F Mouphtaou Yarou, Jr., 8.4 ppg
G Maalik Wayns, Jr., 13.8 ppg
G Dominic Cheek, Jr., 5.6 ppg
G James Bell, So., 2.4 ppg
F Darrun Hilliard, Fr., 19.7 ppg in high school
G Ty Johnson, Fr., 18.3 ppg in high school
F/C Maurice Sutton, Jr., 2.4 ppg
F JayVaughn Pinkston, R-Fr.
G Achraf Yacoubou, Fr., 19.0 ppg in high school
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO . . .
How do the Wildcats deal with the many question marks? They have no seniors and must replace their two leading scorers (and three of their top four). Most of their roster, which includes four true freshmen and a redshirt, were highly recruited. That doesn't necessarily mean they're going to produce to those projections, especially not right away. For the first time in a while, there are few expectations other than trying to simply get into the four-letter tournament, which they've done seven straight times. Only one Big East program (Pitt) has a longer streak.
SHOULDERING THE LOAD:
Lead guard Maalik Wayns is their best player. He might have to play like one of the best in the conference. It would help if Mouphtaou Yarou takes some serious steps in the middle and Dominic Cheek finally emerges on the wing. Some of the youngsters at least have to contribute.
NUMBER TO WATCH:
Minutes per game for Yarou. Not many teams have a big man with his upside. But it doesn't mean much if he's not on the floor. In the Big East, staying out of foul trouble is rarely easy, especially the aggressive way Wright likes his guys to play.
In the Big East, pick your poison. There's a run of Syracuse, at Cincinnati, Seton Hall, at St. John's and at Louisville in January. A better gauge might come a month later, when they get Notre Dame and Connecticut here followed by at Georgetown. They could need wins at that point.
QUOTE OF NOTE:
"I think we have a chance to be a good team. As young as we are, we have a maturity that I like. We understand that people may look at us differently than they have the past few years, but we have no control over that. Our goal is the same. We want to be the best team we can be at the end." - Jay Wright
This group figures to be a work in progress, maybe even for a while. It has size, and length on the perimeter, which needs to be utilized. A shortage of outside snipers would seem to be a dilemma. So things figure to be different. It fell apart in the second half last season, for whatever reasons. This team should take more lumps early, but hopefully can grow from it. Getting into the 68-team field is the target. How realistic that is depends on their learning curve.
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