The Arizona Wildcats basketball team held its media day Wednesday, a chance to learn more about the team’s four talented freshmen and to catch up with old favorites, like senior guard Kyle Fogg.
Fogg, who arrived as mostly a recruiting afterthought in the spring of 2008 after Lute Olson had returned briefly as head coach, has been a stalwart. He has played in 104 games, starting 85, averaging 8.4 points.
Fogg made headlines this summer when he took 39,132 jump shots, making 67.5 percent, as charted by team managers.
“He’s as prepared as any senior I’ve ever seen to have a good year,” said coach Sean Miller.
Said freshman guard Nick Johnson, “Trust me, my first few weeks, I got up a lot of shots. I was on pace with him, but I don’t know how he did it.”
Fogg will be one of the team leaders this season and has especially been a role model to Johnson.
“He just said follow me and I’ll take you there,” Johnson said.
Here is a sampling of five questions and answers from Fogg at media day:
What are your impressions of the new guards coming in — Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson?
“We definitely have had some great players in the past and I don’t see a drop-off at all. They’re going to come in and make an impact immediately. (Sophomore) Jordin Mayes is back from his foot injury, and he’s doing great as well. There are going to be a lot of guards and a lot of competition, but that is going to make our team great. …
“What is cool about (the players in this recruiting class) is they don’t have big egos as you would expect from guys who were five-star, four-star recruits. They’re really down to earth. They’re all hungry. They all want to work hard. It’s kind of easy to talk to a guy if he wants to listen, wants to learn.”
Nick says you have become a big brother to him. In what way have you developed that?
“When I came in, I kind of had Chase Budinger take me under his wing, even though we didn’t play the same position. It was great having him supporting me and showing me the ropes. It feels great to be able to do that with another young guy. Nick is just a great kid. He’s 18 and just has tremendous potential. I’m just going to try to give him all the tips, everything I’ve learned, to help him be the best player he can be. He is really going to help our team this year.”
Coach Miller talks about Nick’s defense. What do you see from his defense at such a young age?
“It starts with his athleticism and strength. He can guard any kind of player, just because he’s around 200 pounds and really strong. He’s really light on his feet. From out of the gate, he’s going to be a great defender. As soon as he learns his concepts, he’s going to be even better. … We have a lot of fun playing against each other in practice. He really pushes me.”
When you came here, nobody knew if you could play at Arizona. You’re a senior leader now. How have you changed in your four years?
“I’m still trying to prove the people wrong who doubted me, and they are still out there saying the same stuff. So, I will try to do that once again. What really has gotten me this far is my work ethic, staying in the gym, working harder, listening to the coaches.”
Are you ready for the late-game pressure with the ball in your hands?
“I have been in a lot of clutch seasons over these years, and I have been blessed enough to play since I was a freshman, so I have pretty much seen it all. I am definitely comfortable having the ball in my hands at the end of games. I know Coach is going to trust me with that. It’s going to be hard to guard us this year with so many weapons. At the end of the game, who knows where the ball is going. Hopefully, it is going in the basket.”