Parker Jackson-Cartwright's role was a bit of an unknown coming into the season, but his confidence and ability have gone a long way towards getting him legitimate playing time.
"He’s coming in the game with confidence, which is great," Sean Miller said. "He’s making plays, so it’s not as if we are in a holding pattern waiting for T.J. to re-enter the game.
"When Parker is in, a lot of good things have happened. As he continues to develop on defense, I think not only can his role grow a bit, but I think he can be even more effective."
Although the game experience has helped Jackson-Cartwright to improve, Miller believes that practice has had its benefits as well.
"I always looked at this first year having him in the role that he has could bring out the best in him and put him in the right position," Miller said.
"In terms of his future here at Arizona, it is really important and it is very bright. I think a lot of the things he will learn this year have nothing to do with the games and everything to do with what he goes through every day in practice."
Jackson-Cartwright might be small, but he chooses to use that to his strength rather than disadvantage.
"It’s never really bothered me," Jackson-Cartwright said. "It is one of the good things about my game. I can kind of just attack the defense and maneuver around the big guys and make baskets."
It also helps that he has become much more physically mature than when he first arrived at Arizona.
"He’s always been small and he is used to it," Miller said. "He’s working hard in the weight room. Physically he is a small guy, but he is much stronger now than he was when he came to Arizona.
"He’s heavier right now than he has probably ever been in his life. He is only going to get strong and he is only going to get bigger as he gets older."
Not only has Jackson-Cartwright gotten better physically, but he is also becoming a better basketball player as well.
"I hold myself to a high standard on making plays for my teammates and my teammates have put me in a great position to do that so far," he said.
" I have improved in knowing when to attack and knowing when to pull back and maybe shoot the jumper or dish it out and make a pass. I can’t always go in there and look to finish, I have to be smart about it."
Jackson-Cartwright has 23 assists to only four turnovers and admits that his success has even surprised him at times.
"It’s not easy coming in and trying to produce at a high level as a freshman, but I honor the process every day," Jackson-Cartwright said. 'I am all in with my teammates and I just listen to my coaches and my teammates put me in a great position to do what I do."