I feel like I could write 3,000 words on the state of the Arizona basketball program right now, and I'll keep this short and sweet.
To start off, we have a head coach who was the perfect fit for this program. Sean Miller has done just about everything right in his 18-month tenure at Arizona, and the future looks as bright as it has in years. The team gets after it on every possession on the defensive end of the floor, and we're scoring at relative ease on the other end. After the California game, the Wildcats rank 20th in the NCAA in points-per-game, and we're 11th in field goal percentage, at an astounding .484%. That's really good, and we'll only get better with Coach Miller at the helm.
As for recruiting, after assembling an incredible 5-man class in just two months in 2009, Miller already has a top-10 class signed for 2011, and that's without Angelo Chol, who's a top-75 prospect and Arizona lean. If we add him, we're looking at a top-5 class nationally. And while critics will say his 2010 class is lacking, Jesse Perry has been a great junior college find, and Jordin Mayes has the potential to be a lethal shooter behind the arc. For a coach to have just a few months to establish a relationship with these talented players, it's pretty incredible to see what he's been able to accomplish. There isn't a coach in America who will out-recruit Sean Miller, and the recruits and fans know it.
We have one of the top-5 players in the nation in Derrick Williams, and he never ceases to amaze us on a nightly basis. Anyone who had been watching the Wildcats all year could tell you Williams didn't play to his full capability last night, but he still ended up with 12 points and 18 rebounds. Better yet, he delivered an absolutely huge three point-shot with just over five minutes remaining when the team needed it most. He gets to the free throw line with ease, and he'll only get better as his hand heals. He's the best player to wear an Arizona uniform since Jason Gardner, and he has the chance to be a legend if he stays for his junior and/or senior years.
Finally, let's not forget about how young this team is. They're maturing with every game they play, but they're anything but old. Of the 11 players who see court time, we have one senior, four juniors, five sophomores, and one freshman. The senior, Jamelle Horne, is an inconsistent bench player who won't be missed too much in 2011-2012. We'll likely lose two juniors, Alex Jacobson and Dondre Wise, and they average exactly one minute of PT per game. Assuming Derrick Williams returns (and almost every sign points to that happening), we'll have 8 of our 9 top-scorers returning, and they'll be helped out with a top-10 recruiting class. If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what does.
The future is now for Arizona Basketball.