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June 20, 2014

Ristic headed for success under Miller?



Back on March 8th Dusan Ristic - a 7-footer from orginally from Serbia committed to Arizona. At 240 pounds, Ristic has the typical European style skill set. In fact, Wildcats' head coach Sean Miller had high praise for the young center's low-post ability.

"One of the things that's so exciting about Dusan coming to Arizona is that his skill level starts in the low post, which is unique in today's game," Miller said.

It is safe to assume that Ristic will serve as Kaleb Tarczewski's backup next season, but his potential to excel off the bench has Miller elated.

"It's exciting to add someone of his size and talent level to our program. He's going to add depth and versatility to our front line and I believe that his future is extremely bright."

Last season, Joseph Blair - now a graduate assistant for the Wildcats - aided Tarczewski in becoming more assertive in the post. The same tutelage Tarczewski received will become paramount in Ristic's development. Granted, the Serbian native has a solid traditional post game, but scouts, and even his own coach, Kyle Lindsted, warned of a possible adjustment period due to his lack of aggressiveness.

Push the young center's weaknesses aside. Take a more positive approach and one will see an ultra-talented prospect with an advanced level of skill for his position and age.

In an interview with GOAZCATS.com his coach stated that Ristic can drop some jaws with the type of skill he has. It was not a rare occurrence to see Ristic grab a rebound, push the ball up the court, and even make defenders miss with behind-the-back dribble moves.

This type of versatility fits perfectly into Miller's system. Last season, players like Aaron Gordon and Brandon Ashley filled the forward positions, but it was not uncommon to see them handle the ball and initiate some offense.

His offensive style is something to take notice of.

He has a high IQ for his age, which translates to the four-star recruit making the right team play. Ristic can score with his back to the basket and has solid footwork. He is also able to incorporate a jump-hook from different spots on the floor. Ristic is not known for being a bruiser, but he can finish around the rim with both hands. If the defense is forcing the Serbian 7-footer to step out from the paint, he can make an opposing team pay with his proficient mid-range jumper.

Ristic's lengthy frame calls for him to attack the glass, and he does. Most recently, he averaged 14.1 rebounds per 40 minutes at the Nike International Junior Tournament.

This works for Miller's system, the Wildcats ranked 18th nationally in rebounding with 38.9 per game. Plus, Miller is on record saying that his team must rebound like men if they want to become victorious.

Defensively, Ristic can give a noteworthy effort off the bench. It is true that he lacks athletic ability, but his wingspan and sharp defensive instinct can remedy any athletic shortcomings.

Overall Miller is bringing a deep group into next season. His bench rotation is formidable and has pieces that many feel could start at different programs. The Wildcats pride themselves on being able to do it all on the court. Ristic can play a big role next season, and it is a fortunate situation that he can learn under Tarczewski while gaining the needed experience under Blair to make the most of his playing time.

Miller's intensity can definitely help Ristic find his aggressive side.

Joseph DuruakuJoseph Duruaku
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer

Email Joseph



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