Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: UA playing to inside strength but must keep defenses honest outside

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WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
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)

ARIZONA 78, MT. ST. MARY’S 55
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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Arizona coach Sean Miller has witnessed his team play to its strength in the exhibition win over Cal Poly Pomona and last night’s season-opening 78-55 victory over Mount St. Mary’s.

He said after the exhibition with Cal Poly Pomona last week that “this year’s team’s identity on offense as much as anything, we have to get the ball inside.”

If a team has a dominating running back like Ka’Deem Carey, it will go to him time and time again, like Rich Rodriguez did the past couple of seasons.

With a frontcourt that consists of Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Miller wants the ball in and around the paint as much as possible.

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In this site’s productivity report, Arizona’s top three performers by far who played the most minutes against Mount St. Mary’s were Hollis-Jefferson (perhaps the nation’s most explosive player around the basket), Ashley and Tarczewski. Those three players made 20 of 24 field goal attempts and combined for 20 rebounds, six steals and five blocked shots.

Their productivity rating was 1.130. The rest of the team combined for a productivity rating of .487.

The flipside to that is a concern over perimeter shooting and overall production. Arizona was 4 of 16 from three-point range after shooting 3 of 12 against Pomona.

Stanley Johnson had a .333 rating in his first collegiate game last night. Gabe York’s rating was only .250. T.J. McConnell had a respectable .571 but could have scored better shooting with more confidence. He finished 3 of 10 from the field.

The best performance by a perimeter player, although he played only 11 minutes: Freshman point guard reserve Parker Jackson-Cartwright. He was not overcome by the major-college atmosphere at McKale and made 2 of 3 three-pointers. He finished with a productivity rating of .818.

The promising news for Miller is Johnson, York, McConnell and Jackson-Cartwright can each step up in a big way in a given game. If all four struggle, the strong inside game can buoy the Wildcats to a point. If even one or two have a credible game, Arizona becomes that much more invincible.

Miller believes McConnell as the senior point guard should take charge and exude confidence. He believed Arizona started nervous against Mount St. Mary’s before pulling away in the last three minutes of the first half. McConnell’s responsibility is to set the tone and play without inhibition, especially when it comes to shooting when he should.

His shooting as the primary ball-handler signals to the defense that they can’t pack it in against Arizona’s interior players. It’s the same thing as Arizona’s football team mixing in plenty of the pass to offset the defense and allow its running backs to be more of a threat.

“T.J. McConnell is our team’s best shooter,” Miller said. “He hasn’t shown that yet and they started to do what some teams did last year and that is go under.

“But he’s gonna make you pay if you keep doing that. One of the things early on here is to get him to shoot the basketball with confidence, because if your team’s best shooter isn’t shooting, you have to look at the coach, you know?”

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ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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