For the past four games, Sean Miller has started the same five players: Jordin Mayes, Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill, Jesse Perry and Kyryl Natyazhko.
That string will end Tuesday when the Wildcats play at New Mexico State.
And it won’t be resumed.
“The same five that started against San Diego State will never start another game (together) at Arizona,” Miller told the Star today.
Miller said he didn’t have it “etched in stone” who the new starters will be, but he’s expected to make a change at center as well as possibly some other spots. His recent substitution patterns suggest he may start Nick Johnson, too.
Miller said he has not decided yet if Angelo Chol or Jesse Perry could start at center, nor whether Josiah Turner will start over Jordin Mayes. Other rotation patterns could also be affected.
What Miller does know is that he no longer wants to get off to slow starts, like the 21-4 burial that did the Wildcats in against the Aztecs.
“At the end of the day, we’re a team like New Mexico State, that’s trying to play nine or ten players,” Miller said. “We need contributions from everybody, from our bench and we need guys to come into the game with confidence and add value to what we’re doing.”
Miller said freshman forward Sidiki Johnson has returned to Arizona and will finish up the fall semester but will not participate in team activities. Miller said Johnson will not travel to New Mexico State and will not practice or play anytime soon.
“His focus is strictly academic, and off the court to make sure he does what he needs to do to be successful,” Miller said.
Possible translation: Johnson works to remain eligible so that UA will give him a release to transfer and so that he can become eligible somewhere else.
Miller declined to specify the odds that Johnson rejoins the team but they appear slim. Miller said Johnson could still be dismissed or elect to transfer, and also that he could “earn his way back” to the team at some point.
But, when pressed for a timeframe on a possible reinstatement, Miller added this:
“I don’t think you’ll see Sidiki play for Arizona for a long time,” Miller told the Star.
There's no word yet on whether the NBA might impose a two-year requirement for the NBA draft, and Miller had no idea which way it might go.
"I didn't even realize the NBA strike had ended," Miller said. "I'm just trying to practice and hopefully be a better team."
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