No. 10-ranked Arizona has a rare eight-day break between basketball games, but it won't be a Thanksgiving vacation.
Not with half of the team newcomers still working their way into the Wildcat program, trying to learn from two exhibition and three regular-season games.
And certainly not with coach Sean Miller determined to turn the Wildcats into what he says can be a "special" team.
Ever-serious senior forward Solomon Hill is used to that mentality.
"You really don't get holidays around here especially when you're playing," Hill said. "It's nice to enjoy as a team, but the goal is to win, so you can only take so many days off."
The Wildcats took Tuesday and today off, but they'll return to practice Thursday morning before having an early Thanksgiving dinner at Miller's house.
Then it's back to practice Friday and Saturday, with Sunday off before two more days of practice and a home game with NAU next Wednesday.
To Miller, the time is precious. November and December are key learning periods that can't be wasted for UA freshmen Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York.
"Two years ago, we won 30 games, won our conference and almost got to the Final Four," Miller said. "If you would have looked at our team in December that year, there's no way in the world you could have predicted our success like that. But what that team did in a very quiet way was get better and better and more consistent. By the time we got to late February and March, we grew into one of the best teams in the country.
"We have a higher starting point now, but it's up to us to continue to grow and improve, and hopefully we can do that. This is a huge 8- to 10-day period to work hard and continue to get better."
Tougher times ahead
Part of the reason for the long break is that UA is playing in the Christmastime Diamond Head Classic, meaning it needed to play fewer games in November, and many potential opponents are tied up in early-season events this week, anyway.
Next week the Wildcats will play two games against teams in transition: Wednesday against NAU, where former UA aide Jack Murphy is the Lumberjacks' new head coach; and Dec. 1 at Texas Tech, which is dealing with the controversial preseason exit of former coach Billy Gillispie.
After that, however, it should get tougher. UA will host Southern Mississippi on Dec. 4 and will have another road game, on Dec. 8 at Clemson, before returning home to host Florida on Dec. 15.
"We're in a Christmas tournament, and there are so many teams in early-season tournaments that you have a void in your schedule," Miller said. "But once we get through this break, we're going to be playing games, and certainly some of the most exciting games on our schedule are on the horizon."
Lots of shooters
When Hill was asked after Monday's game which player is the Wildcats' best three-point shooter, he paused.
"I don't know," he said. "I had an off day today. Kev (Kevin Parrom) has off days. He's a great shooter. Grant (Jerrett) is a great shooter. I just think it can be anybody on a given night."
Parrom's 5-for-5 performance from beyond the line against Long Beach State put him at 7 for 11 for the season so far, though Jerrett (4 for 6) holds a slightly better percentage so far. Then there's Hill (6 for 16), Mark Lyons (5 for 14) and Jordin Mayes (2 for 5).
"We have a lot of players who can shoot," Miller said. "To me, it's one of our team's strengths. We just have to make sure the shots we take from the perimeter are good and that we play inside and out.
"Grant Jerrett, Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom, Mark Lyons … but also Jordin (Mayes) and Gabe (York) can shoot it. We have 5 or 6 players, and I'm not sure if one of them is better than the other."
• Who: NAU (1-2) at Arizona (3-0)
• When: 8 p.m. next Wednesday
• TV: Pac-12 Network
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM