Arizona Basketball: Final Regular Season Grades for Wildcats
Arizona Basketball stands at 24-6 and finished fourth in the Pac-12. Starting the season, the Pac-12 standing may have been a disappointment, but the overall record is still quite impressive.
The season has been a roller coaster. It started off as one of the best in school history, with 14 wins under the belt before the first loss. During that streak, they beat ranked Florida, San Diego State and whipped the Miami Hurricanes.
Then the drudgery of the Pac-12 season set in and the roller coaster started to descend. They took two losses in the next four and then reeled off four straight wins. Then consecutive losses, three straight wins, and consecutive losses once more.
Like the team, many of the players' season has mirrored a roller coaster. Ups and downs have faced each player with no exceptions. This list grades each player after a full 2012-13 regular season under the belt.
Stats: 5.9 mins, 2.6 points, .419 FG%, .348 3P%, .04 rebounds per game, 0.6 assists
Gabe York had no chance to play the entire season. When he came in he played well, but he just didn't play that much. For this reason, it would be unfair to pass out a grade.
*As a side note: I think I might be the only person extremely about York's future. I think that one day, he is going to be a star for the Wildcats.
Stats: 8.8 mins, 1.9 points, .432 FG%, 2.1 rebounds, 0.3 blocks
Angelo Chol rode the bench the entire season. When Miller allowed Chol to play, he was was quickly pulled the game. Often times Chol was a better matchup, was playing better basketball, or the team played better when he was in, yet Tarczewski always got the nod.
It was an interesting dynamic to watch as the season progressed. Chol was totally phased out of any quality minutes. Chol can't be judged on his lack of playing time. He should be judged on the way he played with those minutes.
When he changed the complexion of the team because of his athletic ability. He plays good defense and rebounds well. He offensive game regressed, as he would rush and take poor shots. He is however, a better finisher than Tarczewski and for that reason alone, scored some easy baskets.
All in all Chol had somewhat of a disappointing season after the way he performed last season. This disappointment is reduced somewhat because of Miller's undying devotion to Tarczewski, but Chol was still expected to do more.
Stats: 11.6 mins, 2.6 points, .347 FG%, .273 3P%, 1.0 assists, .08 TO
Much like Chol, Jordan Mayes had little opportunity to show his worth. Coach Sean Miller never allowed Mayes to get into a rhythm before he was yanked. As a result, his play was tense, forced and timid throughout the season.
But you can't blame all of the poor play on Miller. A guy needs to step up. For most of the season Mayes did not. If grades were passed out in February, Mayes would have not have received a passing mark.
His play to finish the year, when he actually got some minutes, was good. He filled in solidly for Lyons against UCLA and ASU. He actually outplayed Lyons by a mile against UCLA.
Because he had little opportunity before this point, on the basis of those two grade, Mayes moves himself in to the C range.
Stats: 18.1 mins, 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, .40 FG%, .406 3P%
Grant Jerrett is going to be a star. I swear he his. I can see it every time he shoots the ball, makes a passes or handles the ball at 6'10''. It is going to happen. It just hasn't happened so far.
His game and his skills haven’t translated yet. The reason is his confidence.
With Jerrett, it is all about confidence. In particular, finding and knowing his role on the team. With such a deep roster, Jerrett hasn’t found this role quite yet. When he does, watch out. He will be all over the court, both offensively and defensively. He will be shooting, boarding, facilitating, and eventually, dominating.
HIs game against UCLA was an example of what he’ll be once he finds his place. Maybe it was him finally finding his role on the team. If so, the Wildcats instantly become better. This bodes well for both, the Pac 12 and NCAA tournament, but time will tell.
Overall, Jerrett has played well, but has never been dominant.
Stats: 21.7 mins, 6.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, .526 FG%
Kaleb Tarczewski came in as the nation's fourth-rated player and expectations were obviously sky high. An unbiased onlooker would have to say that he has not met those expectations.
Averaging less than seven points, he hasn't been the force that the great freshmen have been. He has looked overmatched and daunted by the speed and size of the college game. At many junctures during the season, he has even been a liability on the court.
But Miller has stuck by his side. Over the past few weeks, it seems that Miller's loyalty has paid off. It is undeniable that his play has been markedly improved. He approached double digits in scoring nearly every game and his rebounding has remained very good.
Tarczewski’s progression has been slow. Very slow. Yet it has been steady. but as he continues to adjust to the college game over the next couple of years, he's going to be one of the best centers in the history of the program. This year, however, because expectations were so high, Tarczewski's grade is just above average.
Stats: 20.7 mins, 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 0.5 steals, 0.6 assists, .528 FG%
To start the season, Brandon Ashley quickly out-paced the freshmen pack. He put up one of the first freshmen double doubles in years and replaced Jerrett in the starting lineup while playing very well.
While his play plateaued early on, he has been steady. He has scored in double figures a team-high 12 times, has consistently rebounded the ball well and made contributions throughout the season.
In the few weeks, Ashley has not played as well, averaging fewer than four points in the last four games, but that is not uncommon for a freshman.
Because he has played the best, and came in as the lowest recruit of the big three, Ashley gets the best mark.
Stats: 23.8 mins, 8.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 TO, .495 FG%, .409 3P%
Kevin Parrom's numbers don’t do him justice and they don’t tell his story. Looking at his stats, they really don’t impress anybody.
But if you’ve watched closely, Parrom's play late in the season has been clutch for the team. When the Wildcats have needed to extend their lead or close a gap, it is Parrom who has knocked down the three-point shot.
When shots aren't falling and Arizona can't score a bucket, like they have most of the season, it always seems to be Parrom who grabs an offensive rebound and scores an easy bucket under the hoop. He has moved into the starting lineup for the last several games precisely because of these things.
As the real heart of the team with his grit, fire and nastiness, Parrom is Arizona's X-Factor. His numbers might not say it, but he makes such a huge difference for the Wildcats.
With all the positives, Parrom does take several bad shots a game and has his fair share of turnovers. It is an odd combination to have in one player, but because Parrom does all the little things and his expectations weren’t all that high, his senior campaign receives a good score.
Stats: 31.0 mins, 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, .447 FG%, .351 3P%
Through January of this season, Nick Johnson looked like Arizona's go-to scorer and defender. He was confident, played with aggression and produced. Only three times in 20 games did Johnson score less than 10 points and he was averaging more than 13 points a game.
Johnson really started to find his groove to open the Pac-12 season. Starting with Arizona's game against Oregon, he scored 12 points and then 14, 19, 23, 14, and 15 in his next four.
However, as the Pac 12 season progressed, Johnson's production dwindled. The turning point seem to come against Washington State. In the 10 games since, he has scored in double figures just three times. Twice he scored only four points, and one game, he only managed two.
For some reason, Johnson's groove is missing. He is not looking for his shot and is starting to seem as timid as last year. Hopefully, this trend reverses. He is the most important piece of Sean Miller's attack outside of Solomon Hill.
If the Wildcats are to have a successful NCAA tournament, Johnson's early season temperament and play must return. If not, it will be difficult for the Wildcats to win any games moving forward.
Stats: 29.7 mins, 14.9 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 TO, .417 FG%, .331 3P%, .850 FT%
At the beginning of the season, Mark Lyons' leadership ability and point guard skills were both questioned, but he had nothing but answers as Lyons started the season on fire.
Against Florida, the fifth-ranked team in the nation, he stepped up and hit one of the best game-winners of the season. When the offense had trouble against San Diego State and the Wildcats were down eight, Lyons got it going and knocked down two late free throws to beat the Aztecs.
If Lyons could have continued his early-season heroics he assuredly would have earned an A, but his play did not remain at such a high clip.
As the season has progressed, Lyons' play has regressed. His turnovers have increased and his points have decreased, along with his field goal percentage. His shot selection and decision-making have not been good.
Despite his dropoff, Lyons has filled an incredibly big gap. With Josiah Turner’s sanctimonious departure at the end of last season, the Wildcats were left without a point guard. To have a tough-minded senior seamlessly fill that void has helped get the Wildcats to where they are at this point.
Lyons' play has been up-and-down, but it is unquestionable that his presence has been a blessing for the Wildcats. If he can cut down his bad shots and turnovers, his experience in the Big Dance will be worth its weight in gold.
Stats: 33.0 mins, 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, .453 FG%, .384 3P%
While many of his teammates have had bright spots during their season, Solomon Hill is Arizona's best player. Hill has been consistently good throughout. He may not have earned what was expected of him when so many were praising him with preseason Pac-12 POY honors, but he still looks to be an All-Pac-12 performer.
Like all of his previous seasons, Hill has done a little bit of everything: scoring, rebounding, passing and playing solid defense on multiple positions. In only six games out of 30 has Hill failed to register double digits, reaching that total during 15 straight at one point.
My only gripe with Hill is that he disappears too often during games and isn’t always pushing the throttle. Hill needs to be more selfish. He should be taking more shots. When he does, the team is far superior to the Arizona team that plays without his aggression.
But taking the season as a whole, Hill has done so much. His leadership is unquestioned and he’s the player who every coach wants to have as a part of his unit. He has been the glue that has kept this young team together.
As a final note, in his career, Hill has accumulated 1,384 points, 750 rebounds, 293 assists, and most importantly, 93 wins. Very few Wildcat players have put together this type of resume and his legacy as a Wildcat is strong. Hopefully, he can cap it off with another deep run into the tournament.