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Want to see tangible benefits of coaching continuity? Ask the Wildcats about their end-of-practice stretching drills.

Per coach Sean Miller's rules, players must form a circle and count together out loud when they stretch. If they don't, the team has to start over.

"We had to restart a lot of things last year," center Alex Jacobson said.

Center Kyryl Natyazhko said that, "Coach had to talk so much."

Now the team doesn't need every aspect of Miller's practice to be explained, either by the coach or the strength staff.

"It's a huge difference," guard Kyle Fogg said. "When he says to do something, you know what it is right away. Things move so much quicker and smoother than they did last year, as opposed to everyone scratching their head and having no idea what was going on."

The big number


UA player, Kevin Parrom, who was forced to start conditioning early after failing to make a mandated time for a 1-mile run. Last year, all but four failed the test. "He has a phobia of running on the track," Miller joked. "But he's one of those guys, when he sees the track, he can't run."

No more braids

Brendon Lavender wanted to grow up - so he cut his hair.

The junior guard had his braids hacked off during the summer.

"I felt I had to mature," he said. "My braids were kind of a childish look. Everyone got a bad image of me. They thought I was some kind of a hoodlum. I got a few comments."

Lavender had worn the same haircut since eighth grade.

"I felt like it was the right decision, a good change," he said.

Lavender, whose stubbled buzz cut is growing out, appreciates the low-maintenance side of his new 'do. He doesn't have to pay his friend Pam to braid it weekly.

And he doesn't whip himself in the eyes with his braids when he makes a quick move on the basketball court.

"Now I'm free," he said, smiling. "I can jump higher. I'm quicker."

Hill impression

Another thing about continuity - it makes for good impressions.

While former guard David Bagga was the go-to guy for impressions of former Wildcats coach Kevin O'Neill, Solomon Hill has emerged as the player with the best Miller voice.

"You gotta ask him to do some impressions for you," Fogg said.

So we asked the sophomore swingman for his best Miller impression. His reaction?

"Not me. I don't do Sean Miller. That's somebody else. … I don't know what you're talking about," Hill said, smiling.


Natyazhko got a pleasant surprise Monday - he grew an inch.

The UA sophomore center was measured by team trainers at 6 feet 11 inches, not last year's figure of 6-10.

"It's a surprise to me, too," he said. "I like it. Most power forwards in the NBA are 6-11 or taller.

"That's what I like to see."


Freshman guards Jordin Mayes and Daniel Bejarano have given the Wildcats a new attitude.

"They bring a swagger like MoMo (Jones) brought as a freshman - 'I'm gonna go out here, and I'm going to try to beat my man every possession,'" Hill said.


"All my friends were calling about that. It was hilarious. Looking back, I think that was a pretty great moment. I just couldn't believe it was on TV. It was really cool to see. Got me excited for the season."

Fogg, on the UA using his last-second free throws against USC in a commercial for ticket sales

Patrick Finley