The Olympics are still weeks away. Football season seems out of reach. But if you want to get excited about something that's not MLB baseball, just know that the Arizona Wildcats are in the midst of perhaps the most critical summer in the history of the program.
"Refinement" is the word of the summer.Why is it the men's basketball team's most important summer?
- The turnover. Sean Miller's team lost Kyle Fogg, Brendon Lavender, Jesse Perry, Josiah Turner and Kyryl Natyazhko from last year's squad. He welcomes freshmen Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York to Tucson, along with transfers TJ McConnell, Matt Korcheck and Mark Lyons.
- It's a time to create chemistry and culture. With such turnover, the building of chemistry and culture is compacted to this summer rather than any seasons of the past. How the Wildcats build a winning culture and develop a comfort in playing with one another is more important now compared to any other past offseason.
- There is change in college basketball. No longer is NCAA basketball a veteran team's game. Look at this past season, when the Kentucky Wildcats own the national title despite it's best players being freshmen or sophomores.
- A defining season is at stake. Sean Miller has one Elite Eight run under his belt at Arizona, but this season represents a culmination of a star recruiting class melted in with solid transfers and two savvy, Miller-bred veterans in Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom. All of that represents potential, but in a cut-throat postseason tournament set-up like March Madness, development in the preseason could turn what might only be a second-round exit to a Final Four run.