Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Elliott Pitts make up what is definitely a very impressive freshman class for Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcats.
However, they may not be the most important players who will take the court as Wildcats for the first time this season.
That nod could go to former Duquesne point guard T.J. McConnell.
According to ESPN’s Seth Greenberg in an Insider piece, McConnell is the number one transfer in college hoops this season.
Sean Miller has done a terrific job embracing the rich tradition of Arizona basketball. He has attracted consecutive elite recruiting classes, but the most important new member of the Wildcats is transfer point guard McConnell. He can bring to Arizona many of the same intangibles that Aaron Craft brings to Miller’s former boss, Thad Matta, at Ohio State.
A terrific on-ball defender, McConnell was third in the country in steals his final season on the Bluff. The ability to pressure the ball at the point of attack is pivotal in Arizona’s defensive system. McConnell is a pass-first point guard with the ability to stretch the defense. He shot 43.2 percent from the 3-point line, averaged 5.5 assists per game, and had a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio at Duquesne. He will bring stability to Arizona’s offense.
McConnell will be the Wildcats’ fifth starting point guard in five seasons for Miller, though he’s the first with a pass-first mentality.
And how he runs an offense featuring the team’s freshman — as well as returning starters Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski — will go a long way toward determining just how good the Wildcats will be.