Arizona Basketball

McConnell joins distinguished list of Arizona players with triple-double in NBA

Something about backups in Philadelphia who hail from Arizona, right?

Reserve 76ers point guard T.J. McConnell, a fan favorite in Tucson similar to Eagles backup quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, is halfway to the number of triple-doubles the almighty Mike Bibby had in his 14-year NBA career.

Bibby, the No. 2 pick overall in the 1998 NBA draft, finished with two. McConnell, in his third season as an undrafted player, recorded his first career triple-double Monday night in a 108-92 win over the New York Knicks. He finished with 10 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

McConnell has equaled the amount of triple-doubles 19-year NBA veteran Jason Terry and 17-year pro Richard Jefferson have achieved. He has the distinction of being the first Sean Miller-coached player at Arizona to have a triple-double. The irony: McConnell is the opposite of the one-and-done talent Miller attracts.

McConnell joins other former Arizona players who have recorded a triple-double in the NBA, including Andre Iguodala (with nine), Damon Stoudamire (six) and Gilbert Arenas (four). Iguodala also has the most triple-doubles during an Arizona career with three.

Sean Elliott and Chris Mills never had a triple-double in the NBA. McConnell’s 76ers teammate Jerryd Bayless, a first-round pick in 2008 out of Arizona, does not have one as well.

Only seven former Arizona players have recorded a triple-double at the highest level and McConnell is one of them.

The Pittsburgh native — where Miller is from — is the first 76er to record a triple-double off the bench since 1963-64. According to Basketball-Reference, McConnell is only the 25th player to post a triple-double in a reserve role since 1963-64.

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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