Former coach expects Ashley to thrive

Brandon Ashley is coming in as a freshman that is expected to have a strong season. Read on to see what his former Findlay Prep coach says about Ashley's future, strengths, and much more.

Brandon Ashley arrived at the University of Arizona with two distinct honors: he was arguably the highest rated player to ever sign with the school and the UA coaching staff spent more time recruiting him than any other player to date.

While many prospects might struggle under the weight of such expectations, Ashley's assistant high school coach, Todd Simon, expects him to thrive.

"There is obviously a transition that every kid must make to become a solid Division One basketball player," Simon said. "But Brandon is a very unique kid.

"When he got here he was pretty thin and lacking the strength he was going to need for college. But his body really took to weight training, and he put on an impressive amount of weight in a short period of time here. I'm sure that trend has continued at Arizona."

The Findlay staff doesn't believe in assigning players set positions, but Simon wants to see how the UA staff utilizes Ashley's skills.

"I'm very interested to see how they use him this year," Simon said. "He gives you tremendous lineup flexibility because he's such a talented kid.

"He's got long arms, great body control, and can defend a variety of positions. He can also post up and shoot from the perimeter and he's become much better at putting the ball on the floor. With the kind of kids they're bringing in, you could easily see an NBA-sized lineup."

In addition, Simon believes that Ashley has adapted to the players around him.

"The other thing that really sticks out from his time here was that he got much better at dealing with length," Simon said. "He really started to master body positioning and maneuvering around the hoop so his shot wasn't blocked.

"A lot of elite talents like Brandon struggle initially dealing with long players, but he got to the point where he really thrived going against bigger guys."

Even though Simon isn't coaching Ashley anymore, he plans on following the UA freshman's progress closely.

"He's one of those kids you just want to see succeed," Simon said. "He's got a great head on his shoulders and is a joy to be around. You know he will work his butt off everyday in-season and off-season to get the most out his ability.

"Sean Miller made him a top priority and I'm sure he's happy with what he's seen. Arizona got a good one."

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