The Arizona Wildcats basketball team sits atop the Pac-12 standings with only four regular-season games remaining, but it got some unfortunate news on Wednesday.
Coach Sean Miller said, “Elliott has stepped away from our team for personal reasons,” when discussing guard Elliott Pitts, per Zack Rosenblatt of the Arizona Daily Star. Rosenblatt noted Pitts will miss the rest of the year.
Jason Scheer of WildcatAuthority.com added, “Miller says it was Pitts’ choice, but did not elaborate on if he would be back next season.”
If Pitts did return, the 2016-17 campaign would be his senior season.
Miller elaborated further on the decision-making process, per Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star: “Him and I both felt that it would be in his best interest to focus on the task at hand academically and obviously remain here at the University of Arizona and finish his academic work.”
Pitts has not appeared in a game since Dec. 5 against Gonzaga when he notched two points and three rebounds in a 68-63 victory. He also wasn’t on the bench during Wednesday’s 99-61 win over in-state rival Arizona State.
Pitts appeared in seven games this season and posted 2.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per night. He only shot 12.5 percent from three-point range and 26.9 percent from the field, which is a far cry from the 36.5 percent he shot from downtown last season as a contributor off the bench.
Considering Pitts hasn’t played in a game since early December, this isn’t a particularly crippling loss for the Wildcats. Arizona is riding a six-game winning streak and doesn’t face another currently ranked foe for the rest of the regular season as it looks to hold on to its half-game lead in the Pac-12 (Arizona is 10-4 and Oregon is 9-4).
Miller also has a handful of options in the backcourt at his disposal, including Allonzo Trier, Gabe York, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Kadeem Allen. As of Wednesday, York was second on the team with 14.8 points a night, and Trier was third with 14.5. What’s more, Jackson-Cartwright was shooting 36.8 percent from three-point range, while Allen was shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.
Pitts was expected to play a role on this team before the campaign started, but Arizona has found its rotation without him and has more than enough pieces to continue winning as Selection Sunday approaches.