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When the Arizona Wildcats hold their annual preseason media day Thursday, they might expose more new than old.

Like the seven new players on Arizona\u2019s 14-man roster, comprising the Wildcats\u2019 latest top-five recruiting class.

Like the rededicated Allonzo Trier, who spurned the 2016 NBA draft to return as a sophomore. The replanted Kadeem Allen, who is expected to move off the ball after spending last season mostly as the starting point guard.

And, among other new-look returnees, there\u2019s the passionate Dusan Ristic coming off a summer of boxing and various other workouts, along with the upside-laden Chance Comanche, whose late-season play off the bench as a freshman last season generated some NBA draft buzz.

Also new: Both ACLs belonging to forward Ray Smith, who is expected to be cleared this preseason after a two-year ordeal with knee injuries in 2014 and 2015. (And there\u2019s the just-repaired ACL of Tucson native Talbott Denny, a grad forward who will sit out this season after transferring from Lipscomb.)

The Wildcats have something new to cover it all up, too: UA is scheduled to wear new USA Basketball-inspired uniforms, although they are not expected to make it to town in time for the cameras Thursday.

Arizona had hoped its players could wear the new gear on media day but Ryan Reynolds, UA\u2019s director of basketball operations, said the uniforms might not arrive until next week.

When they do show up, the Wildcats\u2019 uniforms are scheduled to feature the cut \u2014 though not necessarily the look \u2014 that USA players wore during the Rio Olympics last month. USA\u2019s uniforms included a V-cut neckline and short V-shaped cutout on the sides of the shorts, along with mesh features and some subtle accents.

Reynolds said UA\u2019s new uniforms won\u2019t feature stripes but will carry the traditional \u201cCATS\u201d lettering along the bottom of the shorts.

\u201cI think a lot of the Nike schools are getting a new style of jersey based on what Team USA was wearing, and that\u2019s what we have going on,\u201d Reynolds said.

The uniforms will be the first permanently redesigned ones since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, when Arizona introduced a design that incorporated both new and traditional features, while the Wildcats previously changed their look in the middle of the 2010-11 season.

The standard uniform sets will come, as usual, in home whites and a choice of red or blue for road games, while UA will also likely have one or two special-occasion uniforms as it has in recent seasons.

Just getting into a game uniform of any type will be a long time coming for Smith, who missed his senior year at Las Vegas High School with a torn left ACL \u2014 then, just days after playing in last season\u2019s Red-Blue Game, he tore the right ACL in practice and missed last season, too.

Smith has been practicing with the Wildcats during the offseason except in contact drills, and UA coach Sean Miller said last month Smith has had no setbacks and been \u201cincredibly diligent with both rehabs.\u201d

Miller also said last month he expected Smith would be cleared to practice fully around the time that the Wildcats open full-length preseason practices Sunday.

\u201cOur plan is let\u2019s be as smart as we can,\u201d Miller said. \u201cWe\u2019re in this for the long haul. \u2026 He\u2019s been hit with quite a bit of adversity but we\u2019re optimistic he can make a full recovery.\u201d

The Wildcats actually had something of a \u201cfull\u201d practice Tuesday, using all in one shot the entire two-hour weekly allotment that teams are allowed before regular practices can begin 42 days before their season opener.

Since the Wildcats will open the season on Nov. 11 against Michigan State in Honolulu, they are eligible to start full-length practices on Friday but they won\u2019t hold one until Sunday.

Teams are only allowed a total of 30 practices in the 42-day span and, since UA\u2019s Oct. 14 Red-Blue Game and exhibitions against the College of Idaho (Nov. 1) and Chico State (Nov. 6) count toward the 30 workouts, the Wildcats are opting to spread them out early on.

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The Arizona Wildcats will have a new look in more ways than one during the 2016-17 season.

Already working six new players and replacing three starters, the Wildcats are scheduled to wear all-new Nike uniforms this season, in the standard white (home), blue (road), and red (road) sets.

While images of the new look are not available yet, UA basketball operations director Ryan Reynolds said they will feature the cut -- though not necessarily the design -- of the USA Basketball uniforms worn in Rio.\u00a0

The USA Rio 2016 uniforms featured a V-like cut along the neckline, as well as a small V-shaped cut on the side of the shorts. Nike is redesigning several college teams with the look this season.

Reynolds said the new UA uniforms won't have stripes but will still have the traditional \"CATS\" lettering on the shorts.

Arizona last updated its uniforms shortly before the 2014-15 season with uniforms that incorporated some throwback features and, earlier, wore these starting in the middle of the 2010-11 season. Sean Miller's first UA team wore a plainer uniform in 2009-10.

Of course, there have also been several alternative and special occasion uniforms, too -- including the grey \"Zona\" ones of 2011-12\u00a0and the Hyper Elite Disruption reds they wore at Colorado last season. Reynolds said there could be two alternate uniforms this season.

The Wildcats hope to debut the uniforms during their annual preseason media day Thursday but Reynolds said they aren't sure if they will arrive in time.

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summer","permalink":"http://tucson.com/hansen-s-sunday-notebook-for-generations-of-tucsonans-vin-scully/collection_9845d7ec-a0d0-5f84-a4df-1ebba7f86f1a.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/hansen-s-sunday-notebook-for-generations-of-tucsonans-vin-scully/collection_9845d7ec-a0d0-5f84-a4df-1ebba7f86f1a.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#top5sports","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"9958b477-3667-59ec-9ca4-89385f3324f5","description":"Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully gestures in his booth during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. 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Hong / The Associated Press","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"413","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/95/9958b477-3667-59ec-9ca4-89385f3324f5/57e71e6c40135.image.jpg?resize=620%2C413"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/95/9958b477-3667-59ec-9ca4-89385f3324f5/57e71e6c40135.image.jpg?crop=1763%2C991%2C0%2C91&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/95/9958b477-3667-59ec-9ca4-89385f3324f5/57e71e6c40135.image.jpg?crop=1763%2C991%2C0%2C91&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/95/9958b477-3667-59ec-9ca4-89385f3324f5/57e71e6c40135.image.jpg?crop=1763%2C991%2C0%2C91&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":7,"url":"http://tucson.com/hansen-s-sunday-notebook-for-generations-of-tucsonans-vin-scully/collection_9845d7ec-a0d0-5f84-a4df-1ebba7f86f1a.html"}],"revision":9,"commentID":"ff86f649-133f-5679-8346-a7672e24bea9","body":"

The Arizona Wildcats lost three starters, two key role players and almost 60 percent of their rebounds last spring, so coach Sean Miller tried to explain what that meant.

\u201cAlmost wholesale change,\u201d he said.

Yet the Wildcats enter the preseason this week in the same lofty place they are just about every fall. Although the major college basketball polls are not yet out, early projections have them again in or near the top 10.

Arizona is ranked No. 9 by the Sporting News and Athlon basketball annuals, No. 10 by Lindy\u2019s and No. 13 by Blue Ribbon Yearbook. ESPN.com has the Wildcats at No. 12, too.

That\u2019s what happens when you pull in yet another top-5 recruiting class, including five-star freshmen Lauri Markkanen, Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons.

The only difference is that the Wildcats are not considered the best team in the Pac-12 anymore. That role is firmly occupied by Oregon, which returned almost everybody from its league champions last season, while bringing in the juco player of the year (forward Kavell Bigby-Williams) and getting a sixth year of eligibility for point guard Dylan Ennis.

The Ducks are a unanimous top-5 pick in the preseason yearbooks, with Lindy\u2019s even ranking them No. 1. ESPN.com has Oregon at No. 7.

But, still, the Wildcats probably wouldn\u2019t shock anyone if they competed with the Ducks and somehow made it to the Final Four in Phoenix next spring.

\u201cOregon might win it all, but Arizona has the young athletes to better match up this season,\u201d Lindy\u2019s wrote. \u201cWith a dash of chemistry, these guys could arrive a year early, which is Miller\u2019s deepest wish since, you know, the Final Four\u2019s in Arizona and all.\u201d

The rankings hint to Arizona\u2019s upside and depth, rather than star power, too. For all the high praise the Wildcats are generating collectively as a team this season, none of their individual players were listed on anybody\u2019s all-American teams.

Only in Lindy\u2019s, which picks the Top 25 players at every position, were there some mentions: Allonzo Trier was rated the No. 10 small forward in the country, while Alkins was listed as a \u201cfreshman of note\u201d among shooting guards.

While neither Markkanen or Dusan Ristic were named in individual national honors, Lindy\u2019s said UA has the No. 10 frontcourt (and both Markkanen and Chance Comanche were recently listed among the Pac-12\u2019s best NBA prospects by Draft Express, too).

If the Wildcats can justify that sort of hype, it probably means all those rebounds that Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski pulled down last season have been compensated for.

\u201cKaleb and Ryan averaged 19 rebounds a game and when you lose two players who bring that type of production, you\u2019re looking to fill that in,\u201d Miller said last month. \u201cThat\u2019s why it\u2019s exciting to see Lauri rebound the ball the way he did against that kind of competition (playing in Europe last summer) and Chance is another guy we\u2019re going to count on.\u201d

Although the backcourt features two of UA\u2019s oldest players \u2014 Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright \u2014 there\u2019s plenty of blending to do there, too. Simmons and Alkins are both expected to work themselves into key reserve roles, if not start. Then, of course, there\u2019s Allonzo Trier, the team\u2019s leading returning scorer, at either shooting guard or small forward.

There\u2019s a lot of work to do and, while the Wildcats already have been practicing together in limited form since July, the full-length practices begin next Sunday.

\u201cI just think guys are really excited, really confident and eager for the start of the season,\u201d Jackson-Cartwright said. \u201cWe do have a good amount of talent on this team. We\u2019re just working right now to put it together and I think when we do it\u2019s going to be really special.\u201d

Rim shots

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The move of Arizona's Nov. 11 Armed Forces Classic game with Michigan State from a proposed makeshift arena at Pearl Harbor to the much roomier Stan Sheriff Center has created a bargain for college basketball fans.

Tickets for the Final Four-caliber doubleheader event, which also features Indiana and Kansas, went on sale today for just $33, including a ticketing fee. Tickets are all in the upper sections of the University of Hawaii's arena, but generally between the baskets.

The only catch, of course, is that little one about getting to Honolulu in the first place. The tickets required to accomplish that\u00a0run over $600 from Tucson these days, not to mention hotel and other expenses...


Lots of UA recruiting targets will be playing in USA Basketball's Oct. 8-9 mini-camp. Miles Simon is among the court coaches.


Returning to Moon Valley HS with the NBA championship trophy, Richard Jefferson says he was a \"bit of a knucklehead\" early in his high school career.


Analyst Sean Farnham thinks highly of the Ducks\u00a0this season.

Dillon Brooks is off the scooter, and that could be a good sign for Oregon, which has said little about his foot injury.


ICYMI, in an issue that affects both football and basketball, UA and other Pac-12 schools are gearing up their game management with the conference's new field/court storming fines in mind.

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The folks creating NBA 2K17 have entered the debate about the best Arizona Wildcats basketball players of all time.

The video game released rosters of 10 prominent college basketball programs, listing a \"starting five\" of point guard Mike Bibby, shooting guard Damon Stoudamire, small forward Sean Elliott, power forward Derrick Williams and center Channing Frye.

The reserves were listed, in order, as Steve Kerr, Andre Iguodala, Jason Terry, Aaron Gordon, Richard Jefferson, Chase Budinger, Jerryd Bayless and Jordan Hill.

Many of the younger former UA players now in the NBA didn't make the cut, as noted by Arizona Sports, along with former players such as Gilbert Arenas, Jud Buechler and Michael Dickerson.

Also not making it: Several prominent Wildcats who have had limited or no NBA careers include Salim Stoudamire, Miles Simon, Khalid Reeves, Jason Gardner, Michael Wright and Nick Johnson. Many other Wildcats from previous years, including Bob Elliott, were also not included.


Arizona went to visit four-star 2018 forward Jairus Hamilton, and took in the La Lumiere practice showcase. Sean Miller checked up on the Bagley brothers earlier in the week.


The Nets have signed Budinger.


Oregon and Stanford are among the 16 teams set for the Phil Knight Invitational in 2017-18.


The Vertical says the\u00a0NBA's planned academy initiative could actually increase\u00a0the pool of available college basketball talent by offering academic structure and keeping international prospects' amateur status alive.


John Calipari has reeled in the cameras again: The Oct. 9 Kentucky \"combine\" will be carried on ESPNU.


Arizona players met with U.S.S. Arizona survivor Lauren Bruner and a writer familiar with his story last week (UA's video of it is attached).

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The Arizona Wildcats have been rated in the top 10 of three national basketball annuals, while Blue Ribbon Yearbook today pegged them at No. 13.

Lindy's annual has UA at No. 10, while Sporting News and Athlon put the Wildcats at No. 10.

Blue Ribbon also put Oregon at No. 2, behind only Duke, while UCLA was 22 and UA nonconference opponents Michigan State (11) and Gonzaga (14) were also ranked.

Lindy's actually put Oregon at No. 1, while being the only publication to include Colorado (19) in its Top 25.

The Wildcats will open the regular season against Michigan State in Honolulu on Nov. 11, while they will face Gonzaga in Los Angeles on Dec. 3.


Arizona was not well-represented among all the individual honors in the annuals, however.

No Wildcats were named to anybody's three all-American teams, though Lindy's named Allonzo Trier the No. 10 small forward in the country, and listed Rawle Alkins under shooting guard \"freshmen of note.\"

While neither Lauri Markkanen or Dusan Ristic were named individually, the UA frontcourt did receive the No. 10 overall ranking.

Sporting News, meanwhile, named Oregon's Dillon Brooks a first-team all-American, and Cal's Ivan Rabb a second-team all-American.

Athlon had Rabb and Brooks both on its first team of all-Americans, with UCLA's Lonzo Ball on the third team.

Blue Ribbon's all-American team has not been published yet, though it released its Top 25 picks today.


Here's the full team rankings from Blue Ribbon:

1. Duke

2. Oregon

3. Kansas

4. Kentucky

5. Villanova

6. Wisconsin

7. North Carolina

8. Louisville

9. Purdue

10. Virginia

11. Michigan State

12. Xavier

13. Arizona

14. Gonzaga

15. Connecticut

16. Butler

17. Saint Mary\u2019s

18. Indiana

19. Creighton

20. Florida State

21. West Virginia

22. UCLA

23. NC State

24. Maryland

25. Rhode Island


The Sporting News had it this way:

1. Duke

2. Kentucky

3. Kansas

4. Villanova

5. Oregon

6. Xavier

7. North Carolina

8. Wisconsin

9. Arizona

10. Purdue

11. Michigan State

12. Louisville

13. Indiana

14. Gonzaga

15. Virginia

16. Syracuse

17. UCLA

18. Connecticut

19. Saint Mary\u2019s

20. West Virginia

21. Florida State

22. Oklahoma

23. Miami

24. Virginia Tech

25. San Diego State


Athlon's Top 25:

1. Duke

2. Kentucky

3. Villanova

4. Oregon

5. Kansas

6. North Carolina

7. Virginia

8. Xavier

9. Arizona

10. Wisconsin

11. Michigan state

12. Indiana

13. Louisville

14. Purdue

15. Gonzaga

16. Connecticut

17. UCLA

18. Creighton

19. Iowa state

20. Cincinnati

21. Saint Mary\u2019s

22. Virginia Tech

23. Dayton

24. Rhode Island

25. Florida State


And here's Lindy\u2019s:

1. Oregon

2. Kansas

3. Duke

4. Villanova

5. Kentucky

6. Wisconsin

7. North Carolina

8. Virginia

9. Xavier

10. Arizona

11. Michigan State

12. Purdue

13. UCLA

14. Florida

15. Louisville

16. Connecticut

17. Cincinnati

18. Saint Mary\u2019s

19. Colorado

20. Gonzaga

21. Georgia

22. Notre Dame

23. West Virginia

24. Miami

25. Syracuse

"}, {"id":"2afff764-7e9f-11e6-9624-0f9e14db7c29","type":"article","starttime":"1474313280","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-19T12:28:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1474314978","priority":45,"sections":[{"pascoe":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Seven Wildcats ranked among Pac-12's top NBA prospects","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/article_2afff764-7e9f-11e6-9624-0f9e14db7c29.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/seven-wildcats-ranked-among-pac--s-top-nba-prospects/article_2afff764-7e9f-11e6-9624-0f9e14db7c29.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/seven-wildcats-ranked-among-pac--s-top-nba-prospects/article_2afff764-7e9f-11e6-9624-0f9e14db7c29.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Chance Comanche was named Draft Express' 11th-best NBA prospect in the Pac-12 despite being lightly used last season.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats basketball","chance comanche","rawle alkins","lauri markkanen","kobi simmons","ray smith","allonzo trier","kadeem allen"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick","#toptwo"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"176d6c58-ed55-11e5-be2e-379d89c755cd","description":"Arizona Wildcats center Chance Comanche (21) jumps in for a slam dunk as Oregon Ducks forward Elgin Cook (23) tries to defend in the first half during the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on Friday, March 11, 2016. Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"463","height":"620","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/76/176d6c58-ed55-11e5-be2e-379d89c755cd/56ec7aee8dc62.image.jpg?resize=463%2C620"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/76/176d6c58-ed55-11e5-be2e-379d89c755cd/56ec7aee8dc62.image.jpg?crop=1119%2C629%2C0%2C48&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/76/176d6c58-ed55-11e5-be2e-379d89c755cd/56ec7aee8dc62.image.jpg?crop=1119%2C629%2C0%2C48&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/76/176d6c58-ed55-11e5-be2e-379d89c755cd/56ec7aee8dc62.image.jpg?crop=1119%2C629%2C0%2C48&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":16,"commentID":"2afff764-7e9f-11e6-9624-0f9e14db7c29","body":"

Nearly the entire Arizona Wildcats rotation made the cut when\u00a0Draft Express did its preseason break down of the top NBA prospects in the Pac-12.

Included among the top 21 prospects in the league that the NBA scouting website mentioned in recent posts: Lauri Markkanen (2), Rawle Alkins (9), Chance Comanche (11), Ray Smith (12), Allonzo Trier (16), Kobi Simmons (17), and Kadeem Allen (19).

While it probably wasn't a big surprise that Markkanen and Alkins rated highly, especially after drawing good reviews over the summer, Comanche's presence at No. 11 speaks to the upside he showed late last season -- and hints at what he might be able to do in a bigger role as a sophomore.

Two possible opening-game starters, point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and center Dusan Ristic, weren't on the list but Ristic was placed in a pool of honorable mentions.

Here's Draft Express' previously posted breakdown of Markkanen\u00a0if you haven't seen it already.\u00a0While Draft Express said it is waiting for more footage before discussing Alkins, Simmons and Smith in detail, it had an extensive analysis on Comanche here\u00a0while Trier and Allen are broken down in their page discussing players 16-21.


Los Angeles four-star power forward Ira Lee has named a final three of Arizona, Cal and Oregon. Cal and UA have been considered the leaders in his recruitment.


ICYMI, The Ringer suggests Rondae Hollis-Jefferson might be a test case for how effective a perimeter player can be in the NBA without having a reliable jump shot.


Also ICYMI, Jackson-Cartwright says he already feels like a veteran at UA (and he is, by today's standards...)

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In his third preseason with the Arizona Wildcats, junior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright says he already feels like a veteran.

He might as well. Jackson-Cartwright really has no choice.

On a roster noted for striking fluidity in recent seasons, thanks to the common maladies of early pro departures and transfers that now plague high-major college basketball programs, Jackson-Cartwright is today\u2019s definition of a veteran.

Although he only started six games over his first two seasons with the Wildcats \u2014 and is more than two years younger than senior Kadeem Allen \u2014 Jackson-Cartwright has played more total minutes (1,050) than any player on the UA\u2019s 2016-17 roster. He\u2019s appeared in 68 games, second-most on the team behind junior center Dusan Ristic\u2019s 70.

But all those game minutes aren\u2019t the only reason why Jackson-Cartwright feels experienced. It\u2019s also because he\u2019s practiced head-to-head with guys like T.J. McConnell, Stanley Johnson, Gabe York, Allonzo Trier, Allen \u2014 and now a pair of five-star talents in freshmen Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons.

The new-look Wildcats will make their debut in the Oct. 14 Red-Blue Game in McKale Center.

\u201cIt\u2019s like now I\u2019m an upperclassman and have been around a while,\u201d Jackson-Cartwright said. \u201cI feel wiser. I know a lot more things than a year ago, two years ago, and feel like I can take that next step in leadership and kind of guide the new guys and show them the way to do things.

\u201cI think I\u2019ve already taken a huge step.\u201d

If so, that\u2019s good news for the Wildcats. As loaded as their roster is this season, with yet another boatload of incoming four- and five-star talent, UA is in particular need this season of experienced leadership and a reliable starting point guard.

Jackson-Cartwright has a chance to be both of those things, and he\u2019ll have plenty of pressure on him to do so.

Having backed up McConnell as a freshman in 2014-15, Jackson-Cartwright mostly came off the bench last season while Allen started, in large part because of Allen\u2019s size and defense.

But while Allen is expected to play off-guard more often this season, Jackson-Cartwright\u2019s life won\u2019t likely get any easier. The supremely talented Simmons could earn big minutes \u2014 if not a starting role \u2014 at either guard spot at any point this season.

So far, Jackson-Cartwright says the Wildcats have tried a number of different combinations during pick-up ball and limited off-season drills. The result is a number of different looks that could give UA the flexibility to counter all manner of opponents and defensive strategies.

\u201cThere\u2019s a lot of versatility throughout the guards, I would say,\u201d Jackson-Cartwright said. \u201cRawle is a stronger type, a power guy like Stanley (Johnson), imposing their will on guys. Kobi is really athletic, really skilled and finesse. He can play multiple positions because of his length. Then you have myself, Deem (Allen) and Zo (Trier). We\u2019ve been around so people know what we can do. It\u2019s an exciting group.\u201d

While Jackson-Cartwright\u2019s 5-foot-11-inch frame can make defending bigger guards a challenge, his strengths show in the open court, with his quickness, steady ballhandling and three-point shooting that defenses increasingly have to respect. He posted a 2.4-1 assist-turnover ratio last season, and shook off his shaky nonconference offense by becoming the Pac-12\u2019s leading three-point shooter in conference games (48.6) last season.

Jackson-Cartwright said the shooting improvement was simply a result of confidence and taking extra shots in practice, while UA coach Sean Miller said work ethic has had a lot to do with how he\u2019s performed.

\u201cPhysically, he\u2019s taken one more step forward,\u201d Miller said. \u201cHe\u2019s bigger and stronger than he\u2019s ever been and a year ago I think he developed into one of our team\u2019s best shooters.

\u201cHe\u2019s a small guard and it\u2019s about learning how to use his size to his advantage and be good on defense, be more complete, and more fierce in his approach. That\u2019s what we\u2019ve talked about. No question I expect Parker in the mix for sure.\u201d

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Whenever the Arizona Wildcats met for a little pick-up ball this summer, centers Dusan Ristic and Chance Comanche were usually asked to pick the teams.

It was hard for them to go wrong.

The Wildcats may have lost three starters and five rotation players from last season \u2014 counting eventual transfer Elliott Pitts \u2014 but they reloaded with another top-5 recruiting class even without guard Terrance Ferguson, who opted to play pro ball in Australia.

So how did the big guys pick? Who was toughest? The most competitive?

Apparently, everyone.

\u201cWe\u2019ve had guys at each other\u2019s throats, because no one likes to lose,\u201d said junior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

Jackson-Cartwright said the Wildcats have divvied themselves up differently, and have a versatility that should show this season.

\u201cEvery day we\u2019ve been competing against each other and we\u2019ve been getting better because the level that we\u2019re playing at has been really high,\u201d he said.

The Wildcats have had a chance to formally stretch it out under the guidance of their coaches since school began last month, thanks to NCAA preseason practices that continue to get more liberal.

Previously, teams were only allowed to practice with coaches in the offseason and until mid-September in groups of up to four players, for just two hours total per week. But a rule change this year allowed them to start practicing fully as a team, up to two hours a week, once the fall term begins.

Full-length team practices have also been stretched out in recent years, to where teams can start six weeks before their opening game and cram in 30 practices and exhibition games in that time.

Arizona will be eligible to start fully practicing on Sept. 30, but won\u2019t have a practice until Oct. 2. The Red-Blue Game and UA\u2019s two exhibitions count toward the 30-practice limit, and the Wildcats typically space practices out earlier so they can crank up to a normal schedule as the regular season nears.

Denny has surgery

Senior grad transfer guard Talbott Denny had surgery on his left knee Thursday, after tearing his left ACL and medial meniscus last month.

Denny is expected to seek a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility. He will have played only three seasons when his five-year eligibility window expires next spring, and the two missed seasons were both considered out of his control because of injury.

UA coach Sean Miller has said Denny, a projected reserve forward who transferred from Lipscomb, will receive a scholarship spot on the playing roster if he\u2019s available for the 2017-18 season.

High-powered runner

While Jackson-Cartwright led the Wildcats in their annual preseason mile run last week with a time of 5:20 \u2013 and set the third-best time ever in the Miller era \u2014 Miller tweeted that the \u201cmost impressive\u201d was the 5:41 that Ristic crossed the line in.

All seven feet of him, that is.

But Miller has already raved about the work that Ristic put in over the summer, and the rest of the team noticed.

\u201cI wasn\u2019t surprised,\u201d Jackson-Cartwright said. \u201cHe practiced it for, like, two months.\u201d

Another Miller joins Arizona staff

The cousin of Miller and his brother Archie, Matt Miller, has joined the Wildcats as a graduate manager.

Miller, who played at New Hampshire through 2014-15, spent last season as New Hampshire\u2019s director of basketball operations.

In addition, UA has promoted John Seavey from manager to graduate manager.

One less late night

Arizona\u2019s Jan. 12 game against ASU at McKale Center has been moved from 9 p.m. to 7 p.m., offering some relief for those who dislike late-night hoops.

The Wildcats now have only two 9 p.m. tip-offs at home, plus an 8 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Mountain Pac-12 opener at Cal on Dec. 30.

Rim shots

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UA freshman Lauri Markkanen is currently projected as the No. 13 pick of next June's NBA Draft, but Draft Express analyst Mike Schmitz says he thinks the Finnish stretch-four will land in or near the Top 5.

Why? Schmitz, a UA graduate, offers analysis via a video breakdown of Markkanen's weaknesses and strengths.

Markkanen is praised for his considerable offensive skills, agility, fluidity and feel for passing (though he wasn't asked to pass a lot for Finland). His weaknesses, the video said, were mostly in rebounding and defense (which will undoubtedly be big needs for Arizona up front this season...)


An updated version of 247 Sports' 2017 player rankings still doesn't have DeAndre Ayton at the top spot, but he's behind only Washington commit Michael Porter.

Here's 247's\u00a0entire list.


Arizona's Jan. 12 game against ASU at McKale Center has been moved from 9 p.m. to 7 p.m., offering some relief for those who don't love late-night hoops.

The Wildcats now have only two 9 p.m. tipoffs at home, plus an 8 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Mountain Pac-12 opener at Cal on Dec. 30.

A printable version of the schedule and our photo collection on it are attached to this post.


Former UA staffer and Salpointe grad Jesse Mermuys, reunited with Luke Walton on the Lakers this season as an assistant coach, says Walton makes a fun but hard-working atmosphere.


Arizona Desert Swarm has a look at how in-home visits are shaping up for UA coaches so far.


ICYMI, we had a\u00a0long look how Ayton arrived\u00a0in Arizona, and why he says he wants to stay in-state for a year of college.\u00a0

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PHOENIX \u2013 Six banner flags flap at drivers skirting past an otherwise nondescript industrial park just south of Sky Harbor International Airport.

\u201cBarbering Program,\u201d one reads. \u201cMedia Graphic Program,\u201d says another. Others promote the online, evening and college courses offered at Sequoia Choice Precision High School.

Then this: \u201cHome of Hillcrest Prep Basketball.\u201d

That means it\u2019s home for DeAndre Ayton, too.

Every weekday morning at 8:10 a.m., the 7-foot forward/center, who last week became the highest-rated player ever to commit to the Arizona Wildcats, stuffs his long, impossibly athletic frame inside a blank white doorway in one of the generic buildings at the Broadway Tech Center.

Within in the same building, Ayton sits in a small corridor of offices to take his online courses with the help of a home-school teacher and eats at Precision\u2019s cafeteria next door. He also practices under the same roof in Precision High School\u2019s small gym, which on a recent afternoon was \u201cchilled\u201d to roughly the same 95-degree temperature as outside, its swamp cooler hobbled by the late-summer humidity.

\u201cIt\u2019s hot,\u201d says Ayton, shirtless and slightly winded after a recent workout, but he doesn\u2019t really care. He\u2019s from the Bahamas, for one thing, and, besides, his comfort level these days has nothing to do with the temperature.

It has to do with basketball, academics and family. They\u2019re all in Arizona, now, and Ayton repeatedly mentions how important that is.

\u201cI made Arizona my home,\u201d he says. \u201cI\u2019m really comfortable in Arizona.\u201d

Short version of this story: Because Ayton loves his \u201csecond home\u201d in Arizona, the way Hillcrest coach Kyle Weaver describes it, the Wildcats had a major recruiting advantage and prompted a quick end to his recruitment.

But there is no short story with Ayton. Not with his rapid rise through basketball from raw Bahamian player to No. 1 prospect.

It\u2019s complicated. Sometimes really complicated.

Ayton played a lot of soccer growing up in Nassau, and even ran the 100 meters for a while, but never did play the country\u2019s most popular sport, cricket. \u201cNo. It\u2019s pretty hard,\u201d Ayton said, chuckling. \u201cThat\u2019s a hard sport.\u201d

So, initially, was basketball. Ayton was big and gifted and oozed potential, but lacked a structure to grow within the game. He didn\u2019t bother with it until about five years ago.

\u201cI didn\u2019t even like basketball,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cI didn\u2019t know how to play, you know? My dad was always trying to put the ball in my hand, but I didn\u2019t know what to do.\u201d

So he hung around the house, being heavily into band but little else. After another lazy summer day before his seventh-grade year, DeAndre\u2019s mother, Andrea, had seen enough.

She pushed DeAndre out the door to Jeff Rodgers\u2019 basketball camp, a longtime Bahamas institution. DeAndre was already 6-foot-7 and just about to blow up in the game at age 13, but didn\u2019t know it.

He protested.

\u201cThat camp that got me over here to the states? I didn\u2019t want to go,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cMy mom forced me because I was the only kid at home. My sisters and brothers were in summer camps and I didn\u2019t have anything to do.\u201d

The camp was full of coaches and counselors with connections. They quickly spread word of the raw but stunningly skilled big man, to as far away as Southern California.

Before Ayton knew it, he and Andrea were on a plane to San Diego. Andrea fell in love with the city and agreed to put DeAndre in the care of others. He enrolled at Balboa City School, a small private institution where a basketball program would be built around him.

His first few years in the United States followed a script that\u2019s common among elite prospects from families that are inexperienced or disinterested in the ways of high-level recruiting.

DeAndre\u2019s move was sponsored by a wealthy philanthropist, he first lived with a coach who started the Balboa program, then with a host family and, as a sophomore, with a school director.

Conflict came and went, but there was one thing everyone agreed on: Ayton was terrific, a sublime talent whose soccer footwork combines with length and athleticism to make him a wizard around the rim, from midrange and, now even more so, on the perimeter.

\u201cHe was obviously a very precocious athlete,\u201d said Ollie Goulston, who coached Balboa during Ayton\u2019s freshman and sophomore seasons. \u201cHe was definitely advanced. He had the complete package and the opportunity to be one of the best, with his work ethic, skill and athleticism. He\u2019s a good kid, too.\u201d

Goulston left Balboa after Ayton\u2019s sophomore season. Ayton said he still isn\u2019t sure what happened next.

\u201cIt was kind of crazy,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cMy family wasn\u2019t with the program in San Diego and there was too much going on. A lot of controversy.\u201d

Finally, Andrea stepped in. DeAndre transferred to Hillcrest as his junior year began last fall, and she moved with him to Phoenix.

By doing so, she effectively tightened the circle around her son. While most of the Hillcrest players live with Weaver in a sprawling, ranch-style home near Precision, she and DeAndre live a few minutes away.

\u201cIt\u2019s just him and his mom,\u201d Weaver says. \u201cNo snakes. No vultures.\u201d

Gary Franklin noticed the difference. Ayton played for his Cal Supreme in 2014 without Andrea around, but she was there when he rejoined the club this summer.

\u201cShe\u2019s done a lot of research herself,\u201d Franklin said. \u201cShe\u2019s taken control as she should. She\u2019s been very up-front and open with me, and that\u2019s why I think she was willing to trust us.\u201d

The arrangement, and the lifestyle, appears to work for both of them. While DeAndre spends his days at Precision, Andrea works a day job in janitorial services and returns home, often to cook for him.

\u201cOh yeah,\u201d he says. \u201cCaribbean food every day.\u201d

An attempt to reach Andrea via Hillcrest was unsuccessful \u2014 Weaver said she prefers to stay out of the media \u2014 but her son said she has grown to like Phoenix.

\u201cShe said this was the last time she\u2019s moving,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cShe got comfortable and made a lot of friends. She really likes it. She knows Arizona now.\u201d

Initially, Ayton\u2019s move to Hillcrest appeared to be a surprise. It was just a start-up prep program in 2014-15, fielding a team of only fifth-year seniors, but aimed much higher in year two.

Before the 2015-16 season, Hillcrest hired Marvin Bagley Jr. as associate head coach to join Weaver. While Weaver brought prep school basketball knowledge as a former player for Windward Prep \u2014 \u201cyou learn the trade,\u201d he says \u2014 Bagley brought talent.

Namely, his sons, Marvin III and Marcus. Marvin, who is regarded as the top-rated player in the class of 2018, helped lead Tempe Corona Del Sol to a state title in 2014-15. Marcus, still a high school freshman, received a scholarship offer from Arizona last month.

With the Bagleys and Ayton, Hillcrest had instant star power. In their first game together, against Phoenix College last October, Marvin and Ayton each scored 30 points and showed a strong on-court chemistry.

But by November, the Bagleys were gone. Bagley Jr. told the Arizona Republic he wanted his sons out because of \u201cnegativity following the program,\u201d and they later transferred to Sierra Canyon School, a private school in California\u2019s San Fernando Valley.

At that point, Hillcrest had been removed from a planned ESPN showcase game against the team of Thon Maker, a highly regarded big man in the class of 2016. Hillcrest\u2019s academic procedures came into question because its players were enrolled at Starshine Academy, which had core courses that were not certified by the NCAA.

\u201cIt was surprising,\u201d said Weaver, Hillcrest\u2019s head coach. \u201cWe were told it was going to be NCAA-approved.\u201d

To solve the problem, Hillcrest quickly moved players last fall to the NCAA-certified online courses of the Arizona Connections Academy, and this season all new players were enrolled at Precision.

In some ways, Hillcrest is still recovering from the publicity hit and so is Ayton, by extension, even as he and Weaver insist he\u2019s on track to become college-eligible.

Ayton says he was never enrolled at Starshine, taking only the Arizona Connections classes since arriving in Phoenix. He\u2019ll also take them this season, even as his teammates attend classes next door at Precision.

It was at Balboa City, Ayton said, where issues arose. Before its basketball program began, the school hadn\u2019t needed to seek NCAA certification for its courses.

Some went under review, Weaver said, and Ayton says he\u2019s had to take some courses again, even a class over the summer while playing for the California Supreme travel club.

\u201cI had to catch up, that was the main thing,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cThe NCAA said some classes I took at Balboa were not creditable, but all that\u2019s done. \u2026 We got that sorted out already, getting transcripts to the NCAA, and I\u2019m taking the SAT in November.\u201d

Goulston and Franklin both said if Ayton had any eligibility issues entering Arizona, it wouldn\u2019t be his fault.

\u201cThat\u2019s been a question, but I don\u2019t think it has anything to do with intelligence or ability to get work done,\u201d Franklin said.

\u201cMaybe it\u2019s about one of his schools not being accredited. He\u2019s a pretty intelligent kid.\u201d

While Ayton told reporters in April that only Kansas was heavily recruiting him at that point \u2014 a red flag suggesting that other recruiters were scared off by his academics or other issues \u2014 Arizona was moving in behind the scenes.

Weaver said UA associate head coach Joe Pasternack called about that time, and the Wildcats\u2019 strong interest over the summer indicated they believed Ayton might clear any eligibility hurdles.

\u201cThey knew about the academics,\u201d Weaver said. \u201cThey did their own stuff and found out the truth.\u201d

Of course, the eligibility piece is only one of the questions a dominant prospect such as Ayton typically faces. Other big ones: Does he really want to be in college anyway? How much money is he willing to forgo in salary and endorsements playing overseas in the year before NBA Draft eligibility?

UA signee Terrance Ferguson, rated in among the Top 15 players in the class of 2016, faced all those questions, too. Especially the eligibility part, since he spent two years at a Dallas prep school taking classes that were not NCAA-certified.

Ferguson\u2019s answer was to sign a pro contract in Australia and an endorsement deal in the mid-six-figures.

Considering that windfall, there\u2019s no telling what Ayton could get playing somewhere else in 2017-18, as the No. 1 player in the high school class of 2017.

Seven figures, maybe? His own shoe? Ayton may not know, or care.

He says he\u2019s not heading overseas, like Ferguson. And he says he\u2019s not planning to petition the NBA to get in the 2017 NBA Draft as an older high school player, like Maker successfully did last spring by declaring that he had already graduated with his class in 2015.

Ayton would have trouble with such an appeal anyway, since he just turned 18 in July and has not been with a graduating class yet. (NBA rules state players must be 19 and a year removed from high school graduation to be eligible for the draft.)

\u201cOne of the reasons I did it on TV, and especially on ESPN, was to let everybody know I\u2019m going to college,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cI wanted to say something about it earlier, about that overseas rumor, or whatever: No.

\u201cMy mom doesn\u2019t go that way. She doesn\u2019t take the easy way out. She wants me to really work hard to get to the next level. God forbid, there\u2019s injuries or whatever, but she wants me to get that experience and move on. Take baby steps.\u201d

Ayton insists he will be in Tucson, and insists that he will be for only one season. There is no stated uncertainty about either his college choice or how long he\u2019ll be in college, even as other elite players often publicly waver, keeping zealous fans hanging on their every word.

Ayton said he\u2019s just not into all that.

\u201cDefinitely, I\u2019m solid,\u201d he said. \u201cMy family and I don\u2019t do drama. When we say something, we do it. If that\u2019s what we want to do, we stay firm. We don\u2019t go back on our word.\u201d

Weaver said Ayton was so sure about playing for Arizona that he purposely scheduled his announcement for last Tuesday, three days before the opening of the fall recruiting period that allows coaches to make in-home visits with players.

In other words, just before Kansas\u2019 Bill Self and Kentucky\u2019s John Calipari were scheduled to visit Ayton .

\u201cI knew already,\u201d Ayton said. \u201cTo be honest, I didn\u2019t feel like that at Kentucky. Just couldn\u2019t see myself playing there.\u201d

But while taking a quiet, under-the-radar visit to Tucson last month, Ayton says he could see it.

He could see himself playing for UA coach Sean Miller, and for the often sold-out crowds at McKale Center.

He could see a Final Four, too.

After practice last Thursday, Ayton reviewed his winnowed-down schedule. Pasternack was coming to visit just as the recruiting period opened on Friday, while Miller was expected soon for an in-house visit that promised to be more of a celebration than a sales pitch.

Sounded good to him.

\u201cThat\u2019s going to be fun,\u201d Ayton says. \u201cTo me, I\u2019m glad I committed to U of A, man. So glad. If I had committed to the others, I think I would have been mad because I didn\u2019t want to leave my family.

\u201cAnd with a coach like coach Miller, we can make history. I really intend to give him his first Final Four. And I think I can really change the college game.\u201d

"}, {"id":"5dd5206c-771d-11e6-beb8-5393bd75d171","type":"article","starttime":"1473487860","starttime_iso8601":"2016-09-09T23:11:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1473491272","priority":45,"sections":[{"pascoe":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona basketball: On Ristic's mile, Cruz's bloodlines and Ayton's optimism","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/article_5dd5206c-771d-11e6-beb8-5393bd75d171.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/arizona-basketball-on-ristic-s-mile-cruz-s-bloodlines-and/article_5dd5206c-771d-11e6-beb8-5393bd75d171.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/arizona-basketball-on-ristic-s-mile-cruz-s-bloodlines-and/article_5dd5206c-771d-11e6-beb8-5393bd75d171.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"DeAndre Ayton's first public appearance in Tucson will be against Pima College.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats basketball","joaquim cruz","paulo cruz","dusan ristic","kobi simmons","rawle alkins","deandre ayton","parker jackson-cartwright"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#toptwo","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"c57092be-7723-11e6-8dc0-1b392b722198","description":"Paulo Cruz (51), shown consoling Gabe York after UA's loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals last season, has some Olympic bloodlines that may have helped him break the UA's Miller-era preseason mile run record with a time of 5:06. Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"606","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/57/c57092be-7723-11e6-8dc0-1b392b722198/56e3aca69d52d.image.jpg?resize=620%2C606"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/57/c57092be-7723-11e6-8dc0-1b392b722198/56e3aca69d52d.image.jpg?crop=1456%2C818%2C0%2C30&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/57/c57092be-7723-11e6-8dc0-1b392b722198/56e3aca69d52d.image.jpg?crop=1456%2C818%2C0%2C30&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/57/c57092be-7723-11e6-8dc0-1b392b722198/56e3aca69d52d.image.jpg?crop=1456%2C818%2C0%2C30&resize=1024%2C575&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":23,"commentID":"5dd5206c-771d-11e6-beb8-5393bd75d171","body":"

Probably wasn't too much of a surprise within the Arizona basketball program to see walk-on guard Paulo Cruz break the Sean Miller-era preseason mile run record with a time of 5:06 earlier this week.

If you were watching the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics, you might have briefly seen Cruz's dad, Joaquim, helping hold the Olympic flag (He's third from the left in this photo). That's because Joaquim won gold in the 800 meters at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and silver in 1988 at Seoul.

\"His father, who has a gold medal, taught him well!\" Miller posted on Twitter.

What might have been a bigger surprise, even after Miller raved last month about how Dusan Ristic has become the hardest-working big man he's ever had: That the Serbian 7-footer propelled his massive frame through a mile in just 5:41.

Miller also said Parker Jackson-Cartwright posted the third-best time ever in the annual preseason tradition, posting a 5:20, behind only T.J. McConnell and Cruz.


Joaquim Cruz, now living in the San Diego area and also known for\u00a0his work with Paralympic athletes,\u00a0had to keep his appearance in the Opening Ceremonies a secret.\u00a0


New UA commit DeAndre Ayton says he hopes to get Miller to his first-ever Final Four in 2017-18. But there's also that matter of 2016-17, when the Final Four will be staged in Phoenix.

Ayton isn't dismissing that from happening, either.

\"Oh yeah,\" he said this week. They now have \"Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins? They're men against boys. Rawle, I've seen him play and he's a monster, and U of A has really helped him. He's got a little body fat off and is all muscle now. Kobi got a lot bigger as well.

\"They're going to be a good team. \u00a0They\u2019re young, too, but it\u2019s going to be a fun year for them.\"


Ayton had a chance to meet with the Wildcats during a relatively under-the-radar unofficial recruiting visit to Tucson last month. That visit may have convinced him so much that he decided to announce his college choice before the fall in-home visits started this weekend -- when a couple of guys named Bill Self and John Calipari were expected to visit and pitch some alternative options.

\u201cI knew already. The first visit\u201d to Arizona, Ayton said. \u201cTo be honest, I didn\u2019t feel like that at Kentucky. Just couldn\u2019t see myself playing there.\u201d


Ayton should be easy to catch this season for UA fans. Though the date isn't set yet, his Hillcrest Prep team is likely to play at Pima College sometime next month, and will have a number of other games against junior college teams planned around the state in addition to its national high school schedule.

Hillcrest coach Kyle Weaver, who estimates he has eight Division I prospects on this season's team, says he likes facing juco teams because of their age and experience level. Ayton and Marvin Bagley III each had 30 points against Phoenix College last November before Bagley left the program.

\"I like playing junior colleges because you're playing guys who are 18 or even 30 year old,\" Weaver said. \"It's great, especially with DeAndre. He's playing against bigger guys who are gonna make him work.\"


Apparently, Nov. 11 is gonna be a busy day at Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center, and not just because UA and the rest of the Armed Forces Classic doubleheader has been moved there. There's also a couple of Rainbow Classic games that need to be crammed in, including one involving the home team.


The Mercury-News' Jon Wilner says maybe all that effort the Pac-12 is putting into Australia will help recruiting, at least in basketball. Already, the Australian National Team had former WSU big men Brock Motum and Aron Baynes, plus ex-Utah center Andrew Bogut, facing the Pac-12's exhibition team in July.


Oregon coach Dana Altman (surprise) gets yet another 6-8 guy with versatility for 2017-18 in Georgetown transfer Paul White.


Retooling Utah has been downgraded on the Pac-12 TV slate.

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Arizona basketball fans may need a little flexibility in their sleep and work schedules to catch the Wildcats this season.

The Pac-12 announced the exact dates for conference games and tipoff times for all games involving its teams Thursday, handing the Wildcats a schedule that has about a third of their games starting at 8 p.m. or later, including four 9 p.m. tipoffs.

UA will also play at least three Saturday afternoon games during the Pac-12 season, and two nonconference games at 10 a.m. Tucson time, while their season opener hits smack in the middle of a tropical Friday afternoon: The Wildcats will face Michigan State on Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. Hawaii time (5 p.m. in Arizona) at the University of Hawaii.

But the Wildcats also have plenty to be thankful for in their scheduling fate. With what compares to an old-Pac-10-style schedule, Arizona won\u2019t have any extra-long road trips \u2014 with only one day between games of all four two-game road sets \u2014 and no road games on Sunday nights once the spring semester has started.

Arizona also won\u2019t have to start Pac-12 play until Dec. 30 at California, giving the Wildcats at least four full days to enjoy a Christmas break following their Dec. 20 nonconference finale against New Mexico.

UA probably also benefits from not having to host Oregon, which snapped Arizona\u2019s 49-game homecourt win streak last season and is the expected favorite to win the Pac-12 again. In addition, also because of the Pac-12\u2019s unbalanced schedule, the Wildcats won\u2019t have to make the long Colorado/Utah trip to face two teams that should be competitive again in the conference race.

And while they\u2019ll be busy with a few days of Pearl Harbor appearances leading up to their regular-season opener, the Wildcats also won\u2019t have to worry about condensation or other issues against Michigan State on a makeshift Pearl Harbor court.

The Nov. 11 doubleheader known as the Armed Forces Classic, which will also feature Indiana against Kansas in the second game, was moved from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to the more conventional Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii.

While the Armed Forces Classic game at Okinawa, Japan, was canceled at halftime last season because of moisture on the floor, ESPN Events VP Clint Overby said the decision to move this year\u2019s games was made ultimately to play at a bigger venue. The Stan Sheriff Center holds 10,300 fans, and Overby said about 4,000 military personnel and their families are expected to attend.

\u201cWe learned a lot from Okinawa, but it came down to the build-out we would need to meet the demand,\u201d Overby told the Star on Thursday. \u201cThe (University of Hawaii) facility was already there.\u201d

Overby said the complete \u201cimmersion\u201d experience the teams will have with the military will remain. The Wildcats are expected to take part in several events on the base, and tour the Arizona Memorial, in the days leading up to the games.

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Arizona basketball fans will have to be flexible -- and maybe lose a little sleep or work -- to catch all the Wildcats' games in the upcoming season.

Television-dictated tipoff times and exact dates for Pac-12 games were announced today, leaving the Wildcats with exactly a third of their exhibition and regular-season games starting at 8 p.m. or later Tucson time -- including 9 p.m. tipoffs against Grand Canyon, Cal, ASU and Stanford.

The Wildcats also have a pair of 10 a.m. games (11 a.m. local against Missouri and Texas A&M) in December, will play Michigan State in mid-afternoon (Hawaii time) on a Friday, and will have a handful of traditional high-profile games on early Saturday afternoons (at UCLA, and against Washington and ASU at home).

Two other home games, on Saturdays against Cal and UCLA, have not been set.

UA's schedule actually has a distinctly old-time-Pac-10 look, with the Wildcats playing a few day games, having the occasional late-night tipoff and never being stuck with more than a day in between two-game conference road sets.

Here's a completed look at the schedule. UA's schedule website has also been updated. And the Pac-12's official television schedule, with all dates and times for all conference teams, is attached as a PDF file.

Arizona's 2016-17 schedule (home games in bold).

Oct. 14: Red-Blue Game TBA

Nov. 1: College of Idaho (exhibition) 7:30 p.m. Pac-12

Nov. 6: Chico State (exhibition) 4 p.m.

Nov. 11: vs. Michigan State (Armed Forces Classic, Honolulu) 5 p.m.

Nov. 15: Cal State Bakersfield 8 p.m.

Nov. 18: Sacred Heart (Las Vegas Invitational, at McKale Center) 8 p.m.

Nov. 21: Northern Colorado (Las Vegas Invitational, at McKale Center) 7 p.m Pac-12

Nov. 24: vs Santa Clara (Las Vegas Invitational, in Las Vegas) 8:30 p.m. FS1

Nov. 25: vs. Vanderbilt/Butler (Las Vegas Invitational, in Las Vegas) 6 or 8:30 p.m. FS1

Nov. 30: Texas Southern 7 p.m. Pac-12

Dec. 3: vs. Gonzaga (Naismith Hall of Fame Game, Los Angeles) 3:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec. 6: UC Irvine 8 p.m. Pac-12

Dec. 10: at Missouri 10 a.m. ESPN2

Dec. 14: Grand Canyon 9 p.m. ESPNU

Dec. 17: vs. Texas A&M 10 a.m. ESPN2

Dec. 20: New Mexico 7 p.m Pac-12

Dec. 30: at California 9 p.m. Pac-12

Jan. 1: at Stanford, 6 p.m., Pac-12

Jan. 5: Utah 8 p.m., FS1

Jan. 7 Colorado, 7:30 p.m. Pac-12

Jan. 12 ASU 9 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2

Jan. 19 at USC 7 p.m. Pac-12

Jan. 21 at UCLA 2 p.m. CBS

Jan. 26 WSU 7:30 p.m. Pac-12

Jan. 29 Washington 1:30 p.m. FOX

Feb. 2 at OSU 7 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2

Feb. 4 at Oregon TBD ESPN/ESPN2

Feb. 8 Stanford 9 p.m. FS1

Feb. 11 California TBD ESPN/ESPN2

Feb. 16 at WSU 7 p.m. FS1

Feb. 18 at Washington 6 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2

Feb. 23: USC\u00a08 p.m Pac-12

Feb. 25: UCLA TBD ESPN/ESPN2

March 4 ASU 2 p.m. CBS

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At this point in Arizona basketball history, the commitment of DeAndre Ayton might stir up conflicting emotions for longtime Wildcat fans.

Like excitement. And fear.

The UA has signed six unanimous top-10 recruits since player rankings were widely posted in the early 2000s. Of those, two never showed up on Arizona\u2019s campus.

Forward Ndudi Ebi, the No. 3 player in the class of 2003, opted to jump into the NBA draft along with LeBron James back when there was no rule preventing high schoolers from doing so. Ebi went No. 26 to Minnesota but has played just 19 NBA games in his career.

Then there was guard Brandon Jennings, who signed for Lute Olson but played his would-be freshman year of 2008-09 in Italy, possibly because his eligibility (and Olson\u2019s status) appeared in doubt. After a season in Europe, Jennings went No. 10 in the 2009 NBA draft and now plays for the Knicks.

And just this summer, another top Arizona recruit opted for pro ball rather than enroll at Arizona. Top-15 wing Terrance Ferguson signed a pro contract in Australia and a six-figure endorsement deal. His eligibility appeared in doubt, too, since he spent two years at a school whose courses were not NCAA-certified.

Those stories are enough to battle-scar any diehard UA recruiting fan, and enough to wonder what, exactly, Ayton will do.

Yet, Ayton says he wants to attend college for a year, and the fact that Arizona recently started investing considerable resources into his once-bare recruitment suggests the Wildcats think he will, too.

Matt Allen, director of the Hillcrest Prep program in Phoenix that Ayton now plays for, says Ayton recorded a 3.2 grade-point average last year and remains in good shape after taking classes over the summer.

\u201cHe\u2019s on track to become eligible and just has to take his SAT,\u201d Allen said. \u201cHe\u2019s a good student. He still has work to do this year, but his parents want him to go to college, and he would like to go. Arizona is the place he wants to go.\u201d

The coursework that Hillcrest players took last season initially raised eligibility questions. Ayton and other Hillcrest players attended Phoenix\u2019s StarShine Academy early last season but that program did not have NCAA-certified core courses, so the players all moved to the online Arizona Connections Academy, which has NCAA-certified courses.

Before the transition, though, Phoenix forward Marvin Bagley, the nation\u2019s top-rated player in the class of 2018, transferred out of Hillcrest.

This season, Ayton\u2019s teammates at Hillcrest now attend Sequoia Choice Precision High School, but Hillcrest coach Kyle Weaver said Ayton remained with the online courses at Arizona Connections Academy because it\u2019s a better fit for him.

\u201cWith who he is, it\u2019s better that he\u2019s not in a classroom,\u201d Weaver said.

But the differing coursework, plus the fact that Ayton previously shifted around under different mentors at Balboa City School in San Diego since arriving from his native Bahamas in middle school, may have given some recruiters pause.

As of last April, Ayton said only Kansas was really recruiting him, a highly unusual situation for a five-star talent.

\u201cI do think it is of note that DeAndre Ayton was not heavily recruited,\u201d says 24/7 recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. \u201cThat obviously raises some questions, and why did Marvin Bagley bail on that school? There\u2019s a lot of questions.\u201d

Meyer said most schools will hesitate to spend energy recruiting a player if they feel they won\u2019t get him, if the chances of him going pro are too strong, or if there\u2019s a question about his eligibility. All that is weighed against how good a player is.

\u201cIt\u2019s kind of a sliding scale, where you\u2019re looking at probability,\u201d Meyer said.

In the end, it suggested to Arizona that Ayton was worthy of taking a chance. No matter what happens.

\u201cRight now, he\u2019s coming to Arizona. That\u2019s a big deal,\u201d said Clark Francis, longtime publisher of the Hoop Scoop recruiting site. \u201cYou understand when you recruit the best players in the country, who have bounced around, that there\u2019s always a possibility that they won\u2019t show up.

\u201cBut that goes with the territory. If DeAndre Ayton wants to commit, you\u2019re taking that commitment and sorting it out later. With his size, skills, athleticism and explosiveness \u2026 they just don\u2019t make people like him.\u201d

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DeAndre Ayton says he'll be a \"one-and-done\" in college, which is a whole lot better for the Arizona Wildcats than what some expected he might become.

That is, a none-and-done.

Whispers about Ayton's potential eligibility and the lure of pro basketball overseas appeared to have scared off enough schools that Ayton said last spring that only Kansas was recruiting him.

And even as recently as last month, there were hints that Kentucky wasn't really recruiting him as hard as it could have.

Meanwhile, Arizona kept working its way in, reinforced a relationship with Ayton and his mother, and pulled out Tuesday's recruiting shocker.

During and after his announcement, Ayton reinforced the notion that he really does plan to become a Wildcat by telling everyone that he is serious about playing a year of college ball.

\"If you know me, you know I want to go to college,\" Ayton told the Star.

Unlike UA signee Terrance Ferguson, who took off for Australia this summer when it appeared he may have been doomed by spending two years at a school that lacked NCAA-certified courses, Ayton appears to be in better shape to get eligible.

While Hillcrest enrolled its players for part of last season at StarShine Academy, which did not have NCAA-certified courses, it\u00a0has since switched to an online program\u00a0that does.

What's more: Matt Allen, Hillcrest's basketball program director, told the Arizona Republic that Ayton had a 3.5 GPA in the first semester last year. And the Sporting News says he took pre-calculus and English over the summer in an attempt to stay on track.

If he does enroll at UA, Ayton will become the first-ever No. 1 overall recruit to do so. Brandon Jennings was rated No. 1 by ESPN and Scout in 2008 (No. 4 by Rivals) but opted to play instead in Italy, possibly because of eligibility concerns.

The next-highest rated UA recruits, at least since widespread online rankings were posted starting in the early 2000s, were Stanley Johnson (No. 3 by many analysts in 2014), Aaron Gordon (No. 4 by many analysts in 2013) and Ndudi Ebi (No. 3 by Scout and No. 4 by Rivals in 2003).

Ebi opted to jump into the NBA Draft when there was not yet a rule forbidding high schoolers to do so (and later made a list of the top 10 busts who did so).

If Ayton takes a different path than Ferguson, Jennings and Ebi -- showing up at McKale Center in 2017-18 -- he'll become\u00a0what Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg called\u00a0a \"huge coup\" for the Wildcats and maybe enough to get them a\u00a0shot at the 2018 Final Four, according to Jeff Goodman.

"} ]