Sean Miller hasn’t shied away from expectations since he arrived at Arizona over four years ago, but something else is going on all together this fall.
The Wildcats are being picked as a Top 10, sometimes even Top 5, team, with praise all over preseason publications for a returning core that adds all-everything Aaron Gordon and well-regarded point guard T.J. McConnell, among others.
But if Miller could put the brakes on all that slightly, he probably would.
“It’s just the way it goes but I do believe with where we’re rated, how good we’re supposed to be, we may not be that good. I don’t know yet,” Miller said. “We have a lot of interchangeable players but from a pure body perspective we may be one man down on the front line.
"And shooting in particular, although I don’t know if I’d say we’re not going to be a good shooting team, we have a number of guys we’re going to count on that haven’t done it or are going to have to do it better so that remains to be seen as well.”
Miller did say he thought this was his overall most talented team but noted that the losses of Mark Lyons, Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom were costly.
Miller cracked up the overflowing crowd during his 30-minute media day briefing when asked about the status of Zach Peters, the Kansas transfer who is seeking a waiver to play right away after suffering multiple concussions last year.
“I think the NCAA has given us 4 or 5 deadlines to rule on and they’re 0 for 5,” Miller said. “I would say if they give us a sixth deadline they’ll miss that one too. We’re anticipating an answer as soon as tomorrow. We anticipated an answer three weeks ago and if you ask me three weeks from now I may say we’re anticipating an answer the following week.
“We’ve done everything that we need to do, Zach’s family has done everything they need to do. Kansas has been incredibly cooperative. They’ve done everything they need to do. It’s probably as simple as one person picking up a piece of paper, walking 50 feet and dropping it off on a desk, and that (next) person picking up the paper and putting a check mark on it. But we’re not there yet.”
Peters’ waiver to play immediately, rather than sit out the required year-in-residence, is contingent if the NCAA rules that he left Kansas for reasons out of his control.
Peters said he left Kansas because the medical issues got to the point where his parents wanted him to come home.
“The stress and everything, I just felt I needed to leave the team,” Peters said. “I was going to stay at Kansas and be a normal student but my parents ended up saying `you need to come home’ because obviously they were worried about me and they thought it was in my best interests to come home.
“I thought it was best for me to come home, too, which says a lot for a college student – obviously nobody wants to go home after your first semester.”
Peters took classes near home at Collin College in Texas last winter after leaving Kansas and, after improving physically, began considering other schools and committed to UA in May.
-- Saying “we’re not as deep as it appears,” Miller appeared to slightly back off the idea of extending his defense often. He said he may only use eight players in his regular rotation but said he has a lot of versatility, with three guards or a big frontcourt among the options.
-- Miller said he expected to see teams play a lot of zone against them, as Cal and Oregon did with success last season, so will be spending a lot of preseason work on a zone offense.
-- We'll have a lot more posted from today's interviews at midnight. We had a notebook this morning if you missed it.