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Arizona basketball: Thoughts on the Red-Blue Game

Doutrive leads team in scoring and rebounding

The Arizona Wildcats held their annual held its Red-Blue Game on Friday night, and while we are staunch in our belief to not draw any conclusions from the exhibition, we do have some thoughts:

So, here we go:

1. Josh Green is going to be trouble on defense.

The 6-6 true freshman is the kind of big wing that Sean Miller loves for his pack-line defense, able to guard and/or switch on bigger or smaller defenders.

"Josh Green reminds me a lot of Nick Johnson," Miller said after the game, talking about the former All-Pac-12 Defense first-teamer (as well as the league's 2014 Player of the Year).

Green is taller, but the instincts and want-to is there.

"He's like any young player; as he learns the tricks of the trade, becoming more disciplined, gets more practices under his belt, he could become a dynamic defensive player because he can make plays at the rim, he can guard big players, he can guard smaller, quicker guards, he can get out in the passing lanes like he did a couple of times tonight.

"And Josh is innately physical. He likes contact. When you watch him play, he's always bumping into somebody, and usually those guys become really good on defense. I've been really impressed with how he's practiced."

2. All hail Devonaire Doutrive

Doutrive was intriguing as a true freshman -- raw and sometimes out of control, but exciting and athletic, with a lot of his career runway ahead of him. His decision to return to Arizona this summer after checking out his transfer options because much more important when the Wildcats lost guard Brandon Williams for the season due to knee problems.

Doutrive had a game-highs with 15 points and seven rebounds in Red-Blue -- and even if we don't want to make too much of that, the news from that was that he also played some point guard. UC Irvine grad transfer sharpshooter Max Hazzard is penciled in for that role behind Nico Mannion, but Miller will see how much of an option Doutrive can be, too.

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"He's grown up a lot. He's more mature," Miller said. "He's bigger, stronger. Like it used to be in our games, when you practice and earn your way through a freshman year regardless of your role, you should have a great summer and be that much better as a sophomore. That's what Devonaire is. ...

"The next month will be interesting to watch Devonaire."

Doutrive can play all three perimeter positions for the Wildcats. Arizona is still waiting to hear from the NCAA if Kentucky transfer Jemarl Baker -- who also looked good Friday night -- will get a waiver to be immediately eligible and help at point guard.

Oh, and Doutrive also won the dunk contest.

3. Patience, please

The best of the class Friday night might have been ... Christian Koloko? The 7-footer "project" made 4 of 7 shots and didn't look out of place.

Meanwhile, Green, Mannion, Zeke Nnaji combined to shoot 5 of 18. No big deal. And also consider that the Red-Blue was held more than two weeks earlier than last season, so it's really early in the practice process for the new guys.

Mannion was 2 of 7 from the field, with four turnovers in 23 minutes.

"Nico did fine. I'm going to be his biggest fan here early on because it's almost unfair the high expectations that are placed on him," Miller said. "He's not going to be able to do it alone. He's going to have his bumps in the road."

Arizona will next be seen Nov. 1 in an exhibition game against Chico State on Nov. 1.

We'll have lots more thoughts before then ...