1/26 Basketball Notebook

Sean Miller was generally happy with how Arizona performed in the Bay Area this past week. Read on for his thoughts on the win over Cal, Stanley Johnson's defensive improvement, and more.

  • Arizona’s offense played well against California, but Sean Miller was not happy with the amount of turnovers in the first half.

    “The offense is coming around,” Miller said. “Uncharacteristically in the first half we turned the ball over a lot and that’s something that we’ve been doing very well.

    “The second half, we didn’t turn the ball over nearly as much and played our typical half. When we take care of the ball right now, we have a lot of good things going on offense. Obviously Stanley Johnson is emerging and he scores within the framework of what we do.”

  • In addition, Arizona’s offense was more successful when it chose to be patient.

    “We weren’t patient enough in the first half and Cal is a hard-playing, very well-coached defensive team,” Miller said. “Their problems aren’t on defense. They’re where they’re supposed to be, play with a lot of energy and effort.

    “They had a great crowd and I thought their guys early played incredible defense, and what we have to do in response to that is move the ball and screen. Sometimes, the clock is going to come into play where we get late into the clock.

    “We’ve made eight passes, nine passes and then we try to attack. If you try to attack one-on-one or on the first couple of passes against that type of defense, you’re not going to look good. A lot of our turnovers came off decision making like that.”

  • Brandon Ashley returned to the scene of last season’s injury and although he did not play well, he was able to get past it.

    “My foot feels how it should feel, so I didn’t think about pain, didn’t think about the injury, other than that’s where I got hurt,” Ashley said.

    “I still had a good time. My team played well and we still got the win. I wish I could have played more, but it’s good to see my team get the two wins.”

    “It matters a lot to me about Brandon,” Miller added. “I wanted him to play a great game in the worst way. Unfortunately foul trouble didn’t allow it to happen, but the good news is Brandon leaves here healthy, and he’s playing some of the best basketball of his career right now.”

  • Dusan Ristic had the best game of his career against California as he continues to display his advanced offensive skill set.

    “Dusan Ristic is continuing to develop,” Miller said. “He looks like a seasoned player on offense and we’ve seen that for some time.

    “What you probably don’t understand as much as I do is he’s gotten better defensively by baby steps and because of that, he now can play in the game.

    “Now, he’s more comfortable on offense and he had 12 big points. The three-point shot he made and what he did in the first half was a big reason we were winning at halftime.”

  • Once again, Arizona dealt with some foul trouble and Miller believes the coaching staff needs to work with player to avoid those situations.

    “That’s something we have to adjust,” he said. “Some of the fouls that Brandon and Kaleb committed, we have to help them along to understand ‘I have two fouls, I’m not going to commit my third this way.’

    “Some of the things we’re doing defensively, making sure the details of it are in place. No team wants to overcome foul trouble like we did on the road. I think it’s to our credit we were able to do that, but we don’t want that to be a habit.”

  • It’s no surprise that Stanley Johnson is having so much success on offense, but his progress on defense may be a bit unnoticed right now.

    “Stanley’s improving on defense,” Miller said. “He now has 60 practices, 20 games under his belt and he’s gone through several conference games now. Every time he does something now I think he’s more responsible and better prepared and that’s a bigger part of our improvement moving forward.”

  • Wildcat Authority Top Stories