For one day at least, Arizona coach Sean Miller had a chance to get away from basketball and spend time with his family.
"It's been a very hard eight and a half months," Miller said. "One thing to the next."
But the moment Christmas was over, relaxing was not an option. Miller ran the Wildcats through 2 1/2 hours of practice on Saturday evening to open what figures to be his most challenging week yet on the court this season.
Arizona will host 12-1 Brigham Young on Monday, then travel to Los Angeles for a New Year's Eve game against Kevin O'Neill's resurgent USC team on Thursday and a Saturday morning contest at UCLA.
Miller has been all about scheduling aggressively but this week, the schedule he inherited is something else all together.
"Playing a game the same week you have a 4 o'clock game on Thursday and a 10 a.m. game (Pacific time) game on Saturday, I don't know how smart it is to play a third game in that week," Miller said. "You'd probably want to come off the holidays and take an extra day off. Right now, we're preparing for our biggest nonconference game at the same time that we're preparing for our league."
The good news for Miller is that the Wildcats all showed up focused, healthy and in good spirits for practice Saturday.
"It was such a quick turnaround, it wasn't your typical, back-from-the-holidays practice," Miller said Saturday night. "Everyone practiced and it was the first time all season we've had Kevin" Parrom in all drills.
Not only did Parrom return from a foot stress fracture on Wednesday but Jamelle Horne also has bounced back from a foot sprain, playing Wednesday and practicing Saturday, Miller said.
The Wildcats weren't bothered by travel disruptions, either, since none of them went far away.
The Western players all made quick trips home, while Ukrainian center Kyryl Natyazhko spent Christmas with walk-on Max Wiepking of Colorado and New Yorkers MoMo Jones and Parrom went to the home of assistant coach Book Richardson.