More news than possible involving the University of Arizona basketball team … um, except as it pertains to the FBI investigation but the team’s first exhibition game on Wednesday night against Eastern New Mexico.
Arizona coach Sean Miller said on Tuesday afternoon starting point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright will not play in the game because of an ankle sprain he suffered last week. Miller said it’s likely he’ll be back for UA’s next exhibition and the UA season opener. He could go on Wednesday but that would put him in “an unnecessary risk” given his recovery.
And, Rawle Alkins is obviously out with a foot injury. Miller said his surgery went well and he’s five weeks into return. It’s not clear when he’ll return but early projections were that it would be sometime in late December.
Additionally, Dylan Smith will not play in the exhibition games and the season-opener because he violated team rules. That, after cracking Arizona’s top seven in the rotation. “He’s quietly put together a good stretch of practices,” Miller said.
Miller said the “silver-lining” in Jackson-Cartwright’s injury is that others are benefiting from more time on the court. In this case it’s freshman guard Alex Barcello, who has been practicing “exceptionally well,” Miller said.
“He’s getting the hang of our system,” Miller said. “His development is sped up because, in some ways, we’re asking him to do more on a daily basis.”
Additionally, Allonzo Trier will play more point guard (something Miller said would happen about two weeks ago) and “it’s helped him pass the ball and learn from a different perspective.”
The Runnin’ Cats?
Well, they won’t exactly be the Runnin’ Rebels or a version of Lute Olson’s guys from the recent past, but I asked Miller if there was a chance UA could run more this season given Lorenzo Romar is an assistant (he has a love for the uptempo game) and given Miller has loosed his offense a smidgen or two in recent years.
Miller said, “yes” which is a pretty good deal. He also said the team’s defense will dictate a lot of it. But that said – and one can assume – Arizona should be as good as it has been in recent years on the defensive end.
“If we are trapping, pressing, denying (the ball) where teams are shooting quick shots, it may reflect we play a faster pace, but really it’s almost a negative to your own defense,” Miller said.
“For us, we want to push it on makes and misses. But I’ll rely a lot on Lorenzo and his mindset and what he sees to put us in position to be a running team … I don’t think we’ll ever be known as an ultra (shooting team) where we shoot very quick. The other team will be very deliberate against our defense.”