The musical chairs season has begun for the Arizona Wildcats once again.
The Wildcats went all the way until May last spring with a surplus of scholarship players before MoMo Jones took off for Iona, and now, the commitments of Matt Korcheck and T.J. McConnell mean at least one other UA player will depart this spring.
Arizona is limited to 12 scholarships next season because of NCAA sanctions and it has 13 on paper as of now.
There's already been a ton of speculation about what might happen on the previous discussion thread and elsewhere, and the candidates appear to be fairly obvious.
-- Josiah Turner. The Wildcats' talented but troubled freshman point guard remains indefinitely suspended with unspecified issues that are covered by federal student privacy laws (that's why UA has been so quiet about it).
-- Jordin Mayes. The sophomore combo guard's season never met expectations after he played well during the 2011 NCAA tournament, possibly because offseason foot surgery threw him off track -- and because a midseason stress reaction in the same foot cost him three weeks. If Turner leaves, he would have a chance to be the starting point guard next season but might have to play behind or to the side of McConnell in 2013-14.
-- Kyryl Natyazhko. The Ukrainian big man has made it a goal to graduate at UA and appears to be happy here. But he played in only four of the Wildcats' final 15 games of the season. That may represent a pretty strong message from Sean Miller.
-- There is always the possibility of a surprise, too. At this point last year, Jones was not speculated to be leaving, yet he did...
Miller won't be able to comment on T.J. McConnell until after his letter-of-intent is signed. In fact, even though the signing period begins Wednesday, UA may not release anything until later this week because Matt Korcheck's parents are in Florida and won't be able to quickly sign his LOI -- and UA typically announces all its players in a class together.
But here's an old interview with Miller from just before the Wildcats faced T.J. McConnell and Duquesne:
"They have a number of good players," Miller said. "They have a point guard, McConnell, whom I’m very familiar with. I think he’s one of the best point guards in the country. He had seven steals in his exhibition game, 10 assists in his second exhibition. He's the consummate point guard. He makes his teams better.
"He’s a really, really good player who will test our point guards."
Miller's words proved prophetic on Nov. 9, when McConnell hit a 12-footer with two seconds left in the first half to give the Dukes a 30-28 halftime lead. Arizona pulled out a 67-59 win, but McConnell had nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the Nov. 9 game.
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