Young Wildcats adjusting to games that count

Nov 8, 2011, 2:48 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm

About three-quarters through the first half former Arizona
Wildcat star guard made a simple and probably overlooked
statement about freshman guard Josiah Turner, “by the time
the PAC-12 starts he is going to be a different player.”
That statement is what will be the difference in Arizona
making another NCAA Tournament run or falling short after
last year’s unexpected success. This comment came after
this sequence started the game:

19:34 – Josiah Turner missed Lay-up

18:53 – Josiah Turner missed Lay-up

17:04 – Josiah Turner missed Lay-up

That sequence was telling in a few different ways. First
it showed that, with ease, Turner can get into the paint
whenever he wants. His talents as a ball-handler and
scorer are naturally there and will only get better. He is
as confident and talented as any first year guard in the

The second thing it showed was that Turner is playing at a
speed a few notches faster than the game on the court. He
is used to being the clear and away best player on the
court despite the opposition, but now in college everyone
is talented and fast. Trying to simply run past defenders
is get Turner caught under the basket and create more
sequences like above.

This was just game one though, not a time to push the
panic button by any means. Turner was a stud in high
school and needs to adapt to the college game, he is still
getting his bearings as a college athlete.

Once the team gets to PAC-12 play, as Miles stated, there
is no question that Turner will be a different player. He
will have the comfort to not only get to the lane, but to
finish once there as the game slows down for him. The
transition will be bumpy at times, but the payoff will be
one of the best point guards in team history.

As seen by the first game, Turner can get into the paint
at will, which bodes well for him as he is known more for
his vision and distributing. The talent is clearly there
for Turner and he may even be better than advertised.
Through the beginning of the season teammates Kyle Fogg,
Nick Johnson and Jordin Mayes need to be there to pick up
the slack for the struggles Turner is sure to have.

Last season Mayes proved he is a viable option at the
point guard position and can lead this team. Over the past
three seasons Fogg has been a chameleon changing from
scorer to defender to whatever is needed for the win.
Johnson is comfortable in this setting, he played prep
ball for two seasons with stars and can play well with
others in big games.

Taking a little bit from each of his teammates will help
Turner slow the game down and become the point guard Sean
Miller and co thought he could be when they recruited him.

At first glance of this team playing a D-1 school I
came away with a few takes:

• Jesse Perry is the team’s best player. He is not
the most talented or even the most important player, but
night in and night out he will prove to be the best. Perry
is very active and played with energy in the win
collecting 14 points and 10 rebounds.

• Solomon Hill is the most important player for the
Wildcats success this season. In one sequence of thirty
seconds Hill reminded everyone how good he is. First he
made an aggressive move to the basket leading to an
offensive foul, and then created a turnover. He finished
it off by taking his man off the dribble creating a rhythm
jump-shot for Angelo Chol (6 points). Hill finished with 8
points 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

• Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner are as talented a
freshman backcourt duo in the country. Johnson finished as
the team leader with 16 points (on four shots) 6 assists.

• The Wildcats may be best with three guards, Turner
(7 points), Fogg (16 points) and Mayes (8 points) with
Perry and Hill upfront.

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Young Wildcats adjusting to games that count