Arizona Basketball

Nothing But The Notes: Rondae Jefferson can be first Chester All-American since Herman Harris in 1973

UA recruit Rondae Jefferson of Chester (Pa.) was nominated Thursday to become a McDonald's All-American

UA recruit Rondae Jefferson of Chester (Pa.) was nominated Thursday to become a McDonald’s All-American

Arizona hoops great Herman Harris was the last Chester (Pa.) High School player to be selected an All-American

Arizona hoops great Herman Harris was the last Chester (Pa.) High School player to be selected an All-American

What are the odds of a former Wildcat great such as Herman Harris coming from the same Philadelphia-area town as another top-flight Arizona recruit 40 years later? Not since Harris, a 6-foot-4 guard, has a Chester (Pa.) boys’ basketball player been named an All-American. Harris earned that honor in 1973 before heading to Arizona. Rondae Jefferson, the Clippers star forward who is part of the Wildcats’ Class of 2013, is among the 14 Southeastern Pennsylvania nominees on the McDonald’s All-American list released Thursday. Jefferson is the leading scorer for the state’s top team. For the record, it is 2,399 miles from Chester to Tucson.

“I think my chances are pretty big. It would be so special to to be apart of it,” Jefferson told the Philadelphia Inquirer about the possibility of becoming a McDonald’s All-American. “Growing up that’s a game that everyone wants to play in. I would be beyond hyped.” Harris was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 1977 NBA Draft. He scored 1,158 career points at Arizona in three seasons before the shot clock and three-point line. Jefferson told the Inquirer that met Harris on his official visit to Arizona. “If he can make it from this little town called Chester, that would be really something,” Jefferson’s coach, Larry Yarbray, told the Inquirer. … Jefferson and Rysheed Jordan of Philadelphia Vaux Roberts were among the players from the City of Brotherly Love to be nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game. The final list will be announced on Feb. 14 and the game will be played on April 3 in Chicago. Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 forward, could be joined by Jordan in the Pac-12 next season. Jordan, a 6-3 guard, has narrowed his choices to St. John’s, Temple and UCLA. Jefferson and Jordan battling in the Pac-12’s most competitive rivalry will bring more exposure to the conference from East-coast media types. …

Saturday’s game between No. 7 Arizona (15-1) and ASU (14-3) has the feel of a potential nail-biter, a game decided in the last few seconds. Arizona’s 15- and 19-point wins over ASU under Sean Miller in his first two seasons with the Wildcats were out of the norm for the UA in its recent history of games at Tempe since Lute Olson’s first season in 1983-84. Saturday will be the 30th meeting between the rivals in Tempe since Olson arrived in Tucson. In the 29 previous meetings, the Wildcats are 21-8. Their scoring margin in those games is 197 points, which means Arizona has an average margin of only 6.8 points in its games at ASU’s arena since 1983-84. Nine of those 21 victories are by five points or less. …

Arizona starting center Kaleb Tarczewski has fouled out twice. No ASU starters fouled out.

Arizona starting center Kaleb Tarczewski has fouled out twice. No ASU starters have fouled out this season.

If the game is close throughout and the starters play extended minutes and become susceptible to foul trouble, that will favor Arizona. The Sun Devils are heavily reliant on their starters. Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix, Jordan Bachynski, Evan Gordon and Jonathan Gilling have started all 17 games. They account for 79.9 percent of the Sun Devils’ minutes, 83.7 percent of their field-goal attempts and 85.3 percent of their scoring. This is the Stat of the Year for ASU: None of the Sun Devils’ starters have fouled out this season. Felix, a 6-6 senior wing player who will be matched up against Solomon Hill, has the most fouls with 50 (an average of only 2.9 fouls a game). … Arizona has similarly been fortunate with none of their most influential starters — Hill, Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson — fouling out, although Hill played most of the game against Colorado at McKale Center with foul trouble. Starting center Kaleb Tarczewski has fouled out twice. The Wildcats, however, have more resources from their bench — including one of the best sixth men in the nation in Kevin Parrom — to draw from. Arizona’s starters account for 66.9 percent of the Wildcats’ minutes, 69 percent of their field-goal attempts and 71.9 percent of their scoring. All those numbers are significantly lower than the totals of ASU’s starters. For ASU to stay in the game it must hope its formula of playing capable man-to-man defense without getting in foul trouble continues. …

Former UA guard Mike Bibby and former ASU player Eddie House — Bibby’s brother-in-law — should have fun with Saturday’s game between the Wildcats and the Sun Devils. Both can be found at games involving Bibby’s son — Mike Jr. – at Phoenix Shadow Mountain, where the elder Bibby helps coach on a volunteer basis. Bibby was 4-0 against ASU in his UA career from 1996-98, although the defending national champion Wildcats escaped with an 83-82 win in Tempe in 1998 when the third-ranked Wildcats extended their winning streak to 15 games with the narrow victory. House, ASU’s career leading scorer with 2,044 points, was 0-8 against the Wildcats from 1997-2000. … Class of 2013 recruiting target Aaron Gordon, a 6-8, 210-pound forward from San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty, will play on ESPNU on Monday at 10 a.m., Tucson time, in the Spalding Hoop Classic. Archbishop Mitty will play Lone Peak (Utah).

Nick Foles' former offensive coordinator with the Eagles will reportedly hold the same job with the Jets

Nick Foles’ former offensive coordinator with the Eagles will reportedly hold the same job with the Jets

Don’t be surprised if former UA quarterback Nick Foles is involved in trade talks with the New York Jets, who are in need of quarterback help. Reports Friday indicate that former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg — who coached Foles this season — is the new Jets offensive coordinator, replacing the fired Tony Sparano. Mornhinweg has experience running the West Coast offense, which is suited for Foles’ passing skills. Philadelphia’s new coach Chip Kelly says he is a Foles fan but Foles is more of a dropback passer and not suited for Kelly’s zone-read spread offense. In an interview last month with, Mornhinweg said of Foles: “Well, I know this — Nick has got an opportunity here to develop. And I know this — he’s got an opportunity to be very good.” Mornhinweg has experience coaching Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb. With Foles playing less than half of his rookie season as a starter, Morhinweg is not ready to place a value on Foles. “With my experiences — and I’ve coached a lot of great ones — the difference between really good and great is up to that individual player,” Mornhinweg told “And that’s almost unknown until you get them in league games for over a period of time. … You’ve got to be around them to get a real good evaluation on them.” Mohrnhinweg just might have the chance to be around Foles longer to have that evaluation. …

Matt Scott's practices at the East-West Shrine Game have improved this week.

Matt Scott’s practices at the East-West Shrine Game have improved during the course of the week.

New York Jets media is suggesting that Matt Scott could be a target for the Jets as well. Bleacher Report lists Scott as one of the prospects in the East-West Shrine Game to watch for the Jets. The game is Saturday in Tampa, Fla., and will be televised by the NFL Network at 2 p.m., Tucson time. The Bleacher Report assessment of Scott: “It’s no secret that Rex Ryan likes a mobile quarterback. While Scott only started 17 games in college, he remains a good prospect with a high upside. has Scott rated as the No. 10 quarterback prospect in the draft and expect him to be drafted in the third or fourth round. That makes him the highest-rated quarterback in the East-West Shrine Game, according to their rankings. Scott doesn’t seem to be a quarterback who could be thrown into a starting role immediately, so he might not fit the Jets’ game plan. However, if they brought in a stop-gap veteran and got rid of Mark Sanchez, Scott would be a nice option as a developmental quarterback.” …’s Steve Muench offers this report on Scott’s performance this week in preparation for the East-West Shrine Game: “Arizona QB Matt Scott struggled early in the week, but he looked much better on Thursday. Scott’s footwork and release were strong, he got the ball out quickly, and he made a perfect throw to the corner of the end zone on a fade route. He could not have dropped the ball over the defender and into the hands of Nevada TE Zach Sudfeld any more perfectly on the play. Scott also made better decisions, including pulling the ball down and running when his receivers were covered in seven-on-seven drills. He began the process of salvaging his week on Thursday, and a good showing in the game on Saturday would complete a nice turnaround for Scott.” …

Former UA linebacker Lance Briggs, now with the Chicago Bears, played a part in ABC’s “Happy Endings” show last Sunday. “I’d say my performance was above adequate,” Briggs told the Chicago Tribune. “I’d say my performance was Emmy-worthy.” Briggs spent a day on the set early last summer during a segment filmed in Los Angeles. Sunday’s episode involved a kickball game among the friends of the show. One team recruited Briggs for a competitive edge. For Briggs to play, one of the friends had to be kicked off the team, creating a conflict. “I had a good amount of lines,” Briggs told the Tribune. “There was a script, but you do a lot of ad-libbing. It’s easy when you’re playing yourself.” …

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner


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