Tuesday night was a coming out party of sorts for Dusan Ristic, as he finished with 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in addition to blocking two shots in 18 minutes of playing time.
After the game, Sean Miller gave his young freshman high praises after the game.
“You see Dusan and what he’s capable of on offense and it’s impressive,” Miller said. “Now it’s a matter of his defense and rebounding continuing to develop because he’s certainly talented around the rim.
“Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic are two guys that are coming in the game off the bench and I think they can continue to improve and develop and even give us more than they are right now.”
Miller feels Ristic has improved a ton on defense, but still has a ways to go before he reaches his defensive ceiling. He noted that Ristic’s work ethic is going to be the difference maker as to why he becomes a great player.
“He’s really improved a lot on defense, but he still has a long way to go,” Miller said. “We showed him some clips in the Gonzaga game, where that was a much different game than tonight, that the physicality around the basket, rebounding and setting tough screens are some things he didn’t do as good of a job.
“His greatest attribute is his work ethic, he works as hard as anyone in our program and that’s what’s going to eventually bring out the best in him. He has a bright future. This season, he will be called on and 13 points, 7 rebounds tonight, he made it look easy.”
From Ristic’s perspective, this game showed how far he’s come as a player.
“I think I have really improved my defense game,” Ristic said. “I also had to improve my body. Four or five months ago, I was not ready for college basketball, but I am getting better everyday.”
The freshman center credited teammate Kaleb Tarczewski for a large part of his off-season growth on the court.
“Going up against Kaleb is helping me a lot,” Ristic explained. “Kaleb is a great player. He’s huge and he’s strong, which helps me. Playing against him everyday is going to be great for me in the future.”