Arizona Basketball: 5 Most Important Returners for the Wildcats in 2012-13
The Arizona Wildcats are ready to rock in 2012-13.
This is Sean Miller's team. He and his staff have recruited every player on this year's roster.
Sure, there's been a lot of talk about the blow-your-mind 2012 recruiting class. Maybe the best in school history.
But a big reason this Cats team could be dangerous in both the Pac-12 and in March Madness is a rock-solid cast of returning players.
One of the great characteristics of this group is each player's ability to morph into a variety of roles. Rather than being slotted in a single position, each can be a factor in multiple ways.
Let's take a quick look at Arizona's five most important returners.
5. Jordin Mayes
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Jordin Mayes is a gamer.
As a freshman, he was a key contributor off the bench, usually coming in and knocking down a three (45.3 percent) or playing some fierce defense.
Last year as a sophomore, Mayes struggled with foot injuries and never hit his stride, even though his scoring average (4.9 points per game) was identical to his first-year number.
With Mark Lyons' arrival, Mayes is the likely backup point guard for the Cats.
He will be counted on to come in and run the team and provide a spark.
4. Angelo Chol
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Angelo Chol may be the most improved returning player.
The long, athletic post player is a nuisance on the defensive end, ready to block shots and control the paint.
Nobody works harder than Chol, and that plays well with Sean Miller.
Observers of workouts around campus notice that Chol has added muscle to his lean frame (6'9", 225 lbs).
His tenacity and determination will help him fight for minutes even with the arrival of the fantastic freshmen frontcourt trio of Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett and Brandon Ashley.
3. Kevin Parrom
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Kevin Parrom's contribution to the Wildcats cannot be fully gauged by his numbers.
His perseverance through multiple hardships inspires his teammates. The senior wing brings a toughness and grit to the court that is contagious.
His size (6'6", 220 lbs) and athleticism allow him to guard multiple positions, and Parrom has a surprising shooting touch from beyond the arc.
Depending how Sean Miller sets up his player rotations, Parrom could see significant minutes at both shooting guard and small forward.
2. Nick Johnson
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Last year as a freshman, Nick Johnson showed great adaptability by going back and forth between playing both shooting guard and point guard.
Johnson's freakish athleticism helps him take over games on either end of the court.
When opponents lose track of him for a second, the 6'3" sophomore will go back door and throw down a nasty tomahawk alley-oop.
He is a capable ball-handler and passer who will continue to set up his teammates regardless of what position he plays.
Johnson will likely be paired alongside Mark Lyons in what could be the Pac-12's most lethal backcourt.
1. Solomon Hill
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Multi-talented Solomon Hill will move back to his natural small forward role for his senior season after playing down low last year.
From the time that Hill arrived on campus three years ago, he proved that he can fill up a box score.
He is a solid scorer (13 PPG) and proved his versatility last year, leading the team in both rebounding (7.7 RPG) and assists (2.6 APG) from his power forward position. A rare accomplishment on any team.
Hill was a first-team all-conference selection in 2011-12 and will be a constant double-double threat every time he takes the court this season.