There has been a lot of change at Arizona over the past few months, with several players and even a coach leaving the program. Replacing assistant James Whitford, who became head coach at Ball State, was easy: Wildcat legend Damon Stoudamire came back home to round out the staff.
But the personnel situation on the court is still troubling. Counting walk-ons, Arizona has lost seven players from last season’s roster, including Grant Jerrett, who went pro, and once-heralded Angelo Chol, who took his talents to San Diego State in search of more playing time.
There’s been a little in-flux as well, with Zach Peters transferring in from Kansas, and top freshman Aaron Gordon ready to step up. But head coach Sean Miller still has plenty of spots left to fill before he reaches his scholarship allotment of 13 players. Some coaches might be sweating that number. Not Miller, according to the Arizona Star.
“Just because you have the number 13, I don’t know if that’s as important as it once was,” Miller said. “To me it’s more intelligent that anyone you add to your program has to be a contributor and there has to be a reason you do it. You don’t want to just fill in the scholarship void to add depth. That’s not going to work because that person you’re talking about will end up leaving for sure.”
Miller ought to know. He lost Chol to playing time issues, and gained Peters for much the same reason. He may be wiser to bank a scholarship to use a season from now rather than fill a roster spot with someone who will end up being disgruntled.
And yet, injuries happen, and embracing a short bench can backfire. It’s a safe bet that Miller has a few more moves he’ll make this offseason. The addition of a well-known former player like Stoudamire on the recruiting trail should help draw in some talent.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.