The Good: Brandon Ashley opened his season with 12 points and 8 rebounds against Charleston Southern. Ashley only needed three field goal attempts to do it, as he went 8-12 from the line and was dominant at times.
Against Long Beach State, Ashley not only played like one of the best freshman in the country, but one of the best players regardless of class. He went a perfect 6-6 from the field and 8-9 from the line on his way to scoring 20 points. In addition, Ashley finished with 10 rebounds and had two blocks as well.
It would have been acceptable if Ashley came out with too much energy in his first road game, but instead he put together a solid game against Texas Tech. Ashley went 4-5 from the field for 12 points in only 22 minutes of action.
Ashley struggled a bit until Arizona's game against Oral Roberts where he went for 14 points. Ashley was 5-6 from the field and 4-6 from the line while adding three blocks. It was the most minutes that Ashley played all season and easily one of his best performances.
In Arizona's next game, Ashley scored 16 points in 22 minutes against an East Tennessee State team that somehow caused Arizona's stars to struggle. Ashley not only led Arizona in scoring that game, but rebounding as well, with 10 boards.
Ashley's defense against San Diego State left something to be desired, but he deserves credit for his offensive performance. Ashley finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Ashley was also able to pick up a three-point play that helped spark an Arizona run that put the Wildcats back in the game.
The Bad: Ashley's first truly bad game of the season came against Southern Miss. He played 18 minutes and only scored one point. Due to the struggles of Ashley and others, Sean Miller made the choice to go small in order to get the win.
Ashley was over-matched against Florida and although he got 22 minutes of action, he was basically a non-factor. Ashley failed to score and had as many fouls as rebounds with three.
The other scoreless game this season for Ashley was against Miami. Although he finished with seven boards, Ashley only played 19 minutes. He shot 0-2 from the field and finished with three fouls and three turnovers.
The Verdict: Ashley is what many should have expected him to be. Freshmen are almost always inconsistent and that is exactly what he has been. At his best, Ashley is one of the best players in the conference. He adds a special element to the Wildcats that a lot of teams can't match up with and Arizona has won a few games because of what he has been able to do. At his worst, Ashley is a confused freshman that finds himself over-matched by veteran players that are simply more consistent than him.
As long as Arizona remains patient with Ashley, and it will, the Wildcats will be rewarded. Eventually, Ashley will become a more consistent player and it won't be a coincidence when Arizona improves because of it.