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May 19, 2014

A look at Arizona's possibilities off the bench

Arizona head coach Sean Miller added solid pieces to an already talented roster, and with his upcoming duties as an assistant for the U18 U.S. men's national team, it will be awhile before the 2014-15 roster is together.

A continuous theme about Miller's Wildcats last season was their depth. He was able to incorporate a productive rotation, but the true talent of the team was put on display when forward Brandon Ashley went down with a season-ending foot injury against California.

Looking ahead, Miller will once again have enough depth to contend for a national championship. Arizona may have the capable bodies to run a 10-man rotation.

"We have some really talented, hard working guys coming in next year," Ashley said last month.

"As far as Stanley (Johnson) goes, he had a great high school career and did some amazing things in California. Craig (Victor) has done a lot, and same with Parker (Jackson-Cartwright). I'm looking forward to the team we are going to have next year. Everyone is going to come and work hard, and we plan to accomplish some really great things."

Ashley also added that junior college transfer Kadeem Allen has the potential to add high-octane offense on the perimeter.

Here is a closer look at the players likely to complement a top-notch starting five:

Dusan Ristic, freshman center

The 7-footer's role as a key reserve is something the Wildcats may value this season. Ristic has the size and wingspan to protect the lane when Kaleb Tarczewski needs a rest.

One glaring weakness to Ristic's game is his free throw percentage; he posted a 42 percent clip in the Serbian league last season.

Craig Victor, freshman forward

Craig Victor is another multi-faceted player that thrives in the mid-to-high post. He should contribute solid minutes off the bench for the Wildcats. The young forward is a smart player with nice footwork for a player his age. A hefty offensive requirement will not likely be asked of Victor, but he can make his name known on the defensive end, an area that he excels in.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright, freshman point guard

Look for Jackson-Cartwright to have a small role in his first season. It appears that he will run the point with the second unit when T.J. McConnell is on the bench.

Officially listed at 5-8 and 150 pounds, Jackson-Cartwright may need to pack some weight on his frame.

Elliott Pitts, sophomore shooting guard

Pitts had a limited role in the early stages of last season. After Ashley's injury, Pitts saw an increase in playing time. It is uncertain how small or large his role will be in 2014-15, but Pitts is the type of player to stay ready. His floor-spacing abilities and 3-point shooting will give the Wildcats more to work with.

One of the next three will likely be in the starting lineup. But who will it be?

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, sophomore forward

Hollis-Jefferson proved to be able to fit any role last season. He started six games, and heading into next year it appears that he is the most viable option to replace Pac-12 freshman of the year Aaron Gordon.

Defensively, Hollis-Jefferson can defend three positions. His frame allows him to stymie most offensive threats. If Miller gives Hollis-Jefferson the start, he will be sacrificing some perimeter offense.

Kadeem Allen, JUCO transfer junior guard

Allen is a decorated junior college player, but the biggest question mark is how his game transfer over to Division I basketball.

The junior guard averaged 25.9 points per game last season with a shooting percentage of 45.7 percent. His high-octane scoring will, without a doubt, make the Wildcats a threat. It is a wait-and-see circumstance with Allen.

Gabe York, junior guard

York is Miller's most efficient shooter from long range. York posted a 38.5 percent shooting clip from 3 last season, and provided stasis to a team trying to find a new identity after Ashley's season ended.

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Joseph DuruakuJoseph Duruaku
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer

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