Wildcats keeping their identity

Despite losing Brandon Ashley, Arizona has kept its identity. Read on to see what that identity is and why it is so important.

Brandon Ashley may be done for the season, but Arizona certainly is not. As the Wildcats move forward, its overall identity remains clear.

Sean Miller has made sure that Arizona is a strong team both defensively and on the glass. With the loss of Ashley, some responsibilities have changed, but the overall identity has not.

"At times our guards, we have to rebound as a true team," Miller said. "We are not as talented or long as we once were rebounding.

"Brandon's length, size, depth, as a guard sometimes you could almost rely on them to get a rebound. Now our guards, and a lot of teams do this, have to get in there and block out and get the long ones."

Miller is confident that Arizona can still be just as strong at rebounding because of its ability to do it as a unit.

"I believe that we can still be a very good rebounding team," he said. "All of us as a team can control the defensive boards, because if you take five guys and you block out and you're determined, you can keep that other team off the glass. If we wouldn't have beaten Oregon, that was the reason we would have lost."

One player that has stepped up in Ashley's absence is Elliott Pitts and once again, Miller turns the attention to how well he has played on defense.

"Elliott has done a real good job in the three games that he played," he said. "We've talked to him about being aggressive and he gives us another shooter, opens the court up, and gives us a different look for sure.

"The thing that I am most proud of with him is that he has really battled defensively. It's the thing I love about him. As a young player, he is ahead of the curve for defense. Seeing him being responsible and contribute as much on defense as he did I think is a good sign for us and him moving forward."

One aspect of Arizona's identity Miller may not talk about much is how each player seems willing to do what is best for the Wildcats.

"Rondae and Aaron have been there the whole year," Miller said. "You forget sometimes these guys are in their first year. Aaron and Rondae are the two players that have had to adjust more than any other players on our team to playing without Brandon.

"Aaron no longer plays any three. He did it the whole year not only in games, but in practice and Rondae is playing more four now than he ever has."

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