonald’s All-American also from California. Miller also recruited 6-foot-1 shooting guard Gabe York, who was the only recruit who wasn’t an All-American, but is still very talented. No more being undersized or relying on big man, Kyryl Natyazhko (as if we ever did).
Offsetting the benefits that will come with the new recruits, the Wildcats are losing two starters in Kyle Fogg and Jesse Perry, both of whom contributed strongly to this year’s team.
When it comes to the future of guard Josiah Turner, no one really knows what is ahead for him. After being suspended for a second time this season for breaking team rules, Turner was on the bench for the Wildcats loss to Bucknell and was not wearing any Arizona apparel. He was recruited by Arizona last season and was the 15th best player in his recruiting class, third best point guard. His future with the Wildcats probably won’t make much difference either way.
The Arizona Wildcats are adding piece by piece to what looks like an extremely talented team next season. After losing second team All-American Derrick Williams last year, Arizona really needed some time to build back up again. It is now clear, that is exactly what Coach Sean Miller has in mind and Arizona is shaping up to be the prestigious program they have always been.
So for all the fans out there that were disheartened by the way this year’s season ended, don’t fret. The Arizona Wildcat historic program is just in the process of adding and teaching and will be better and stronger very soon.