clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona basketball roundtable: Remembering T.J. McConnell and Stanley Johnson

We look back at the two guys who are definitely not coming back this year.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With the loss to Wisconsin, T.J. McConnell's college career came to an emotional end. It was also 99% likely that it was the end of the Stanley Johnson one-and-done era in Tucson as well.

We share our thoughts on how those two players will be remembered:

How will you remember T.J. McConnell?

Gabe Encinas: The heart and soul of the team. One of the most passionate players to ever wear an Arizona jersey. Led Arizona through 69 wins and a perfect record at home. A guy who will always be welcomed back in Tucson and followed among the Wildcat faithful wherever his future takes him.

Zach Tennen: I will remember T.J. McConnell as one of the greatest leaders I have witnessed, not just in the Arizona program, but also the game of basketball in general. McConnell did not lose a single game in front of his fans at McKale Center. Those fans formed a fan club soon enough and Wildcat nation referred to McConnell as its MVP. I will have nothing but positive thoughts about the long-lasting impact McConnell had on this program.

David Potts: As the first true point guard of the Sean Miller era. Momo Jones and Mark Lyons both helped us win a lot of games and get relatively deep into the tournament, but T.J. will hopefully be the first point guard in Miller's mold -- a pass-first defense-minded bulldog.

Ben Leech: McConnell is going to go down as a winner and as another member of Point Guard U. In his two years he did not lose a home game! He also played POINT guard, rare in college basketball today. He will also be remembered as a tremendous leader. He was a quiet leader during his junior season but this year he was the unquestioned leader along with being the most important player for Arizona this season.

How will you remember Stanley Johnson?

GE: A very talented, but frustrating force in the Pac-12. Sometimes you wonder what goes on in Stanley's head, but at the end of the day he couldn't be stopped. I do think Arizona fans have more of an appreciation for Aaron Gordon than Stanley Johnson, just because it seemed like at times Johnson tried to do too much, whereas Gordon was willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team.

ZT: Stanley Johnson is a supremely talented five-star recruit who everyone anticipates on being a one-and-done. Clearly, Johnson is leaving after his Freshman year just as Aaron Gordon and several other players have done. That being said, Johnson was highly appreciated as the team's leading scorer and a solid defensive player for the most part. I believe people may come to appreciate him even more once he carves out an impressive NBA career. While he has plenty of room to mature and improve as a player, his potential is awfully high.

DP: As under-appreciated. I don't think we properly appreciated Stanley during his time here. Despite his remarkable productivity, T.J. McConnell always got top billing. He also had to deal with playing in the shadow of Aaron Gordon, an incredibly team-first player who will probably be remembered more favorably than Stanley despite the fact that Stanley arguably put up better numbers. Arizona fans recognized Stanley was great, but I don't think we acknowledged just how great he was.

BL: As a freak athlete with a freak body and lots of unfulfilled potential. Stanley came in with tons of hype (too much) and it took him a while to "buy in", especially on defense. He is gifted athletically in many ways but he was also inconsistent. The problem with Stanley for me is that I don't remember one defining moment with him while at Arizona this year. Ultimately, Stanley had a great one year at Arizona, but I think we will look at him ten years from now as a better NBA player than a player at Arizona.