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Arizona athletics: 2013 stories of note and 2014 stories to watch

Here are the big storylines from 2013 that create those for 2014.

Jeff Gross

To bring yourself in to 2014, we take a look at our favorite stories of the last year, most of which involved the biggest storylines for the Arizona Wildcats. Here's a look at those and what's to come of 2014.

The biggest stories of 2013

The weirdest storyline: Sean Miller's "He touched the ball!" rant

After losing to the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 Tournament, Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller went off in his postgame media session for being called for a technical foul. Miller claimed that all he said to the officials was, "He touched the ball." The video clip went viral, and it later become more than an angry rant. The episode led to an investigation of Pac-12 coordinator of officials, Ed Rush, who was later on his way out.

What's it mean for 2014: Maybe the officiating will be a little better this coming season with a new coordinator of officials.

The craziest play: The tip

Shaq Richardson tipped a failed catch to Scooby Wright while flying out of bounds in Arizona's biggest football victory of 2013 against Oregon. The amazing play set up the Wildcats' domination of the then-No. 5 team. 823582271

What's it mean for 2014: Arizona has two eight-win seasons and two bowl wins in a row, but Rich Rodriguez's recruiting abilities will fully become clear next year. With Carey likely off to the NFL and B.J. Denker having exhausted his eligibility, there are questions about how well Arizona can do.

The most questionable play: Sabatino Chen's three-pointer that was 'too late'

Early in Pac-12 play, the Arizona basketball team seemingly had lost to the Colorado Buffaloes. With the game tied, surprise hero Sabatino Chen seemingly hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to steal a CU win in McKale Center. But after official reviews, it was determined Chen's shot wasn't out of his hand. The Wildcats went into overtime and won the Jan. 3 game.


What does it mean for 2014: Maybe the officiating in 2014 will be better ...

The most painful play: LaQuinton Ross' big shot

In the Sweet 16, the Wildcats pushed back late to tie the game but fell as LaQuinton Ross of Ohio State hit a shot, giving the Wildcats little time to respond.

What's it mean for 2014: Arizona was a talented team last season with Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill leading the way, but could they be better with a younger team in 2014? Point guard T.J. McConnell has changed the point guard position completely, the big men are developing -- how deep can the Wildcats go in the NCAA tournament?

And when that's all said and done, will Miller continue to roll even if Aaron Gordon leaves for the NBA? Craig Victor, Stanley Johnson, Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright are on deck.

The player of the year: Ka'Deem Carey

Who else? He only rewrote just about every running back record and after the AdvoCare Bowl set a school record for all-purpose yards.

What does it mean for 2014: Soon, we'll know whether Ka'Deem is done building his already-impressive legacy. He could leave for the NFL, opening a lot of questions at running back. If not, he immediately starts off 2014 as a Heisman candidate -- and maybe he'll actually get some attention for it.

The feel-good story of the year: Solomon Hill's journey

Solomon Hill was never the superstar that the basketball program is used to, but that wasn't him. His work ethic and commitment through four years at Arizona helped him get drafted in the first round by the Indiana Pacers.

What does it mean for 2014: Hill's role has been filled by Aaron Gordon, who has been steady and failed to put too much on himself. Is there more? Gordon has the talent to get better as his freshman campaign moves along. If the Wildcats go deep into the postseason, the stage is set for him to make himself a historic figure in the busy chronicles of Arizona basketball.

The biggest addition: The Lowell-Stevens football facility

What does it mean for 2014: Arizona invested in its football program, and it has already had an impact in RichRod's recruiting. Quarterback Connor Brewer transferred from Texas. So did receiver Cayleb Jones. They and DaVonte' Neal, who left Notre Dame for Arizona, can make a mark immediately next season, and their decisions are a result of the program showing signs it might begin to become a consistent winner.