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UA Basketball Preview: Wildcats look to defy expectations

Posted: 5:49 PM, Nov 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-03 01:37:54Z

There's no Wildcat on a preseason award watch list. Arizona isn't ranked in the top 25. And the McKale Center nets aren't expected to be cut down in March. This year's Arizona Basketball team has a different set of expectations.

"It's up to us to be better than people on the outside predict us to be." said head coach Sean Miller.

"There's going to be ranking and outside noise," said senior Ryan Luther. "When it comes down to it, we just have to work as hard as we can every day."

Luther is one of two graduate transfers on this years team, along with Justin Coleman, who will start at point guard. Another transfer, Chase Jeter, is eligible after beginning his career at Duke.

"I've never been more confident in my abilities than I am right now," said Jeter 'I'm excited to finally get on the court and show my stuff."

The Wildcats are having to replace all five starters from last season, including number one overall draft pick Deandre Ayton. Sean Miller's early recruiting efforts were hampered by the ongoing college corruption scandal. This year's team will need big improvement from the returning players, such as junior Dylan Smith.

"Obviously, there's more opportunity with all the guys leaving. My role is going to increase."
The Wildcats will have highly touted freshman Brandon Williams, who recommitted to the Wildcats after earlier decommitting.

"I just had to look myself in the mirror and determine where I was going to be happy the most, and the environment where I could be pushed every day," said Williams. "I feel like coach Miller did a good job with that. Guys here have good tradition. I wanted to follow that."

The Wildcats open the season unranked, with their first game on Wednesday, November 7th against Houston Baptist.