With the transfers of Momo Jones and Daniel Bejarano from the Arizona Wildcats basketball team, the scholarship allowance is now even to the NCAA standards, or at least, even for what NCAA sanctions will allow for the school.
And providing the depth that the Wildcats still have, it goes to show that the sanctions were really just a slap on the wrist while also alluding to the fact that Sean Miller can still rebuild under the burden of the sanctions.
Jones announced his move closer to home Monday, wanting to be closer to an ill family member. So at 12 scholarships, what's that leave the basketball team's depth chart looking like? Here's a guess.Point Guard
Starter: Josiah Turner
Bench: Jordin Mayes
Why? This is easier said than done. Turner has a knack for finding open teammates with style and being able to get to the rim at finish with his 6-foot-3 frame. But it's the other end of the floor that makes Mayes a darkhorse to start after Jones' departure. Mayes showed uncanny poise for a freshman and a deadly jump shot that nobody in the Pac-12 possesses. Plus, his decision making is that of a seasoned veteran.
Starter: Kyle Fogg
Bench: Nick Johnson, Brendon Lavender
Why? Fogg was often the brunt of Miller's criticism during their first season together. But instead of fold, Fogg came back with added strength to become one of the better defensive players in the league and arguably the country -- see what he did to Duke's Nolan Smith in the Sweet 16 for argument's sake.
Johnson could end up playing major minutes off the bench, and he's already a sound defender, freak athlete and solid jump shooter. Many people have already drawn comparisons to Johnson playing the Hassan Adams role of Adams' own freshman year. And with Lavender, look for Miller to slide some of these guys to the 3 to speed up games and apply tons of ball pressure to opponents.
Starter: Solomon Hill
Bench: Kevin Parrom, (Brendon Lavender)
Why? This is more of a guess than anything. Hill and Parrom will be two of the looked-at players to replace the scoring output of Derrick Williams. While they're both small forwards, Miller might end up starting them both if none of the freshman power forwards develop into capable starters. Where the team lacks depth (not bodies) in the frontcourt, the backcourt and wings will make up for it.
Starter: Jesse Perry
Bench: Sidiki Johnson, Angelo Chol
Why? With another year to pack on the pounds, JC transfer Jesse Perry could make a huge leap in his contributions for the Wildcats. And if none of the youngsters develop, he might also be forced into duties at the center position.
Meanwhile, Sidiki Johnson is the most physically ready of the incoming bigs. Miller calls his game old-school and his aggressiveness will likely earn him a lot of playing time, if not the starting PF position. Chol will be a nice compliment off the bench with his shot blocking ability and jump-shooting range.
Starter: Kyryl Natyazhko
Bench: Alex Jacobson
Why? If you don't remember it, Natyazhko started at center the first game Miller coached at Arizona. Who'd he beat out for the position? None other than Top 5 NBA Draft prospect Derrick Williams. Sure, he hasn't put up very good numbers, but as last season wore on, Natyazhko became, if anything, a defensive stopper. I mean, Texas' Tristan Thompson twice ran into a planted Natyazhko and twice the force sent him falling down.
Jacobson, if he can stay healthy, proved valuable in a similar way in spot minutes last season and could provide another solid body to clog the lane.