April 20, 2010
SEASON DATA: On a team in which underclassmen accounted for 70 percent of the minutes played, Arizona (16-14, 10-8 Pac-10) won 16 games for coach Sean Miller in his inaugural season in Tucson ... The Wildcats managed to post a winning record for the 26th consecutive season ... Arizona's 10 conference wins and fourth-place finish in the Pac-10 standings were its best efforts in three seasons ... UA has now finished in the top half of the Pac-10 Conference standings in 25 of the last 26 seasons ... The Cats did see its streak of 25 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances come to an end in 2009-10 ... Arizona's 34.3 rebounds per game average was the highest for the program in three seasons ... Senior guard Nic Wise and freshman forward Derrick Williams earned first-team all-Pac-10 honors and Williams was named the league's Freshman of the Year, the sixth Wildcat to earn the honor ... Additionally, Williams was a Sporting News freshman All-American.
THE RANKINGS: For the first time since the 1985-86 season - a span of 25 years - Arizona went an entire season without appearing in the national rankings in at least one polling period. Regardless, the Cats have managed to appear in 83.4 percent of the Associated Press polls released since the start of the 1987-88 campaign.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . completed his first season at the University of Arizona and his sixth overall as a college head coach with a record of 136-62 (.687) and 16-15 (.516) at Arizona ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of their conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 16 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater's all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 41, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford.
ARIZONA IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS: As a team, Arizona ranked in the top 100 nationally in three statistical categories: free throw percentage (.733/36th), three-point field goal percentage defense (.314/50th) and three-point field goal percentage (.358/91st). Individually, two UA players ranked in the top 100 of two categories: Derrick Williams, field goal percentage (.574/12th) and Nic Wise, free throw percentage (.878/18th). Incidentally, UA's .314 (180-of-574) three-point FG percentage defense was the lowest for the program since the 2000-01 national runners-up posted a .305 figure and was the third lowest in program history since the advent of the three-point shot in 1986-87. Furthermore, UA's 180 treys allowed was the lowest opponent total since 1992-93.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Derrick Williams was named the Pac-10 Conference's Freshman of the Year, March 8, in voting done by the league's head coaches. The 6-foot-8 La Mirada, Calif., forward averaged team-leading totals of 15.7 points and 7.1 boards per game to go with a .574 (162-of-282) field goal percentage. He is the sixth Cat to win the award, joining Sean Elliott (1985-86), Mike Bibby (1996-97), Michael Wright (1998-99), Salim Stoudamire (2001-02) and Chase Budinger (2006-07).
FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICAN: Derrick Williams was one of five players named to the Sporting News all-Freshman team. Williams was also tabbed a freshman All-American by collegeinsider.com, marking the fourth time in the last five seasons that Arizona has had a player named to the website's freshman All-America squad.
ALL-DISTRICT: Two Arizona players earned all-district honors from the National Association, as Nic Wise was a first-team all-District 20 selection, while Derrick Williams was a second-team pick. Wise and Williams are the 88th and 89th Arizona players to earn all-district honors from the NABC since 1952.
ALL-CONFERENCE: Two University of Arizona men's basketball players received all-Pac-10 honors on March 8, as Derrick Williams and Nic Wise both received first-team recognition in voting done by the league's head coaches. Williams is just the 16th freshman to earn first-team all-conference kudos since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79. He was the lone freshman on this year's all-conference team.
RARE AIR: Derrick Williams' 14 points and eight rebounds in the Pac-10 Tournament capped a year in which he placed his name among elite players in Arizona history. The 6-foot-8 forward ended 2009-10 as UA's leader in scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (7.1 rpg) and field goal percentage (.574). He is just the sixth player - and first freshman - to lead the Cats in all three categories in the same year in the era of freshman eligibility (since 1972-73). Other Wildcats to accomplish the feat: Ben Davis (1995-96), Chris Mills (1992-93), Pete Williams (1983-84), Frank Smith (1982-83) and Larry Demic (1978-79). Relating to this year's performers, Williams was one of three Pac-10 players - Stanford's Landry Fields and Washington's Quincy Pondexter were the others - to rank in the top 10 in the league in scoring, rebounding and FG percentage.
A PRESENCE AT THE LINE: Arizona's two top scorers - Derrick Williams and Nic Wise - certainly made their presence felt at the free throw line, as the duo combined to take 388 free throw attempts. Over the course of the 2009-10 season, Williams and Wise posted these notable accomplishments from the charity stripe: Williams set a new UA single-game record with 21 FT attempts vs. Wisconsin on Nov. 23; Williams' 158 makes and 232 attempts rank seventh and tied for fourth, respectively, on the UA single-season lists; Wise's 87.8 percentage (137-of-156) ranks sixth on the single-season chart, while his 83.9 career percentage (329-of-392) ties him for fifth place in UA annals. Additionally, Williams averaged 7.48 free throw attempts per game, a figure that was the third-highest single-season average in school history.
A FINE DEBUT: By finishing with 28 games in double figures, including his last nine consecutively, Derrick Williams ended the 2009-10 campaign with 486 points, which makes him the No. 6 freshman scorer in Arizona history. Here is the top 10: 1.) Jerryd Bayless (2007-08), 592; 2.) Coniel Norman (1972-73), 576; 3.) Gilbert Arenas (1999-2000), 523; 4.) Sean Elliott (1985-86), 499; 5.) Eric Money (1972-73), 492; 6.) Derrick Williams (2009-10), 486; 7.) Chase Budinger (2006-07), 484; 8.) Mike Bibby (1996-97), 458; 9.) Salim Stoudamire (2001-02), 434; and 10.) Marcus Williams (2005-06). Furthermore, Williams joined Bayless, Elliott and Norman from the list above as the only freshmen to lead the team in scoring in the era of freshman eligibility.
CLUTCH: Nic Wise closed his final McKale Center appearance in style by collecting yet another game-winning bucket. The 5-foot-10 senior guard from Houston, Texas, had three big shots to his credit this season, as he also sank buzzer beaters against Lipscomb (Dec. 21) and North Carolina State (Dec. 23). His three game-winners were the most for a Wildcat in a single season since Salim Stoudamire's three in 2004-05.
HE RANKS RIGHT UP THERE: Nic Wise capped his 115-game collegiate career by etching his name in the Arizona record book. The point guard is ranked among the top 10 in the following career statistical categories: scoring (1,285 points/25th), three-point field goals (160/10th), three-point field goal attempts (405/10th), three-point field goal percentage (.395/8th), free throw percentage (839/T4th) and steals (167/9th).
BALANCED ATTACK: Coach Sean Miller said early on that he wanted steady contributions form each of his players, and when looking at the statistics, that is what he got. Six players averaged better than 6.5 points per game with three of those players (Williams, Wise and Fogg) finishing the season in double figures. The fact that five players scored more than 200 points continues a streak that has seen every Arizona team since 1989-90 post at least five 200-point scorers.
YOUNG AND PRODUCTIVE: In addition to being guided by the program's fourth head coach in four seasons, Arizona weathered the 2009-10 campaign with 12 underclassmen as part of its 14-man roster. All of that youth was remarkably productive, as 67.2 percent of the scoring (1,499 of 2,229 pts.), 74.6 percent of the rebounds (792 of 1062 reb.) and 70.1 percent of the minutes played (4,453 of 6,350 min.) were logged by underclassmen. That bodes well for 2010-11, as the Cats are scheduled to return no less than 79.6 percent of the productivity in each of those categories.
A SOLID START: Sean Miller is the sixth appointed University of Arizona men's basketball coach since 1925-26, joining Fred A. Enke, Bruce Larson, Fred Snowden, Ben Lindsey and Lute Olson. Miller's 16-15 record gave the current UA mentor just the second winning record in a debut season in Tucson, joining Snowden, and his 16 wins equal the most ever for a UA rookie head coach (Snowden was 16-10 in 1972-73). As a group, the five previous Wildcat appointees amassed 1,405 wins, 24 conference championships and 30 postseason appearances.
STATS DON'T LIE: While a 16-15 record may not indicate as much, the statistics certainly show that Arizona was a vastly improved club at the end of the 2009-10 season. In nearly every statistical category, the Wildcats made improvements during conference play when compared against its non-conference numbers, including sizeable boosts in three-point FGs allowed, rebound margin and scoring margin.
FG% Opp FG 3/g-Opp Reb Mar A/G TO/G S/G PPG Opp Mar Non-Conf. .444 .437 6.2-6.5 34.4 -2.4 12.7 14.5 5.8 72.3 74.4 -2.1 Pac-10 .445 .433 6.4-5.3 34.3 +1.5 12.4 13.9 6.2 71.8 70.3 +1.5
ON THE RISE: A late signee back in the spring of 2008, sophomore guard Kyle Fogg continues to work himself into a productive performer. The 6-foot-3 native of Brea, Calif., nearly doubled his scoring from a year ago and displayed marked improvements in practically every category. Fogg, who ranked third on the club with 18 games in double figures, was Arizona's second leading scorer in Pac-10 play (13.4 ppg) and his .415 three-point field goal percentage ranked fifth in the league.
Year GP-GS Min/G FG-A Pct. 3FG-A Pct. FT-A Pct. Reb. A Stl Pts.-Avg. 2008-09 35-27 24.1 63-140 .450 23-60 .383 66-84 .786 2.5 59 30 215-6.1 2009-10 31-24 28.8 107-258 .415 48-115 .417 83-110 .755 3.1 68 27 345-11.1
FINISHING STRONG: Lamont Jones proved to be one of the most productive Cats down the stretch, averaging 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists, while shooting .481 (37-of-77) from the field in the last 10 games. Perhaps more impressively, his assist:turnover ratio is 2:1 (22:11) in that span. Five of his nine games in double figures came in the last 10 games. On the season, Jones averaged 6.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 30 appearances.
STEADY: Arizona won three of its last four games to close the season with a 16-15 record, and posted the following records by month: 3-2 in November, 3-5 in December, 6-2 in January, 2-5 in February and 2-1 in March. When looking for signs of progress, it is worth noting that the Cats held a share of first place in the Pac-10 standings at the midpoint of the league schedule.
RANDOM NOTES: Arizona was 15-5 this season when scoring 70 or more points, including a spotless 6-0 mark when topping the 80-point plateau. Of Arizona's 31 games, 12 (39 percent) were decided by five points or less (seven by 3 or less) and the Wildcats had a 7-5 record in those games. UA was 3-1 in overtime contests this season, and the four extra-frame games were the most for the program in four years.
EARLY SIGNEES: The Arizona coaching staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letter-of-Intent to date. Daniel Bejarano (G, 6-5, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., North High School signed in November, while Jordin Mayes (G, 6-2, 170) from Los Angeles, Calif., Westchester High School and Jesse Perry (F, 6-7, 210) from St. Louis, Mo., John A. Logan Community College inked in April.