How will Sean Miller solve Arizona’s scholarship issue?

0 Comments

Even without Derrick Williams in uniform next season, Arizona’s loaded with talent. Too much, in fact.

The Wildcats currently have 13 players on scholarship for next season, according to the Arizona Daily Star. That’s more than they’re allowed because of NCAA sanctions.

And that was after guard Daniel Bejarano announced a transfer on Monday.

“[Coach Sean Miller] had so much talent this year that ‘D.B.’ just got behind and couldn’t catch up,” Joseph Bustos, Bejarano’s coach at Phoenix North High School, told the paper. “The U of A had an excellent season, so you can’t argue with what he did. … I think they have so much talent there, he probably got lost in the shuffle.”

Arizona does have options, however.

Alex Jacobson is set to graduate and could play immediately elsewhere (Justin Knox did the same thing last season, graduating from Alabama and transferring to North Carolina). Or Kyryl Natyazhko could play professionally overseas. Or another player could transfer. Those are more likely than any of the promising freshmen recruits such as Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson or Angelo Chol taking a redshirt year.

It’s a common issue for teams in the spring, who plan for players’ departures or for other eventualities such as freshmen not qualifying for school. Teams load up so they’re not hurting when the season starts.

The problem, as Graham Watson at The Dagger writes, is to avoid look as though you’re running off players and instead giving them options for more playing time elsewhere. (Semantics, I know.) New Mexico dealt with bad publicity last season when it was over its scholarship limit and Wildcats coach Sean Miller wants to avoid the same thing.

If he can sell his upperclassmen on new options as well as he sells incoming freshmen on his program, Miller shouldn’t have a problem.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.