CBS basketball analyst Clark Kellogg joined us to talk Arizona Wildcats basketball, and to explain how Arizona can win the Capital One Cup. Last season, Arizona Athletics finished in the top-25 in the Capital One Cup standings thanks to the men's basketball team finishing in the top-ten in the polls. Any sport that finishes in the top-ten of its poll at the end of the season receives points for the cup, which is awarded after all the spring sports have finished up.
Kellogg, like many others, has Arizona as one of his top teams to watch in the country this year, along with Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Wisconsin, Wichita State, Utah, Oklahoma, VCU, and his alma mater, Ohio State.
He puts these teams up there because of the "nucleus of guys" that each of the schools have, and the amount of returning talent that is there.
At the top of the list of returners for Arizona is T.J. McConnell, who Kellogg said has the chance to be one of the best point guards in the country. "He does all the things you want a point guard to do," Kellogg explained. "He's a terrific on-ball defender, and just has a knack for being around the ball."
Another guy I talked to him about is Brandon Ashley. A healthy Ashley is important, and as Kellogg noted, Arizona "struggled to score easy points" after the Wildcat forward went down with a broken foot last season. Ashley's "versatility" with his ability to play sound defense and be a capable shooter is what makes him stand out to Clark as one of the top options on this year's team. The loss of Ashley put more pressure on the other guys who were left, and had a "cumulative effect", even though Arizona was one point away from the Final Four.
Freshman Stanley Johnson is a guy that Kellogg hasn't seen yet so far, but is excited to see him in the coming weeks as he is with all of the game's freshmen during this "period of discovery" in college basketball.
Some Pac-12 teams that Kellogg will be keeping his eye on during the period of discovery are Utah, Stanford, Oregon, Colorado, and UCLA.
Clark Kellogg had a little interesting tidbit on the first time he met coach Sean Miller. Kellogg was at a high school All-American event in the late 1970's, and Miller was there doing the whole ball-handling show thing.
Kellogg attributes Miller's recruiting success to the fact that he "grew up in the business" and being around his dad when he was a head coach. Also, the way that Arizona teams play would be appealing to most players coming out of high school, and the fact that they're coming to Tucson. And who doesn't love Tucson? Especially with a spiffy new McKale Center.
Kellogg also recently worked in the Indiana Pacers organization, so he spent a lot of time with former Arizona Wildcat Solomon Hill. Kellogg had high praise for the former Arizona star, saying he has "terrific maturity", that he's a "diligent worker", and brings a "tremendous skill set" to the NBA game. Kellogg was not surprised by Solomon's recent success as he gets playing time, stating that he "thought (Hill) was going to seize the moment" when he got that opportunity to see significant minutes.
Thanks again to Clark Kellogg for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure to visit CapitalOneCup.com for more info on the Capital One Cup.