Power forwards: Strengths and Weaknesses

We continues our series of looking at Arizona's strengths and weaknesses with a closer look at the power forwards. Read on to see our breakdown of Brandon Ashley and Craig Victor.

We continue to look at the strengths and weaknesses of every position in order to get a closer look at what every player needs to improve on before next season starts. The following is for players that are likely to get minutes at power forward:

Brandon Ashley:

Strengths: Ashley has come a long way since his freshman season, but the biggest strength and improvement he showed was in his extended range. Ashley was basically as good of a three-point shooter as Elliott Pitts, as he went 11-29 from behind the arc. The season before, Ashley was 3-3 from that range, so you can make the argument that one of the biggest changes there is a total increase in confidence and the freedom to take that shot.

In addition, Ashley is seemingly a smart player. He turns the ball over less than two times per game and does not seem to struggle with his decision-making. That does not mean he is perfect by any means, but more often than not, Ashley is making the right decision, especially in the post.

One of the reasons why he is able to make the right decision is because he is much more aggressive when he gets the ball. Again, we can point to the increased level of confidence, but Ashley is a player that gets the ball and knows what he wants to do with it, which is obviously important.

Weaknesses: There were numerous instances in which it looked like Ashley forgot what position he is. Yes, Ashley is skilled, but you can't come up with more than one good reason why he should be dribbling up the court. When he decided to do so, you could hear the collective sigh from Arizona fans wondering why he was doing it.

There were also instances in which Ashley chose to settle for the long jumper instead of getting closer to the hoop and doing what he does best. His shot has improved and it is difficult to deny that, but he sometimes became too reliant on that jumper when he could have chosen to get into the lane and take a better percentage shot.

It may not be a weakness, but we also have to talk about Ashley's healthy. His injury is obviously a big one and it is not something that is common with him, but until we know how he recovers, it makes sense for there to be some hesitance about it. We do expect Ashley to recover and return to form, but until we see that happen there are going to be some questions.

Craig Victor:

Strengths: Physically, Victor is probably ready for college right now. He doesn't get pushed around, has good enough height for the college level, and is able to get into the post and establish himself.

Victor uses that body to show his strength on the glass and has become a very effective rebounder. In fact, it is probably the best part of his game right now and he seems to get into a rhythm once he starts to consistently grab rebounds.

Offensively, Victor has developed a face up jumper and seems comfortable making them from about 12-15 feet. He has developed that as one of the most consistent parts of his offensive game in addition to scoring close to the basket.

On defense, Victor's strength serves him well, as he is a strong post defender that is difficult to back down on the block. Once Victor gets his position, he does not give it up much and has gotten better as a player that is able to capitalize on the opponent's mistake and block some shots because of it.

Weaknesses: Victor is not an athlete by any means and it is probably going to wind up holding him back a bit. As we sad above, he knows how to use his body, but that is limited a bit because he is not going to jump out of the gym or sky above other players to grab a rebound. There is only so much he will be able to do offensively because of that lack of athleticism.

Also, while Victor has increased his range, we would be surprised if he ever became a legitimate shooter. There's nothing wrong with being able to hit a mid-range jumper, but this is not going to be a situation like Ashley's in which he can eventually step behind the line and become a solid three-point shooter.

Basically, Victor is what he is. He may improve some, but this is not a player that has a high ceiling. He is going to come in and work hard while probably being able to develop some. It would be a major surprise if Victor winds up in the NBA and you can look at that as a negative or a positive in the sense that he is going to be a four year player.


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