Ashley looking ahead

Brandon Ashley recently met with the media. Read on to see how he is progressing, what he thinks about next season, and more.

As Brandon Ashley announced that he was coming back next season, you couldn't hope but wonder if the only reason why that is happening is because of his injury.

Instead of wondering that himself, Ashley showed that he was happy for Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson and thus turned his attention to next season.

"I think we are all happy for them," Ashley said. "To leave college and go to the NBA is a big step. I am excited to see what they are going to do next year, so I think we are all just happy for them.

"I thought about it, but before I got hurt it wasn't a for sure thing that I was going to leave and it wasn't for sure that I was going to come back. I'm here where I am today and I am happy that I am coming back next year."

Ashley's injury allowed him to gain a unique perspective on how the game is played.

"It was definitely tough to see your teammates out there battling," he said. "You kind of want to be in the trenches with them, but at the same time they help me out.

"There were times when I was really struggling and down and as soon as I got around my teammates, they really picked me right back up. Cheering them on was an amazing experience and I think sitting on the sideline gave me a different perspective of the game and it made me want to play that much more.

"I just love the game even more and can't wait to get back out there and prove what I can do."

Arizona returns a good chunk of last season's team and will be adding plenty of talent as well, including Stanley Johnson.

"We have some really talented, hard-working guys coming in next year," Ashley said. "As far as Stanley goes, he had a great career and did some amazing things in California.

"Craig Victor and Parker have done a lot, as have all the guys coming in. I am really looking forward to the team that we are going to have next year. Everybody is going to come in and work hard and we're going to accomplish some very good things."

Ashley never allowed himself to look ahead during this past season, but believes that next season's team has a lot of potential.

"We never really pay attention as far as what is coming next year in terms of rankings or anything like that goes, because it is so far away," he said. We literally just finished this season.

"As far as the depth on this team and talent we have, we are really excited. I think we are going to return a team that is either just as good as or possibly better than the one that we had last year."

As much as Ashley wants to look ahead to next season, he also needs to continue to work on getting healthy.

"I am slowly making progress," he said. "At this point there is really no rush. There could be certain times where I can possibly take a step further, but right now I am just happy to be off the crutches and making progress.

"I don't want to rush anything at this point. I want to make sure I am fully recovered and when I get back I am 100 percent, which should be sometime this summer."

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