Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/23/11
TUCSON Life even at 4-1 isn't all that grand for Sean Miller and his Wildcats. But it should get better. Last week's loss to Mississippi State dropped the Cats from 16 to 23 in the polls, not that it matters much. What do rankings mean in November mean anyway? At this time of year, coaches are looking for progress. Going against 5-1 San Diego State on Wednesday night in McKale Center should provide just that in as much as the Aztecs likely are the best team UA will face to this point in the early season. Miller is looking for "patience and maturity" as UA moves forward. "We're fortunate to be 4-1," Miller said, "but if we were 5-0, to me, I'd look at that as overachieving." Through five games, Miller is seeing progress in many of the newcomers in freshman guard Nick Johnson (the most), Angelo Chol (the middle) and Josiah Turner (gradual). Sidiki Johnson? Well, that's to be determined (more later). "Each game and each week of our season the team gets better," Miller said. The upside is there's still plenty to learn being so young. The downside is, well, they're still young. And will be that way until they mature and mesh at some point. If, of course, that happens at all. Already, Miller has had to deal with a disciplinary problem in freshman Sidiki Johnson, who earlier this week was indefinitely suspended from the Wildcats team for unspecified reasons. As far as we know, this is the first real problem Miller has encountered since becoming the head coach 2 years ago. And it's not clear how serious Johnson's situation is. It's never a good point in the season to be dealing with team issues, but if there's a time to deal with it, it would be at the beginning of the season with a freshman. Either he'll get it, or he won't. And if he doesn't, well, he won't play. It just makes it more difficult for a height-deprived team like Arizona, even with the return of senior 7-footer Alex Jacobson. It appears now, Arizona will be looking to go with undersized senior Jesse Perry 6-foot-7, 217 pounds in the middle more. The problem is that Perry doesn't know but 20 percent of the plays at the position. And, Miller said he wants to be "organized" as he starts to go with a smaller lineup. "I don't think that's the answer for 40 minutes, but for us, carving out a period of time where he will play the five not only puts Jesse in a different role but it allows us to play some of our best players with Jesse," Miller said. "That's what we're all trying to do as coaches, put that best group out there." So, expect a small lineup most of the time. Thus, expect inconsistency until later in the season. Arizona will have to be the team that showed up to play St. Johns more often, hitting 3-pointers at a crazy rate (14-29) and playing strong perimeter defense. Just don't expect that to happen all the time. But there are improvements. Figure that Turner, who just a couple of weeks ago was struggling to find his footing at UA, showed promise while returning home to the New York area. Turner averaged 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Not every game will be in New York. Swagger or not, he'll have to learn how to play perimeter defense. Actually, most of them will. "Josiah, Kyle Fogg, Brendon Lavender, Kevin Parrom, Nick Johnson - we have a lot of depth in our backcourt but each of those guys has to get better and we have to do a better job as a coaching staff to get them to keep their man in front, and not give up dribble penetration because when you (allow drives), bad things happen to your defense," Miller said. "If we had great size some of those drives wouldn't cause the problems they cause. Part of what we're working on with Josiah is to continue to make him better on defense. But I was pleased with the progress he made. I hope it's a starting point for him."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Robbie Keane rescued on highway after running out of gas

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker