Arizona Basketball: Pass/Fail for Each Player Based on 2013 Expectations
Arizona basketball is sputtering along in its otherwise stellar season. They have lost two of four and fell to 12th in the rankings. The offense is terrible, the defense is spotty, but the Wildcats are still in the Pac-12 race.
The reason for the recent slide is the inconsistency of some of the Wildcats players. The performances of the Wildcats' individuals has risen and fallen as the season has progressed. And after 25 games, it is a good time to pass out pass/fails for each of the Wildcats significant contributors.
Let's look at how each player has lived up to the expectations of the 2012-13 season.
All stats via ESPN.com.
Gabe York: Pass
Gabe York came into the season as the fourth-best player in Arizona's freshman cast on an already loaded roster. So I can't hold his lack of playing time against him.
On top of this, when he actually gets a chance to play, he plays well. He is aggressive, finds his shot, and has knocked down a good percentage of of his field goals from both two and three-point range.
York is going to be a fun guy to watch in the next couple of years. However this year, he must get used to riding the pine. Because his expectations weren't real high, this is good enough for a pass.
Angelo Chol: Pass
About two weeks ago, after another Kaleb Tarczewski fumbled pass, Sean Miller might have thought to himself: "I wish I still had Angelo Chol." Then he looked down his bench and who did he see? Angelo Chol.
Out of nowhere Chol played 24 minutes against Stanford, 20 against Colorado and then 10 against Utah. In each of those contests Chol has produced. He can score, he plays good defense, and he increases the level of intensity while on the court.
Chol had a very promising freshman campaign and where he showed flashes of brilliance every few games. Expectations for him were high from most Arizona fans. But for some reason he just hasn't gotten off the bench this season.
I blame it on Miller's love affair with Tarczewski and not some problem Chol has created. For this reason, Chol gets a pass as well.
Jordin Mayes: Fail
Somewhere after his freshman year Jordin Mayes forgot how to play basketball. During his freshman season, Mayes shot 45 percent from three-point range and 44 percent from the field. These are great numbers.
But they have dropped dramatically ever since. This season he is shooting a dreadful 23 percent from three and only 31 percent overall. This are terrible numbers.
Mayes was slotted to come in as a junior leader on a great team but he has been far from it. He looks lost and scared when he gets on the court.
He makes no contribution when he enters the game. He hasn't scored more than four points since before Christmas and has two assists in his last six games.
Jordin Mayes has sorely disappointed this season and most definitely receives a failing grade.
Grant Jerrett: Fail
Grant Jerrett came into the 2012-13 season as ESPN's ninth-rated player overall. He has not lived up to the hype.
He averages less than five points per game and less than four rebounds. For a guy who is 6'10'' and can shoot the way he does, it doesn't make sense how he has such low numbers. He should be getting a lot more than he does.
Jerrett is a year away from being a force on the court and waiting for a breakout performance is an exercise in futility. He just isn't ready. Some time and maturity will do him good.
Moving forward I think Jerrett is going to be incredible. Once he gets comfortable, he is going to be a force offensively. But this is a grade for the current season and therefore must be given a fail.
Kaleb Tarczewski: Fail
Kaleb Tarczewski was rated as high as any player in the history of the program. ESPN pinned him as the fourth-best player in a very highly regarded class. Expectations for Zeus have been very high to say the least.
His performance on the court has been less than satisfying. He is averaging on six points a game, 5.4 rebounds, and less than a full block.This just isn't what was expected.
For some perspective, there were three centers ranked near Tarczewski coming out of high school. Nerlen Noel, the top ranked player in 2012, is averaging 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.4 blocks per game, 2.1 steals and 1.6 assists.
Isaiah Austin, who was ranked third, is averaging 13.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, and 1.4 blocks. Steven Adams, who was ranked sixth, is averaging 7 points a game, 6.5 boards, and two blocks. Tarczewski just doesn't stack up.
Additionally, he isn't getting better. Since a streak of three straight double figure performances, Zeus has averaged 5.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and nearly two turnovers. His hands continue to be an issue and he looks like is light years away from settling into the college game.
Maybe expectations were impossibly high for Tarczewski this season. Maybe he isn't the player all the rankings said he would be, but that doesn't change the fact he has been a serious disappointment. He receives a failing grade.
Brandon Ashely: Pass
Brandon Ashley was not rated quite as high a Jerrett and no where near Ashley coming out of high school. As the 16th-rated player in the class, expectations were high, but can't be considered as lofty as the other two players.
And of the three, Ashley has been far and away the best. He has been the highest scoring, the highest rebounding, he plays the most minutes and is the most consistent. At the beginning of the season he was the most college ready and he has made the most progress.
Ashley may not be a superstar this early in his career, but he wasn't expected to be. But what should excite Wildcat fans is that Ashley has shown enough potential that it seems like he eventually will come a star.
Ashley is the best of all the freshman and assuredly gets a passing mark.
Kevin Parrom: Pass
Kevin Parrom is not expected to be the best player on the team, or the go-to scorer, the star-stopping defender, or really the best at anything on the team. What he is expected to do is to come into the game and make an impact. And this he does very well.
Parrom is a savvy player who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. On so many occasions, he has grabbed an offensive rebound a very meaningful possession and turned the tide for the Wildcats. He is in many ways an x-factor.
With all those good things being said, Parrom does take his fair share of really (really) bad shots. Too many times he pulls up in transition from four or five feet beyond the three point line. The Wildcats aren't good enough to give away possessions land as a senior, Parrom should understand this.
All things considered, Parrom is a huge part of the team's success and his expectations are not great. Parrom receives a passing mark.
Mark Lyons: Pass
Where would this Wildcats team be without Mark Lyons? Thank goodness this guy transfered. From the start of the season through 25 games, Lyons has been Arizona's best player. He is consistently been the guy to bail the team out of whatever jam they may be in.
Coming into the season many questioned whether Lyons would be a good fit. He has responded by leading the team in points (scoring more than 15 per contest), and in assists at 3.2 a game. He has scored in double figures 20 times and 20 points or more six times.
He has knocked down clutch shots to beat great teams and is always the player to get the team going. While his leadership was questioned, Lyons walked into Tucson has been great. He easily rises to the top of the class with his passing grade.
Nick Johnson: Pass
Nick Johnson has put together a very successful sophomore campaign. He does a little of everything. He scores almost 12 points a game, grabs 3.6 rebounds, assists on three buckets a contest, and averages 2.2 steals a game.
While his season has been very good, there has been a curious and troubling trend to the last five games. In the first 20 games, Johnson scored less than 10 points only three times. In his last five games, he hasn't reached double figure once and is averaging 5.6 points a game. In those same five, he has only attempted 5.2 shots per game.
This has been Johnson trouble throughout his career. When he is not feeling confident, he just doesn't shoot. He is content letting the other players get the action and he disappears. And he has been gone for the last five games.
At this juncture in the season Johnson gets a passing grade, but if this trends continues, his grade will eventually be adjusted to a fail. Simply put: he needs to do more.
Solomon Hill: Pass
Solomon Hill's expectations coming into the year were significant. He was picked by many publications to be the Pac-12 player of the year, he was leading a team stacked with talent, and he was the guy to lead this team to the promised land.
While he has received some help from transfer Mark Lyons, Hill has played solid enough ball to put the Wildcats in the position they are in now (21-4, ranked 12th).
Hill has put up good numbers and his play has been incredibly consistent. He has scored in double figures 14 game in a row. He has more than three rebounds in all but one game. He has at least one assist in every game but one.
Hill has put together a good season where in second on the team in scoring, second in rebounding, third in assists, near the top in all shooting categories. It is safe to say Hill too receives a passing grade.