Arizona basketball scouting report

2012-11-19T00:00:00Z 2012-11-19T07:16:51Z Arizona basketball scouting reportCompiled by Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star
November 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Projected Starters

Arizona

• G Mark Lyons (6-1 senior)

• G Nick Johnson (6-3 sophomore)

• F Solomon Hill (6-7 junior)

• F Grant Jerrett (6-10 freshman)

• C Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0 freshman)

Long Beach State

• G Mike Caffey (6-0 sophomore)

• G James Ennis (6-7 senior)

• F Kris Gulley (6-7 sophomore)

• F Nick Shepherd (6-9 sophomore)

• C Dan Jennings (6-9 junior)

Sidelines

Long Beach St. big man has UA ties

Despite being a native of Queens, N.Y., who grew up on Staten Island, Long Beach State big man Dan Jennings has reason to feel at home tonight at McKale Center. For one thing, he teamed with Kemba Walker on a New York Gauchos travel team that won the 2007 Arizona Cactus Classic recruiting showcase at McKale by beating Brandon Jennings and Belmont Shore in the final.

"There were a lot of pros in that tournament, and it was a good experience," Dan Jennings said. For another thing, his coach and mentor on that Gauchos team was Book Richardson, who is now an assistant UA coach. "He's one of the kids I've been closest to because of his (family) situation back in New York," Richardson said. "I cried a lot with Danny. To watch where he's come from to where he is now becomes really emotional."

Tar Heels honor word - play at LBSU

It's one thing for a team from a mid-major conference to play a tough nonconference schedule. It's another to actually get a high-major team into your place, which is what Long Beach State managed to do with North Carolina.

LBSU coach Dan Monson said he agreed to play at North Carolina twice in exchange for one appearance North Carolina would make in Long Beach - last Friday en route to the Maui Invitational. UNC coach Roy Williams agreed because he wanted to arrange a homecoming for twins Travis and David Wear of nearby Huntington Beach, Calif.

But the twins transferred to UCLA a week after their agreement, and Monson feared the deal would be off. "Sure enough, three weeks later (the contract) comes in the mail," Monson said. Monson said Williams said that "two wrongs don't make a right, and if I bail on it that wouldn't be right," Monson said. "That shows you a little bit about what he's all about." North Carolina won the game 78-63.

Ex-Sun Devil awaits status

Former ASU guard Keala King just missed a chance to return to McKale Center with the 49ers. A product of Compton, Calif., King transferred to Long Beach State last season and filed a request for a waiver to play immediately because of family issues.

Monson said the school expects a decision soon, but King is not eligible to play or travel until he is cleared. In any case, King will be eligible to play next month, since he transferred in the middle of last season.

HOW THEY MATCH UP

• The series: Arizona has only played Long Beach State three times before, always in Tucson and never in the last 17 years. The Wildcats have won all three games in the series, the last a 91-57 win in the 1995-95 Preseason NIT.

• Long Beach State overview: The 49ers lost four starters off a team that won two straight Big West Conference titles, and yet they're picked to win the league again. That could tell you something about the mix of transfers and returnees that coach Dan Monson has assembled. LBSU has a skilled point guard in Mike Caffey, who is taking over from two-time Big West player of the year Casper Ware, while wing James Ennis is a dangerous scorer. The 49ers have size on the wings and in the middle with Dan Jennings, a transfer from West Virginia. But as big as they are, the 49ers are very dangerous in transition.

KEY PLAYERS

James Ennis

Long Beach State

The 49ers' lone returning starter is a crafty scorer from all over the floor who will shoot over defenders or exploit the smallest angle to get to the basket. Long and athletic, Ennis is also the team's best defender.

Nick Johnson

Arizona

One of the Wildcats' biggest challenges will be getting back defensively and keeping the 49ers from dictating the tempo. Johnson will have to do his share of that job against bigger wing players.

Numbers game

2

Nonconference strength of schedule that Long Beach State played last season, according to kenpom.com, which says the 49ers have the No. 58 toughest schedule so far this season.

4

Long Beach State wins in 25 games against "big six" conference opponents in the Dan Monson era.

14

Points Solomon Hill needs to become the 47th player in UA history to score 1,000 points. Hill is also three rebounds shy of 600 career boards.

He said it

Caffey is one of the best young point guards we'll play against all season long. James Ennis (and Caffey) would have an opportunity to start on any team in our conference and Danny Jennings would have an opportunity to play a major role on the majority of the teams in the Pac-12. (Ennis) is really good in transition. He's an older guy and he knows how to score. He's savvy. He can shoot the three, and in transition he'll murder you if you don't defend him. He finishes around the basket really well and he's a really good free-throw shooter."

- UA assistant coach Book Richardson, who scouted the 49ers

Long Beach State (1-2) at No. 12 Arizona (2-0) • at McKale Center • 7 p.m. today • Pac-12 Arizona • 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)

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