TJ McConnell could be the missing piece for Arizona


Arizona officially got a commitment from Duquesne transfer TJ McConnell this afternoon, and while the news probably was noted by more than a couple of tweets if your twitter feed, don’t let the fact that the news didn’t make headlines fool you: this is a huge addition.

Perhaps the biggest knock on Arizona last season was their lack of a point guard. The same can be said about the team next season. Josiah Turner was supposed to be the answer, but Turner has proven to be more adept at picking up suspensions than he has been at running a basketball team. Turner’s just a rising sophomore, but there has been plenty of speculation that he won’t be spending four years in Tucson.

Enter McConnell.

Sean Miller has proven that he can recruit talent. All you need to do is look at the stars next to the names of the players in his last two recruiting classes. The problem? Five of those recruits are big men. Two are shooting guards. The other is Turner.

In simpler terms, Arizona needs a point guard to bring all those pieces together, and McConnell is the answer.

He’s a terror defensively, a terrific creator and one of the nation’s most underrated floor generals. As much as I try to avoid using such cliches as “he’s a coach on the floor”, the term seems like it was made specifically for McConnell. His family is a basketball institution in Pittsburgh; he played for his father in high school and a number of his aunts are coaches at the collegiate level, including one who is the head women’s coach at Duquesne.

To get an idea of the kind of player McConnell is, think about this: he was offered a scholarship by former Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart as a high school freshman. A 5-foot-5 high school freshman. Atlantic 10 coaches aren’t going to be offering scholarships to 5-foot-5 high school freshman unless they see something special out of that player.

The only downside for Arizona fans?

They have to wait a year before he gets eligible.