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Arizona unlikely to add to 2018-19 roster

The Wildcats might use their last scholarship, but it would likely go to a player that wouldn’t be eligible next season

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Buffalo vs Arizona Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats have one scholarship left at their disposal this offseason, but head coach Sean Miller isn’t sure if they are going to use it.

“We could fill it, we might not,” he said Thursday at a press conference.

If Arizona does use it, Miller said, it would likely go to a player that wouldn’t eligible to play in 2018-19. In other words, the Wildcats would be adding a transfer, not a high school recruit.

“There’s a couple players that we have our eye on that ... they’ve already mentioned that they’re going to transfer and it’s just a matter of whether that will be here or not,” he said. “But I don’t think that we have anybody that we’re recruiting that would be eligible this year in the first semester.”

So with Arizona’s roster all but set for next season, here’s a look at its projected depth chart (only including scholarship players). The order is arbitrary at this point.

PG: Justin Coleman/Alex Barcello

SG: Brandon Williams/Brandon Randolph/Devonaire Doutrive

SF: Emmanuel Akot/Dylan Smith/Omar Thielemans

PF: Ryan Luther/Ira Lee/Jake DesJardins

C: Chase Jeter

Miller admitted the Wildcats’ frontcourt is not as deep as usual, but expressed optimism that they will have enough talent, since they plan to deploy smaller lineups and can use Emmanuel Akot some at the 4.

“I look at Emmanuel, who is kind of that new wave wing player like Solomon Hill and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson,” Miller said. “... And I think Emmanuel, especially in his second year as he gets bigger and stronger, we will look to move him around and bounce him back and forth.”

Arizona lost six scholarship players from a season ago, including its entire starting five, so Miller said the team will use the summer to build rapport.

“A lot of the recruitments that we had this spring happened quickly, so I think this summer for both the players and [the coaching staff], it’s a chance to become familiar with each other, for them to learn who we are,” he said. “Obviously learning the terminology and the way we do things, learn the university, learn what it feels like to live in Tucson.

“A lot of guys come in here for the first time and by the time we get towards the end of August, it’ll feel like we’ve been together for a long time. And I think that’s No. 1.”

The second goal for the summer is working on player development and strength and conditioning. Miller said coaches are allowed to work with players for four hours a week during the summer this year.

Last year, Miller said, that limit was two hours.

“Maybe seven, eight years ago, you really had zero access other than strength and conditioning, so those are rules that we really embrace,” he said.

“One of the big parts to our success during my time at Arizona is our strength and conditioning program and our medical staff. I mean we’ve had our fair share of injuries. Ray Smith comes to mind and that will always happen.

“But the way we lift weights, the nutritional part, how we go about our business is always with the long term in mind. And you can have those overuse injuries that can be negated if you just have a great trainer, team doctor, strength and conditioning coach.

“Chris Rounds and I, we’ve been together for 14 years. This will be our 15th year together and I don’t know in Division 1 basketball how many strength coaches and head basketball coaches have had a longer tenure than us. So he does an excellent job. And .... with so many newcomers and young players, that will be at the top of our list to make sure that those guys get bigger, stronger and developing in a really good way.”