While I didn't make it to the Red-Blue game, I can offer a few notes on what surprised me from the Arizona Wildcats' opening event, which officially places us in basketball season.
Whereas past Red-Blue events were low-key, practice-like situations, the athletic department took it a step or two further for the 2010-11 season. There were ring of honor inductions of Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger, celebrations of other past stars like Jerryd Bayless, Jason Terry, Richard Jefferson, Jordan Hill, Channing Frye and Andre Iguodala, and most importantly, a time for the team to show support for Kevin Parrom, who's had a terrible past month.
Then, there's the first look at the four freshman. Nick Johnson won the dunk contest, Sidiki Johnson went spotless from the field and Josiah Turner looked a bit youthful in the Red team's 67-54 victory at McKale.
The tidbits from there weekend are after the jump. Or, you can check out the Red-Blue scrimmage yourself, here.
- Nick Johnson got the afternoon off with two acrobatic dunks to take the Red-Blue dunk title away from last year's winner, Brendon Lavender. Johnson, as advertised, also showed he could be the freshman to earn the most playing time -- he scored 17 and fellow frosh Sidiki Johnson scored 18.
- Jesse Perry led both teams with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. More interestingly, Perry displayed a smoother handle that lends to his potential at playing the small forward position this year. He's also extended his range and shot 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. His development becomes more important as Perry will likely see more time on the court at the 3 position with Parrom being out.
- Speaking of, head coach Sean Miller told the media that it's less likely that Parrom will redshirt this year. The forward took in warm-ups with his teammates during the scrimmage, the first signs to us that his injuries after being shot in the right leg won't be career-threatening.
- Only Swiss-Army Knife Solomon Hill, who led both teams with six rebounds and six assists, and senior leader Kyle Fogg, who had 15 points, five assists and three steals, are solidified into Miller's starting line-up, as of now.
- The most-heralded recruit of the 2011 class, Josiah Turner, was listed among 12 players to win the Wayman Tisdale award for the NCAA's best freshman player. Turner had a quiet evening, and as I've been for a while now, I remain skeptical of how much of an impact Turner will have from the get-go. Here's a good read from Bruce Pascoe about how Turner has already been given some NBA hype via the 2K12 video game. Miller even told the media afterward that expectations are perhaps too high for Turner. In my mind, sophomore Jordin Mayes (who blew by Turner in the scrimmage at least once) could be named the starter, simply because of his head-smarts, cool nature, and yeah ... defense.