Tommy Lloyd says physical toughness is a requirement for 2022-23 Arizona squad
Tommy Lloyd saw what most of the rest of us did. In a game that nearly ended Arizona’s season and then another that actually did, the Wildcats got beat up.
TCU’s Eddie Lampkin Jr. was a monster in the post, playing bully ball and helping the Horned Frogs force overtime. Bennedict Mathurin’s brilliance helped the Cats to an 85-80 win and advanced the team to the Sweet 16. There, they ran into a Houston team that similarly went right at them.
The Cougars dropped the Wildcats 72-60. Arizona’s season came to a close at 33-4. It was a magical campaign, but Lloyd knows there’s another step to be taken.
“There’s a certain way it needs to look and feel,” he said at Arizona’s local media day recently. “You try to make sure you’re getting your team prepared for that. There’s nothing that bums me out more than rolling out to play and just being physically outmatched. What do we have to do to make sure when we tee it up, physically we can bring the fight?
“Therein lies toughness. And it shows its way. It could be in how you take care of the ball, it could be how you block out on the glass, it could be in how you fight through fatigue. There’s so many areas and you’re just trying to build your team up and make sure that at least you’re checking that box to be competitive in that aspect of the game. That’s literally the price of entry. You gotta be tough.”
Arizona is welcoming six newcomers. With Christian Koloko off to the NBA, it needs a new paint presence and Lloyd expects Oumar Ballo to really step into a position of power this season. Might he become the enforcer? Courtney Ramer, a former Texas guard, figures to be the bulldog type on the perimeter, heating up opposing guards.
“Big 12 was a battle,” Ramey said earlier this offseason. “Coming here, I feel like I can bring that over to the team.”
The 17th-ranked Wildcats begin the new season on Nov. 7 at home against Nicholls. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. PT.