Arizona found recent success because of the dominance of an experienced front court, but will graduate their best player, Solomon Hill, this spring. However, with the return of three contributing freshman, and the addition of nationally pursued prospect Aaron Gordon, Arizona won’t skip a beat down low in the 2013-14 season.
In previous seasons, Arizona’s lack of size and inexperience in the front court led to their absence from the NCAA tournament. Since then, the power forward and center positions have been the most stable options for the Wildcats on both the offensive and defensive ends.
The fact that three freshman post players from last season are returning as sophomores is exciting, but Arizona fans have the joy of looking forward to Gordon’s production as an immediate contributor.
There’s no telling what this kid is capable of, and Wildcats head coach Sean Hill stole one of the nation’s most complete players away from many west coast schools. Gordon does everything you expect from a power forward, and he can hit mid-range shots like a two guard.
Gordon will get into trouble if he tries to immediately replace Hill, and will have to ease into the rotation before becoming a significant contributor. He will be competing for minutes with Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett, who are both returning next season. Gordon is likely a one-and-done player, so coach Hill will make every effort to get the freshman quality opportunities.
What used to be a deficiency for the Wildcats has become an advantage over the past two season. With three freshman returning this season and the addition of top prospect Gordon, Arizona will be an instant favorite to capture the Pac-12 Conference title.
John Engel is a Pac-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.