Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Starting perimeter trio vital to UA’s success



Rondae Hollis-Jefferson leads the break after a steal with Stanley Johnson and T.J. McConnell on the wings (ESPN screen shot)

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson leads the break after a steal with Stanley Johnson and T.J. McConnell on the wings (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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One constant among Arizona’s best teams is a strong perimeter game, specifically the point guard, shooting guard and small forward making it difficult for the opposition to defend the Wildcats’ inside-outside attack.

Arizona has that this season with T.J. McConnell, Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. When those three players are on top of their game, which happens more often than not, Arizona is unstoppable.

When one or more of them falter, Arizona is beatable. Hollis-Jefferson fouled out with 7 minutes remaining at UNLV. Johnson can look back and point to his worst three performances being against UNLV, Oregon State and ASU.


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Present RPI ranking of the Pac-12.
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Arizona’s Final Four teams showcased productive perimeter players from the Nos. 1-3 positions (point guard, shooting guard and small forward):

1987-88: Steve Kerr, Craig McMillan and Sean Elliott

1993-94: Damon Stoudamire, Khalid Reeves and Reggie Geary

1996-97: Mike Bibby, Miles Simon and Michael Dickerson

2000-01: Jason Gardner, Gilbert Arenas and Richard Jefferson

This season’s trio resembles those of the 1993-94 and 1996-97 teams the most.

Hollis-Jefferson can defend up to four positions similar to the versatility of Geary and Dickerson on the wing. McConnell may not have the flair or national popularity of Stoudamire and Bibby, but he is as much importance on this year’s team as they had on their respective teams. Johnson can make the opportunity basket and bail out the Wildcats on offense much like Reeves and Simon.

McConnell, Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson have combined to lead the Wildcats in productivity in 17 of the Wildcats’ 24 games this sason. Last night at Washington, Johnson posted a season-high for Arizona with a 1.444 rating, followed by Hollis-Jefferson (1.000) and McConnell (.871).

The inside play of Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski has been inconsistent, but as long as McConnell, Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson are contributing, the Wildcats can mask their deficiencies.

What makes Arizona’s perimeter so special is their dominant performance in different categories.

After his season-high 10 assists last night, McConnell is at 142 assists with only 46 turnovers, which is a phenomenal 3.1-to-1 ratio.

Although only a freshman, Johnson is leading the Wildcats in scoring (14.8 points a game) and rebounds (6.8).

Hollis-Jefferson’s contribution shows up in the opponent’s stats stopping a team’s top scorer or playmaker such as Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer, Joseph Young, Delon Wright, Nigel Williams-Goss, etc.

Hollis-Jefferson, 6’6″, leads the Wildcats in blocked shots with 23 despite the taller Ashley (6’9″) and Tarczewski (7’0″) inside.


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[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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