RELATED: The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy compares Brandon Ashley’s injury to that of Kenyon Martin, a late-season unfortunate incident that might affect a team’s title run.
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The official news today about Brandon Ashley’s season-ending foot injury may also signal the end of his collegiate career.
Ashley is a potential NBA draft pick come June, although this injury, a broken right foot, might affect his status with NBA scouts.
ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford rated Ashley a late-first round prospect before Ashley suffered the injury Saturday night at Cal. Ford lists Ashley’s strengths as being long, athletic and bouncy. He writes that Ashley is an excellent shot-blocker and is improving his long-range jump shot.
DraftExpress.com, however, has not listed Ashley in the first two rounds of its 2014 mock draft. The Web site was highly crtical of Ashley’s performance in the Under-19 World Championship tryout last summer. That’s the team in which Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon earned MVP honors.
Jonathon Givony, the lead analyst for DraftExpress.com, wrote about Ashley: “Not quite strong, aggressive or tough enough to bang with the other post players down low, but not skilled enough to spend as much time on the perimeter as he seems fond of, Ashley is very much stuck in between positions at the moment.”
Ashley (6’8″ and 235 pounds) evolved into one of Arizona’s most productive players this season averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. He blocked 16 shots and shot 75.7 percent from the free-throw line.
He played with more of an aggressive edge and scrapped inside for rebounds. He also showed the ability to knock down a mid-range jumper.
Was it enough to sway the opinion of scouts, especially with the season only about a halfway over?
If Ashley deems it necessary to return for his junior season after rehabilitating his foot, he may improve his draft status with an All-Pac-12 type of season. He did not reach that level before Saturday’s injury.
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Sean Miller on Ashley out 4 yr: Hottest heat forges strongest steel. Adversity will ultimately make Brandon & our team stronger moving 4ward
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) February 3, 2014
Arizona’s inside game would welcome the return of Kaleb Tarczewski and Ashley for the 2014-15 season.
If Tarczewski and Ashley leave for the NBA after this season, Sean Miller’s interior personnel will consist of incoming recruit Craig Victor and little-used forwards Zach Peters and Matt Korcheck.
Aaron Gordon is expected to enter the NBA draft after this season.
BRANDON ASHLEY ARIZONA STATS
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