Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Hollis-Jefferson Pac-12 player of year as sixth man?


Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's dunk over 7'6" center Mamadou Ndiaye was No. 2 on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 plays of the day, trailing only Solomon Hill's game-winning putback for the Pacers (ESPN screen shot)

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s dunk over 7’6″ center Mamadou Ndiaye was No. 2 on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 plays of the day, trailing only Solomon Hill’s game-winning putback for the Pacers (ESPN screen shot)


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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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Sixth men don’t win conference player of the year awards. In fact, the Pac-12 does not even select a Sixth Man of the Year.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could be the exception to the rule when it comes to player of the year.

In the first three games, Hollis-Jefferson was a game-breaker for Arizona, clearly the most valuable of the group.

The coaches who vote for the player of the year should give Hollis-Jefferson bonus points for willing to come off the bench and allow highly-touted freshman Stanley Johnson the starting role. If that’s not all about the team, and its chemistry, nothing is.

“There are a lot of these guys who will talk the talk and say ‘sacrifice,’ and beat their chest when things are going well,” Miller said in the press conference last night after Arizona beat Cal-Irvine 71-54. “There aren’t a lot of kids who would come off the bench if you’re him.”

Hollis-Jefferson has opened the season leading the Wildcats in this site’s productivity rating in each of the three games. He is the only player who has posted more productivity points than minutes played in each game.


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With a team-high seven dunks and 25 trips to the free-throw line he is by far Arizona’s explosive and difficult-to-handle player. Hollis-Jefferson has that same rank among all players in the nation. Much to the delight of Miller and Arizona’s fan base, Hollis-Jefferson has taken advantage of those trips to the foul line, converting 72 percent of them. Last year, as a freshman, he made 68.2 percent.

Arizona had a willing sixth man before, Jason Terry, and his acceptance of that role as a sophomore playing behind freshman guard Mike Bibby was a major factor in Arizona winning the 1996-97 title.

“You can’t be an effective player when you’re in your own world and Rondae, he embodies a lot of the qualities you want to have in a program on and off the court,” Miller said. “He’s unselfish and the bigger the game, the more he rises up. For him to come off the bench and say that, that means a lot to our team.”

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Miller’s use of his lineup in a tight game last night (for 35 minutes) shed light on how he might use his rotation come Pac-12 season.

He used mostly seven players and Hollis-Jefferson and guard Elliott Pitts were the only reserves utilized in the second half. Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic played briefly in the first half (four and two minutes, respectively). Craig Victor, who played a total of 14 minutes in the first two games, did not play.

Depending on potential foul problems and matchup issues related to size vs. speed, Miller could use his rotation differently as the season goes into February.

But for the most part, the Wildcats will rely on a core of seven to eight players, with the starters and Hollis-Jefferson and Pitts taking on most of the minutes.


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[table “” not found /] 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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