Wildcats have two starting spots open

2011-10-25T16:39:00Z 2011-10-25T17:02:49Z Wildcats have two starting spots openBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star

Sean Miller added another name to his list of starters today, and it's hardly a surprise: Jesse Perry.

But other than Perry, Kyle Fogg and Solomon Hill - all of whom were regular starters last season - Miller said he's still unsure about his lineup for UA's exhibition game with Seattle Pacific on Thursday and beyond.

"With their experience, how they play, how they've worked really since the first day of school, it's very difficult to unseat those three guys," Miller said.

Point guard appears to be a close call now between Jordin Mayes and Josiah Turner - though Miller said it would "clear up" in the next few weeks - while the center spot is wide open between Sidiki Johnson and Kyryl Natyazhko.

"Both Sidiki Johnson and Kyryl will get heavy minutes at that position," Miller said. "I would like to think between the two of them they can grow at that position and make us successful. Who's going to start it's too early to tell and it's not clear cut."

By heavy, Miller apparently means a total of 40 minutes at least for now. He said he would not consider sliding one of his forwards to center in place of Johnson or Natyazhko, though he did say Angelo Chol has the potential to back up at center down the road.

"We want him to get in at the four and make him feel as comfortable as we can," Miller said. "But I can see during the course of the season where he could certainly contribute at the five."

Miller could be more likely to slide Fogg to small forward in order to allow Hill or Perry a breather, which would also allow him to play Nick Johnson more at shooting guard.

As of now, while Mayes is slated to play both guard spots, he may be limited to point guard unless Fogg slides over - thanks to Johnson, who had 17 points in the Blue-Red Game.

"It's hard for any other player to get minutes at the two spot when you consider Kyle and Nick, where they are right now," Miller said.

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The Pac-12's official preseason media poll will be released Friday at its annual media day in Los Angeles. If the other preseason polls and publications are any indication, Arizona may be picked to win - or at least be among the top picks.

But Miller wouldn't draw up his ballot that way.

"It would be split between Cal and UCLA, because of Cal's experience and UCLA's strength inside," Miller said of his top pick. "I wouldn't think that we would be the favorite. Hopefully we can compete for the championship, but UCLA's size and Cal's experience, to me, trumps what we have right now. "

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Arizona ranked No. 8 in the Pac-10 with a graduation success rate of 43 in NCAA data released today.

The numbers measure the six-year graduation rates of the freshmen scholarship players who entered the program between 2001 and 2004. It does not include players who transferred out or left to turn professional, provided they left in good academic standing and would have been eligible to play the next semester after they left.

While it will take years to show it, the rate should improve under Miller, who had Nic Wise graduate in 2010 and Jamelle Horne come within three classes of doing so last spring. All five of UA's current seniors are on track to graduate next spring, too.

"I don't know if any of (the seniors) will need a summer class" in 2012 to graduate, Miller said. "That would be a great success story if those guys were able to graduate."

You can search the UA or Pac-12 rates here. The numbers for "2010-11" are the ones released today. They include the 2001-04 classes, and all athletes must have graduated by August of the sixth year after their enrollment to count (i.e. a freshman in the fall of 2004 had until August 2010).

Some former UA players, such as Jason Gardner and Isaiah Fox, returned to graduate after the six-year window closed and thus still hurt the number even though they graduated.

 

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