Two 12-minute halves gave way to the Red team's 53-46 win against the Blue team in Arizona's season tipoff scrimmage, but it's what happened more than the result that we'll talk about. But that comes with a warning: Remember, Sidiki Johnson once upon a time put together a stellar Red-Blue scrimmage.
Matchup of the day
Sean Miller said Kaleb Tarczewski may have become the Wildcats' best player this offseason. He and T.J. McConnell might be the two most important, though Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have the "best" labels to figure out as potential NBA lottery picks in 2015. RHJ and Johnson led their teams with 13 and 17 points respectively, and both showed off strength, passing ability and defense.
Yet, it was Tarczewski and freshman big man Dusan Ristic who had the best one-on-one matchup. Zeus scored 11 points to go with nine rebounds, and it was what appeared to be an improved mobility and explosiveness that had a lot to do with the high rebounding rate. Zeus was even taking turnaround jumpers that looked smooth enough to go in -- call him Dirk Nowitzki.
Ristic looks a little longer than Tarczewski, and a little slower, but he has a very comfortable post game and hook shot that doesn't require him to jump much. Ristic score 14 points, had two steals and a block, though he only grabbed two rebounds.
Another surprise of the day
Craig Victor didn't look like the project he might have been expected to be. He showed range on his jump shot, enough fluidity to imagine him playing small forward if need be and enough strength to once shoulder into Ristic and finish through contact.
Jackson-Cartwright looks like a water bug
Parker Jackson-Cartwright may have shown some freshman jitters that Miller alluded to in his postgame presser. Still, his long arms and ability to speed up the game showed the change-of-pace potential that could be a useful tool for Miller. The generously-listed 5'10 point guard used some impressive start-stop probing motions a la Pierre Jackson, the former Baylor point guard.
It's only a scrimmage but ...
The shooting is still a question mark. Between Brandon Ashley, Victor's range, Tarczewski's ability to step out and the overall shooting from the wings and guards, it's unlikely this will be as poor of a free throwing shooting as last year (they went 17-of-21 combined, or 81 percent in the scrimmage). Teams likely won't be able to sink in as much as last year -- it won't be even close.
Still, the three-point shooting is a potential weakness. Arizona combined to go 4-of-16, or 25 percent, from beyond the three-point arc, though one of those makes came from a confident looking Hollis-Jefferson. Gabe York also went 0-for-4, and that's not going to be a trend.
Though it didn't show in the Red-Blue game, one would assume this team is quite capable from deep.