Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Miller delivers the message; are the Wildcats listening?

Sean Miller

Sean Miller has been simmering lately over effort and turnovers. Photo by Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller never comes to a news conference unprepared. No matter the Qs, he always has the As.

Miller always sits down with a message to deliver, and, man, has he delivered a couple of doozies in the past week. He was all the way wound up about his team’s first-half effort after Saturday’s home loss to Oregon, and he arrived at Tuesday’s press conference intent on mocking his team’s inability to take care of the ball.

There weren’t many questions that Miller couldn’t turn into a treatise on turnovers.

He called the Wildcats “inept” at taking care of the ball. He deadpanned that “you want to catch the ball with two hands” and that he would remind his players that they will be wearing blue uniforms this week and that they should pass the ball to the guys wearing blue.

He promised punishment via running every time the Cats committed a turnover in practice. He joked — well, he might have been joking — that he would borrow a page from a football coach’s playbook and discipline his players by making them roll on the court after turning over the ball.

He said he would have to remind his players of the rules of double-dribble.

“It’s tough to play a lineup as small as we play and be one of the worst teams in the conference in taking care of the ball,” Miller said. “It’s disheartening.”

Yep … Miller definitely delivered a message.

Question is, are the Wildcats listening?

At issue is that Arizona is averaging 15.2 turnovers through five conference games, the second-worst mark in the Pac-12. Arizona State is last in that category (17.8 per game), which is somewhat understandable because the Devils don’t have a senior or even a true point anymore.

What is UA’s excuse?

You would think a team that usually goes with three guards and two small forwards (more or less) would be adept at taking care of the ball and always giving great effort to compensate for its lack of size.

That’s what Miller is thinking. But not always seeing.

We’ll see how the Wildcats respond to Miller’s lashings tonight at Utah, which has a chance to be a historically bad Pac-12 team, even more so after point guard Josh Watkins was dismissed Wednesday.

Tonight’s game should be a comfortable double-digit victory for the Wildcats. Based on what Miller has been talking about, the Wildcats should start fast and probably have single-digit turnovers in what figures to be a slow, low-possession game.

On the other hand …

“It’s not like the other teams can’t sleep or eat because they’re worried when they see us coming,” Miller said. “We’re not striking fear in anybody.”

Search site | Terms of service