Players or Program at Arizona?

Let’s talk one and DONE…

Lauri Markkanen, Stanley Johnson, Aaron Gordon. No Final Four appearances, but lots of buzz between November and Mid-March for the Arizona Wildcats basketball program.

Wednesday night it came out that Kobi Simmons is another one-and-done, taking his talents to the NBA, D-League, Russia, Australia, anyplace where he can get a check.
He’s bolting out the door after a six month stay in Southern Arizona. Go someplace to get that freshman year out of the way and then chase the $$$.

There wasn’t a big send-off press conference for Simmons like the program had for Markkanen a week earlier, not that there should’ve been. He was a complimentary player that could do some nice things on the basketball court, a dime a dozen in today’s college hoops world.

National Championship coach Roy WIlliams summed up the whole short-timer situation perfectly last week in Glendale before the Final Four: “Everyone would choose experienced talent over everything.”

Look, I get it, some programs are built on upperclassman like the champion Tar Heels. Gonzaga went the route of the 5th year transfer to make it all the way to the title game. Arizona and Kentucky like the one-and-dones.

Should Sean Miller take a different approach when it comes to recruiting “one-and-done” players? The short answer is “no”.

Next year, DeAndre Ayton will have a brief stop-over for the Wildcats before likely turning pro and Marvin Bagley will do the same the year after that, assuming he chooses the Wildcats. Let’s not kid each other, any program in the nation would take those two.

Maybe Miller should recruit more “glue-guys” and “role-players” rather just 5-stars? Go the route of transfer players like the program did with T.J. McConnell, a guy who just wanted to win a championship. In-coming freshman guard Alex Barcello fits the bill of what I am talking about.

What about Miller’s decision this past year to take Simmons and Terrence Ferguson? Even the biggest cheerleader of the program should be questioning the value that the university got in return on those two. Ferguson didn’t even get to enjoy an Eegees on Speedway, he made a left turn from Tucson and ended up playing in Australia.

Three one-and-dones doesn’t seem to be the way to build a program to play in the first weekend in April. Sure, it works well in late February and early March, but what exactly does the University of Arizona have to show for the one-and-done approach when it comes to Final Four appearances?

The Arizona Wildcat basketball Twitter account is @APlayersprogram. I’ve been told that handle means that It’s about the PLAYERS, but maybe it should be more about the PROGRAM.