Arizona Basketball

Balanced Arizona to face gritty, resourceful Harvard

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[table “” not found /]

G: Games played. S: Number of starts.
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)

Harvard sophomore forward Wesley Saunders leads the Crimson in productivity

Harvard sophomore forward Wesley Saunders leads the Crimson in productivity

No. 14 seed Harvard, which faces No. 6 Arizona on Saturday in Salt Lake City, goes essentially seven deep with their bench players productive compared to some of head coach Tommy Amaker’s starters.

Sophomore forward Steve Moundou-Missi (.653 productivity rating) and sophomore forward Jonah Travis (.533) were the only bench players to play for the Crimson in its 68-62 upset of No. 3 seed New Mexico on Thursday night.

Their productivity ratings are higher than starting senior guard Christian Webster (.296) and junior guard Laurent Rivard (.368).

What it means is Amaker has resources that play well within a team concept no matter the minutes played. Starting sophomore center Kenyatta Smith, from Sun Valley, Calif., and Mondou-Missi combine for less minutes played (982) than wing player Wesley Saunders of Los Angeles (1,083) minutes, but they are Harvard’s most productive players on a consistent basis.

Smith, who did not receive scholarship offers from Pac-12 schools, leads the Crimson with a .719 rating in only 384 minutes played. Saunders, who visited Colorado and turned down a scholarship offer from USC, has a .617 rating. Saunders led Harvard with 18 points and four rebounds against New Mexico.

Rivard had 17 points, five rebounds and two steals against the Lobos.

Kevin Parrom is one of eight different Wildcats who have led Arizona in productivity in the last 12 games

Kevin Parrom is one of eight different Wildcats who have led Arizona in productivity in the last 12 games

Arizona, meanwhile, continues to be one of the most balanced teams in the NCAA tournament field. Kevin Parrom is the current productivity rating leader at .604. That can change by each game. Eight different Wildcats have led the UA in productivity in the Wildcats’ last 12 games.

The Wildcats will face a Harvard team that has overcome controversy from the preseason to be a cohesive unit.

The school investigated similarities in answers that more than 100 students submitted in an open-book, take-home final. I did not realize Harvard allowed that in its curriculum. Several of the students were athletes. Amaker’s co-captains — Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry — withdrew from school.

Amaker is afforded the opportunity to recruit a wider range of athlete thanks to recent changes within its entrance requirements.

Harvard determined that any student (not just an athlete) of a family making less than $60,000 would be provided a free education, if they academically qualify.

Students from a family making between $60,000 and $180,000 would be responsible for no more than 10 percent of their income. The change has allowed Amaker to recruit players Harvard could not in years past.


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Solomon Hill is on the brink of joining an elite group of scorers and rebounds in UA history

Solomon Hill needs eight points and three rebounds to join Arizona’s 20-10 Club

Hill is eight points from No. 20 career scoring leader Joe Noels, who had 1,409 points from 1976-80. He is three rebounds shy of No. 10 career rebounding leader Jordan Hill (no relation), who produced 763 from 2006-09.

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


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