Arizona Basketball Mailbag

With Brandon Ashley out for the season, Arizona fans have plenty of questions about the direction the wildcats will go in. Read on to see those questions and the answers we have for them.

Is NJ really hurt, and if so, how bad?

Miller says that Johnson has no wrist injury that he is aware of, but even if he does, it is not major. It may be a little sore, but it is not anything to really be worried about moving forward. Obviously it is something to keep an eye on this week, but nobody seems overly concerned about it.

Is it safe to assume that this will dampen Ashley's desire to go pro this year? Any reason to assume that this will impact AG's NBA decision?

I think that is a safe bet, but you never know. Ashley had plenty of time to keep improving his stock and while the injury is not a long-term concern, that time ran out. I would have leaned towards him going pro before the injury, but it is much harder to do that now. As for Gordon, it means nothing. He is going to be a top ten pick and he is going to go into the draft.

What do you think we have to do rest of the year to keep the #1 seed?

Win. I know it sounds simple. But that's really all it comes down to. If Arizona keeps winning, it will be fine. If it goes on a losing streak or loses a handful of games the rest of the season, it is going to lose the top seed. In reality, I don't think the top seed is the most important thing. If Arizona can be a two seed in the west, there's no issue there. Location is often more important than seed and I don't think that changes this season.

Wouldn't it be wiser to hide the extent of the injury from the committee?

I understand that point of view, but I don't think it matters. He was going to miss every game of the season and even if Arizona hid things, it still would have appeared he was out for the season.

Can Pitts provide meaningful minutes? If not EP, is there anyone or does Miller try to go with a 6 man rotation?

Well, we're going to find out. I think Pitts is good enough to get minutes, but not sure how many. Frankly, I am not sure Sean Miller has a choice. Jordin Mayes is not going to play that many minutes and I think Miller went to Pitts on Saturday because he realizes that. My guess is that the bench rotation will be extended to include Matt Korcheck and Pitts because, again, there just isn't another option that would help Arizona.

With BA injured will Gordon move to the post more?

Similar to the previous answer, that is a move that pretty much needs to happen. Gordon is better than Hollis-Jefferson in the post and, to be realistic, it is his actual position. It just makes sense to make the move and allow Gordon to be closer to the basket, where his rebounding will be even more effective. There may still be some lineups with Gordon at the three, but it is easy to assume he will primarily be a four now.

Not sure you will know, but how do you think the team reacts? Obviously we had NC expectations, so does this team have it in them to still fight for it?

I think Arizona's leadership is much better than it was last season. Nick Johnson has matured a lot in that area, but I really credit T.J. McConnell. I don't think a guy with the personality of McConnell is going to let Arizona get down on itself and thus lose games.

In addition, Miller is going to likely use this as motivation. If Arizona loses some games, I think it will be because of how it plays, not its mentality.


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