Brandon Ashley’s Foot Injury and the Long-Term Impact on Arizona

Posted by Andrew Murawa on February 2nd, 2014

Arizona lost late Saturday night at California; you probably know that by now. With Syracuse’s win over Duke that kept the Orange undefeated, the Wildcats will likely drop out of the top spot in the national polls for the first time in months (a move which is fated even if it isn’t necessarily mandatory – we’ll get to this point briefly at the bottom of the post). But a single tough road conference loss on the first weekend in February is absolutely nothing to worry about. What is very much something to worry about is the fact that the Wildcats played the final 38 minutes of that game on Saturday night without Brandon Ashley. According to postgame comments by head coach Sean Miller, Ashley landed awkwardly on his foot and things do not look good. Expectations are that x-rays will reveal it is broken, with the severity of the break the only difference between Ashley certainly being done for the year or possibly back in action at less than 100 percent sometime in March. Much like Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury last month, this sucks.

Official Word Is Still Pending, But Brandon Ashley May Be Done For the Year

Official Word Is Still Pending, But Brandon Ashley May Be Done For the Year

Ashley is the team’s third-leading scorer and rebounder, the starting forward who, down the stretch of tight games, has proven himself to be the team’s second-best option to get hoops. He can score in and around the paint; he can step out and hit the mid-range jumper; he’s a good and willing passer; he’s a load on the screen-and-roll or pick-and-pop; and he’s good at drawing fouls and a capable shooter once there, stroking better than 75 percent from the line. And all of that is without even getting into his defense. His long arms and quick feet help Arizona switch on just about everything; he can bang with big guys down low or harass wings on the perimeter. In short, this is not the type of guy you can replace on the fly in the middle of the season. And given the fact that Miller has more or less been rolling out a seven-man rotation all season, it’s not like there is experienced depth ready to slide into his spot.

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Arizona Week: Five Newcomers Could Earn Immediate Playing Time

Posted by AMurawa on June 27th, 2012

Paired with the more-than-adequate group of returnees we profiled earlier today, the Wildcats have a stellar group of newcomers that they’re welcoming in as well. Their five-man freshman class was rated third in the nation by ESPN, and that’s not even including the commitment they got from senior transfer Mark Lyons, who will be immediately eligible for Sean Miller’s club next year after choosing the Arizona version of the Wildcats (over the Kentucky version). All told, there are five players among the six newcomers who will get a chance to make a major contribution next season. Below, we’ll take a look at all of the newcomers, by order of who is likely to make the biggest impact in 2012-13.

  • Mark Lyons, Senior, Combo Guard, 6’1”, 188 lbs, Xavier University – Despite the fact that UA’s three freshmen big men all probably have brighter futures ahead of them than Lyons, the graduate transfer will have the biggest impact on the Wildcat’s 2012-13 season. Lyons spent the last two seasons in Cincinnati playing second-fiddle to point guard Tu Holloway, but he’ll get his chance to have the ball in his hands a lot more in Tucson, as he’ll take over the point guard duties from day one. He’s got the reputation of a guy who is more interested in finding his own shot than creating looks for his teammates, but in his three years with the Musketeers, he averaged assists on almost 18% of his teammates’ made field goals, a pretty impressive number for a guy who played off the ball. Nevertheless, there is some truth to the idea that Lyons likes to, and is very capable of, creating his own shots. What he’ll need to prove this season, not only for the success of this Wildcat team but for Lyons’ dreams of playing in the NBA, is that he can walk the fine line between making himself a scoring threat and setting up his new teammates with good scoring opportunities. If Lyons can pull that off, the Wildcats could be in the national championship picture; if he falls back into his 2011-12 habit of shooting nearly 28% of his team’s shots, UA could be a major underachiever.
Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona

Kaleb Tarczewski, Here Facing Up Against National #1 Recruit Nerlens Noel, Will Man The Post For The Wildcats (Jay Connor, Boston Globe)

  • Kaleb Tarczewski, Freshman, Center, 7’0”, 230 lbs, St. Mark’s High School, Claremont, New Hampshire – Tarczewski wound up as ESPN’s 4th rated player in the 2012 recruiting class, highlighting Sean Miller’s best recruiting class, and he is not the type of center that comes into college as a project years away from consistent production. He’s got a strong body ready to step in and immediately pound away with veteran Pac-12 bigs, but also displays surprising athleticism in the open floor. His real strength, however, is carving out prime real estate on the block, catching the ball with his back to the basket and using his strength and agility to get to one of his go-to post moves. He’s equally adept at cleaning the glass on both ends of the floor, and his size and strength are sure turn him into a strong post defender. Tarczewski averaged 20.7 points and 10.2 rebounds as a high school senior, shooting 63% from the field and showing all the signs of a guy in the midst of serious improvement. If he can continue to home his game, he may not be long for Tucson. Read the rest of this entry »
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Pac-12 Afternoon Five: Signing Day Edition

Posted by AMurawa on April 11th, 2012

  1. Today’s the big day in college basketball recruiting as the spring signing period officially opens. While most of the 2012 recruiting class is already accounted for, there are a couple teams around the conference today who are waiting on some big decisions. The biggest, of course, is the decision from Shabazz Muhammad – the number two prospect in the class – as to whether he will attend UCLA, Kentucky or Duke. However, he’s not the only unsigned recruit who has a Pac-12 school on his mind. Tony Parker, a 6’9” power forward out of Georgia, is also strongly considering UCLA, but he is not expected to make his announcement on Wednesday. Anthony Bennett, the number seven recruit in the country according to ESPNU is still considering Oregon, but he may be weeks away from making a final decision. ESPNU, for their part, listed the predictions from seven of their recruiting experts as to where each of these guys (and all the other elite unsigned recruits) will land, and they have Muhammad and Parker going to UCLA, with Bennett winding up in Florida.
  2. Arizona’s recruiting class for 2012 was thought to be done, but they added a junior college transferMatt Korcheck – who is expected to sign his commitment this week. Korcheck is a 6’9” forward who is jumping into a crowded frontcourt in Tucson, so he is expected to redshirt next season and retain two years of collegiate eligibility. More importantly for the future of the program, Sean Miller earned a commitment from Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell. McConnell could well be the point guard that Arizona has been lacking, but he’ll have to sit out next year before becoming eligible in 2013-14. The next big question for the Wildcats will be the future of freshman point guard Josiah Turner, who was suspended indefinitely prior to the Pac-12 tournament. With Turner and junior Jordin Mayes the only point guards on the Arizona roster, the fate of the mercurial lead guard could go a long way towards determining just how much should be expected of the Wildcats next season.
  3. Not all of the talk around the conference is of players coming in; at Oregon State, the big news is that junior guard Jared Cunningham will forego his final season of eligibility and enter his name into the NBA Draft. Cunningham was a first-team all-conference selection and averaged nearly 18 points per game, but his decision to remain in the draft is a bit of a head scratcher. Draft Express currently has him being picked towards the back of the second round of the draft, meaning he would not earn a guaranteed contract. He’s got plenty of physical skills, but his inability to consistently hit a jump shot and his gambling style on defense are just two traits that make him a questionable NBA prospect at this point.
  4. In Berkeley, Emerson Murray and Alex Rossi will be transferring out of Mike Montgomery’s program, joining graduates Harper Kamp and Jorge Gutierrez on the way out the door. Murray was unable to earn any significant minutes in his first two seasons on campus, so he’ll move north to play for Cameron Dollar at Seattle. Rossi struggled with health problems during his entire California career and leaves having played 16 minutes in two seasons on campus. A landing spot for Rossi is not yet known, and there is speculation that his hernia injury that limited his minutes with the Bears may limit his basketball playing future.
  5. Lastly, the Pac-12 All-Academic team was announced last week, and not surprisingly featured two Stanford players on the first team, two on the second team and four more among the honorable mentions. The first team was made up of Sabatino Chen from Colorado, Rhys Murphy from Oregon State, Trent Lockett from Arizona State and John Gage and Jack Trotter from the Cardinal. The team featured all 20 players in the conference who were not only regular players for their teams but also students who earned at least a 3.0 GPA. Arizona, Washington, USC and Utah were the only four schools to not have a player anywhere on the list. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.
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