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Red-Blue Game blog: Nice day for freshman Nick Johnson

The Red team, led by Jesse Perry’s 20 points and the shooting of Brendon Lavender, beats the Blue team 67-54. Lavender made 4 of 6 3-point shots.

Freshman post Sidiki Johnson had a team-high 18 points for the Blue. Freshman guard Nick Johnson, following his victory in the dunk contest, scored 17 points and made 3 of 4 shots from behind the arc.

“Nick can do a lot of things,” said coach Sean Miller.

“You can see from the dunk contest that very few kids have his athletic talent. And he’s also a very hard worker. First of all, getting him to understand our defense and getting him to real help on defense is something I think he can do. And we’ll work hard in the next couple of weeks to prepare him to do that.

“He’s going to be a really big part of what we’re doing, not just in the future, but this year.”

More from the Red-Blue Game: Parrom recovering well, could return soon after start of season

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Continuing the theme of Jesse Perry’s improved perimeter skills … he just made his second 3-pointer of the second half. He was 7 of 25 from behind the arc last season.

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A flurry of 3-pointers to start the second half, including a pair from unlikely sources — Sidiki Johnson and Jesse Perry. Nick Johnson throws in his third shot from behind the arc.

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Freshman post Sidiki Johnson looks good down low (and certainly Arizona is going to be need low-post scoring from somebody this season) but was his 2 of 5 shooting from the line a sign of things to come … or just a small sample size?

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Halftime. The Red leads the Blue 27-26, for whatever that is worth. Brendon Lavender has hit three 3-pointers. Nick Johnson has a pair of 3-pointers, a couple of dunks, and has fan favorite written all over him.

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Expect more versatility from forward Jesse Perry this season. He mostly played power forward last season, but talked earlier this week about being able to fill in anywhere from small forward to center.

He’s tough enough for the post, for sure. The question really is whether he has small-forward skills if he has to play the position when Arizona wants to go with a bigger lineup.

In the first half of the Red-Blue Game, he has show improved dribbling skills, especially on a play in which he got a steal, went behind the back with the dribble and worked his way up court against freshman shot-blocker Angelo Chol, using his body to shield Chol while he finished with a layup.

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Nick Johnson, coming off his dunk contest win, does it int he scrimmage, slamming in a rebound. He has the kind of explosion at the basket that Arizona really needs.

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Five players competed in the dunk contest — Brendon Lavender, Angelo Chol, Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and freshman guard Nick Johnson.

If you have followed the recruiting scene at all, you knew that the wise bet was to take Johnson to win. And win he did.

He had two superb dunks in the two-round event. For the first, he stood at the top of the 3-point line, tossed the ball into the lane, caught it on a bounce and then did a 360-degree one-handed dunk.

On the second dunk, he did something similar, this time catching the ball, putting it between his legs and finishing with a strong left-handed slam. Richard Jefferson, one of the judges, liked it so much he scored it an 11 out of 10.

The dunk event was nice, but what would you have paid to see alums Derrick Williams, Andre Iguodala and Jefferson in a dunk-off?

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An impressive group of former Cats (and wealth) were introduced before the game — Michael Dickerson, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Jerryd Bayless, Derrick Williams, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Jason Terry.

Then, Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson was introduced, walking to mid-court and giving hugs to all his former players.

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The UA unveiled a new pregame video at the Red-Blue Game, featuring a larger and different cast of alums doing voice-overs.

In order, the video featured, in order, Chris Mills, Steve Kerr, Chase Budinger, Craig McMillan, Sean Rooks, Derrick Williams, Michael Dickerson, Miles Simon, Joseph Blair, Bob Elliott, Lute Olson and, to wrap it up, coach Sean Miller saying, “This is Arizona basketball.”

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Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller has made the Red-Blue Game a celebration, and fans responded by selling out McKale Center.

Because of that, the athletic department decided to stream the game for free at arizonawildcats.com

Star alums are expected to be in attendance — Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger will be inducted into the Ring of Honor — committed recruits will be in the arena, as will recruits who are still considering Arizona.

And the scrimmage itself should be entertaining and enlightening, too, as players battle for playing time on a deep roster.

Check back here before and during the Red-Blue Game for updates from McKale.

Here is the press release from UA about the internet webcast:

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona men’s basketball team’s annual Red-Blue Game will be webcast live on www.arizonawildcats.com.

The sold-out intrasquad scrimmage will be available for fans to view on-line as a free preview on UA’s All-Access video viewer.

The pregame festivities will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m. PDT with Wildcat Radio Network voices Brian Jeffries and Matt Muehlebach setting the scene before the feed shifts to the McKale Center in-house scoreboard production.

Fans who view the on-line feed will be able to witness the player introductions, highlight videos, dunk contest and on-court presentations in addition to the 2 p.m. intrasquad scrimmage, which consists of two 12-minute halves.

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