Sean Miller

Arizona incoming freshman Elliott Pitts encouraged to add weight

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Many enter their college lives hearing about the dreaded “Freshman 15” — the weight that college freshman sometimes add due to the freedom to eat and drink whatever they please once they leave home.

Most dread gaining the potential weight associated with the “Freshman 15” but for Arizona freshman shooting guard Elliot Pitts, adding that weight will become a necessity.

According to a story from the Arizona Daily Star, Pitts arrived on the Tuscon campus three weeks ago standing at 6-foot-5 but weighing only 170 pounds. In the physical landscape of major college basketball, a 170-pound two-guard simply isn’t going to cut it and when Pitts turned 18 last week, he was probably encouraged to take a few extra pieces of birthday cake.

Thankfully, after three weeks on campus, Pitts seems to be turning a bit of a corner and Arizona head coach Sean Miller is excited about his future.

“That’s very light,” UA coach Sean Miller said.

So, with Pitts on campus for just three weeks so far, the Wildcats have him up to about 175 already and the freshman shooting guard is expected to put on even more in the weeks to come.

“He checked into college as a 17-year-old,” Miller said Thursday. “With that, you know there’s a lot of upside. … His growth through the next three or four months will be fun to watch.”
Pitts is being joined on campus for the first summer session by fellow newcomer and Kansas transfer Zach Peters. McDonald’s All-American Aaron Gordon and another freshman forward — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — are both participating on the USA U19 Trials — with Gordon making the team — and are expected to join the Wildcats during the second summer session in July.

Pitts could be counted on for bench minutes at the guard spot if he continues his development — especially early in the season during nonconference play before the conference play of the Pac 12 becomes more physically demanding.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.