Arizona Basketball

Two reserves — one an unlikely bench player — lead Arizona Wildcats in productivity rating

Kaleb Tarczewski often played away from the hoop because of Cal Poly's perimeter oriented offense and that adversely affected his lack of rebounds (Pac-12 Networks video still)

Kaleb Tarczewski (circled in red) often played away from the hoop because of Cal Poly’s perimeter oriented offense and that adversely affected his lack of rebounds (Pac-12 Networks video still)

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PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)


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Whoa. Wait a minute. How does Kaleb Tarczewski have a better productivity rating than Aaron Gordon in the Arizona Wildcats’ 73-62 victory over Cal Poly at McKale Center?

Gordon was certainly impressive with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots against a Mustang team that did not have a player who matched his skillset. What affected Gordon’s rating in the Arizona Wildcats’ victory was his shooting from the field (5 for 11) and free-throw line (2 for 6) and he played 33 minutes compared to Tarczewski’s 19.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led Arizona in productivity off the bench in 21 minutes

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led Arizona in productivity off the bench in 21 minutes

Tarczewski did not start for the first time in his Arizona Wildcats collegiate career. He started all 35 of Arizona’s games last season but sat in favor of guard Gabe York because of Sean Miller’s ingenious move to go small against a Cal Poly lineup that does not have a player taller than 6’8″.

Although Tarczewski did not grab a rebound in his 19 minutes, a stat symbolic that the game was more suited for fleet-footed players 6’8″ and shorter, he shot the ball well from the field and free throw line. He was 3 for 5 from the field — Miller will take 60 percent from Tarczewski every night — and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line. His teammates shot a combined 15 of 30 from the stripe.

Odd stat: Tarczewski put the ball in the basket one more time (three field goals and five free throws) than Gordon (five field goals and two free throws) although he played 14 minutes less.


“Kaleb was a little banged up,” Miller told Arizona radio play-by-play announcer Brian Jeffries in a postgame interview. “In shootaround, he had a hard time moving so what we tied to do is put himself in the best position I think over the next couple of days.

“In practice the other day his hip, he fell on his hip awkward. He couldn’t quite move like we wanted him to. In fairness to him, he gave us a good 19 minutes. We’re looking forward to getting him healthy over the weekend. We could start a number of different lineups for sure.”

Mulling over how Tarczewski has a better productivity rating is like splitting hairs this early in the season. There’s no denying the value freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, another top player off the bench, brings to the Wildcats.

Hollis-Jefferson played only 21 minutes but had 20 productivity points, highlighted by his 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and no turnovers. Jefferson tried only two shots, making both.

Another interesting stat: Gordon led the UA with 11 field goal attempts. Nobody else took more than seven. Five players took at least five shots. This team will spread the wealth. The key is for T.J. McConnell to make it work and get everybody involved. He had six assists to go with two turnovers.

McConnell was beset by an 0-for-3 performance from the free-throw line and 2-of-5 shooting from the field in his Arizona debut.

York (.654) and Ashley (.724) had productive games. York played 26 minutes. His season-high last year was 12. Nick Johnson also played well but had a .471 productivity rating with 11 points and two assists in 34 minutes.

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Miller told Jeffries he did not play Zach Peters, who was medically cleared to practice and play this week, because he has practiced only three times during the preseason. … Reserve power forward Matt Korcheck did not play because of the way Cal Poly spread the floor and worked mostly from the perimeter, according to Miller. And Miller also said that freshman guard Elliott Pitts did not play because of an injured wrist. Miller told the Jeffries that “hopefully we can get him back sooner than later”, which means Pitts may not redshirt.


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