Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Miller’s team shows resourcefulness again when challenged


LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Arizona coach Sean Miller’s team was challenged well into the second half in the last two games against Northern Colorado and Santa Clara, two teams that will not be of the same ilk as Pac-12 foes UCLA, Oregon, USC and Colorado.

Rather than have a look of despair, Miller was upbeat and optimistic about where the Wildcats stand, at 5-0 heading into tonight’s championship game against Butler (also 5-0) in the Continental Tire Invitational at Orleans Casino Arena.

Kobi Simmons spots up for one of his three made 3-point attempts against Santa Clara on Thursday (Robert Scot/Virl Video)

Kobi Simmons spots up for one of his three made 3-point attempts against Santa Clara on Thursday (Robert Scot/Virl Video)

“Every game for us is going to be a tough game (because) right now, we have, it’s been pretty well-documented, we have a lot of new faces and roles,” Miller said after Thursday night’s 69-61 win over Santa Clara.

“It was a great challenge and they played a 3-2 (matchup) zone for 40 minutes. For a young group like ours, we had a our moments when we did a really nice job. It was good to see our 3-point percentage, 9 for 18.”

Arizona has shown its resourcefulness with freshman guard Kobi Simmons making all three of his 3-pointers to soften the zone.

The starting backcourt of Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Kadeem Allen, who for the most part struggled against the Broncos, made 3 of their 6 attempts from 3-point range.

Also, five games into the season Arizona has now featured a different productivity leader in each game. Last night’s productivity standout was reserve forward Keanu Pinder, who finished with a 1.000 rating in 12 minutes.

Lauri Markkanen continues to be Arizona's production leader overall through five games (Robert Scot/Virl Video)

Lauri Markkanen continues to be Arizona’s production leader overall through five games (Robert Scot/Virl Video)

He made his only field goal attempt, both free throw attempts, grabbed five rebounds, and had two blocked shots and a steal. Aside from his three turnovers, Pinder was a beast. To put it into context of a 40-minute performance, Pinder would have finished with about 13 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocked shots and three steals.

Chance Comanche finished with an .800 rating in his 10 minutes. He remains Arizona’s second-leading production player with a season rating of .667.

“We talked after the game that we need each of those guys to play well,” Miller said of his present eight-man rotation. “Chance did not play as many minutes tonight (with 10). That was more of a function of how they spread you out.

“But in the minutes he played he did some great things. He had four rebounds and five points. During that one stretch when we had him and Dusan (Ristic) in there together, they did a really good job against the zone together.”

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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FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.


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