For the past two years, T.J. McConnell was the cornerstone to Arizona's success. Now, it'll be up to sophomore Parker Jackson-Cartwright and incoming freshman Justin Simon to take over and run the floor. But at 5-9, PJC can be a bit of a defensive liability, which makes 6-5 Justin Simon an intriguing option to start at point guard.
Simon is ranked as the No. 8 point guard in the country, 32nd regardless of position. He's an ultra-athletic guard that can attack the basket and finish at the rim. Simon has great vision when he's running in transition. Should he earn some valuable minutes, Arizona will have great length from 1-5 all game long. One thing he'll need to improve on is his shot development.
Although Jackson-Cartwright has some range, he needs much more space than usual just to get a shot off. But he is very elusive and can weave his way through the defense towards the paint, giving him the option of finishing himself or kicking it out beyond the arc. His experience as a freshman will carry him throughout the summer while Simon is making the transition, which will give Jackson-Cartwright a clear advantage in the battle for that starting spot.
But don't be surprised to see 6-5 Justin Simon starting the point from day one. Although Simon has been dropping in the rankings as of late, once being ranked as a high as 19th, he is probably the most athletic point guard in the Pac-12. As of now, it would be safe to say Simon is at least a three year guy at Arizona, giving him enough time to learn and develop the offense, should he sit behind Jackson-Cartwright for some time.
Some Justin Simon highlights from last summer are below