Between expected starter MoMo Jones and heralded recruit Josiah Turner, it might be easy to forget the Arizona Wildcats also have a freshman point guard around.
And Jordin Mayes may well make a significant impact on the floor this season, if coach Sean Miller's preseason statements are any indication.
Miller said Tuesday during the team's annual preseason media day that Mayes has already shown enough promise to handle the team's backup point guard behind Jones, who will be taking over for departed Nic Wise.
"I like Jordin Mayes as a complement to MoMo because Jordin can do some things differently than MoMo," Miller said. "For example, I would say Jordin is one of the team's best shooters. He has a great looking shot and will only get better as he starts to be a part of what we do every day. Being able to bring him in and change the look of what we do is a good thing."
It's even possible that Mayes might slide into a few minutes at shooting guard, a thought that has crossed Mayes' mind.
"I'm able to play the one and two, so me and MoMo can go back and forth," Mayes said. "I'm able to shoot the ball. We could play off each other and whatnot."
However, Mayes said he knows the Wildcats already have several good shooters, including Brendon Lavender and Daniel Bejarano, who are battling for time behind Kyle Fogg at shooting guard.
What may help Mayes and Bejarano is the experience of having led high school teams to multiple state championships. Mayes averaged 18.8 points and 2.3 assists for perennial power Westchester (Calif.) High School.
"Jordin Mayes has played against great competition his whole life," Miller said. "He's an all-city performer, someone who's won the last two California state championships, where he's had a huge role on both teams.
"He's got really long arms. He has almost a 6-foot-9 wingspan for 6-foot-2 height. He's got a great basketball body.
"I think as you watch him evolve, you're going to see that he has that look as a guard that you want to see. He's smart and he knows what to do, and he comes to us already as a very good shooter."
Being one of the top players in the European Under-20 championships over the summer wasn't the only thing that boosted center Kyryl Natyazhko's spirits.
By playing for his native Ukraine, he also had a chance to be near home.
"It was, of course, fun to play with my friends," Natyazhko said. "I haven't seen my friends in a long time. So it was easy for me to be a good teammate for them as well. I put up some big numbers and gained some confidence, and some people were talking about me."
Natyazhko averaged 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds, being named the No. 1 player in the event by SI.com.
"If you look at the numbers he posted in the European championships that he played in, there's a reason why he was on the all-tournament team," Miller said. "He led his country to heights they hadn't had before, and he left with great confidence. … I have great confidence that he'll be a better player as a sophomore."
Knock on wood
Miller said the only injury trouble during limited preseason workouts so far has been Natyazhko's back soreness, but he said he did not expect it would prevent Natyazhko from joining the full practices this weekend.
Everyone else, he said, is OK.
"Each guy has dealt with their bruises, and for the most part, we're a healthy team overall, and hopefully it'll stay that way," Miller said. "That's the one thing you can never account for. I think basketball may be tougher than any sport, because there's only five guys out there playing, and that one injury can really knock you off course.
"We're hopeful we can have success in that area, in good health."
On StarNet: Follow the Cats on reporter Bruce Pascoe's blog go.azstarnet.com/pascoe
On StarNet: See coach Sean Miller discuss the upcoming season at azstarnet.com/video
• What: Red-Blue Game
• When: 1 p.m. Oct. 24
• TV: Webcast only