3/5 Basketball Notebook

Sean Miller met with the media on Tuesday to discuss numerous topics. Read on for his thoughts on sitting Stanley Johnson, keeping focus, and more.

  • Stanley Johnson was on the bench at the end of the Utah game, but Sean Miller says that is not necessarily because of his own play.

    "I think you just try to do the right thing every day and also on game day, within the framework of a game, what gives you the best opportunity at that moment," Miller said.

    "It’s not as if I intentionally tried to punish anybody. I know it may seem that way, but I think one of the things that happened towards the end of the game is that Gabe York made some incredible plays, not only on offense, but on defense with two terrific shot blocks.

    "Obviously with his experience in those situations, free-throw shooting, inbounding against pressure. He has been there so many times that we rewarded Gabe as opposed to punishing anybody else. Play to win, that’s what you want to do in every situation and in that situation I thought that was our best opportunity."

  • Miller acknowledges that Arizona is playing its best basketball of the season and he points to a few factors as to why that's the case.

    "March is the month you’re judged in college basketball, whether we like it or not," Miller said. "Sometimes you can make the case maybe there is too much emphasis put on what happens this month, but it’s no different than any sport.

    "Part of it is health. Are you healthy? That can change in a given moment, but we have had a good stretch of health and that’s really helped us. We have a number of players that have been in these types of games before. I felt that at Utah and I will continue to feel that moving forward.

    "For every young, inexperienced player we have, we more than make up for it with the number of guys who have been in these situations before. Part of playing well right now is to be locked on not making this too big and yet understanding that everything we do is really important."

  • The bench has played well as of late, which is important considering the nature of college basketball.

    "I think all of our players have had peaks and valleys, which is natural," Miller said. "If you think about it, even T.J. McConnell, who has had an excellent season until this point, earlier in the year he was doing everything but shooting the ball.

    "He really wasn't shooting a lot, he wasn't shooting the percentage he was capable of. Now he is and that’s very helpful. Every guy has had his moments, but that’s why you need more than just a starting lineup. You want to be a team in every sense of that word."

  • Matt Korcheck will play the final regular season game of his career on Saturday and Miller has nothing but positive things to say.

    "I am sure deep down he would like to play more, but we were very honest with Matt at the forefront of his decision to come to Arizona and what his role could be for a three year period of time," he said. "I think Matt always wanted to play in a program that had a chance to win big and play in a very high level of Division I.

    "He clearly could have gone to a number of other schools and maybe had more of an opportunity, but maybe not been a part of back to back Pac-12 championships or the things that maybe are in our future this year. For a kid to really want those types of things, knowing that his role wouldn't be as significant, says a lot about him."

  • “We can’t really control that,” Miller said. “I think if we start thinking in those terms you get away from what’s most important, and that is we have two games at home, and we’re preparing for Cal on Thursday night.

    "If we get too far ahead of ourselves beyond Cal on Thursday night we’re not going to play well and the next thing you know you run into a situation you maybe otherwise could have avoided. Everybody in our conference can beat us. I think we have proven that.

    "It’s so much about the next few days leading to Cal. A number one, two, three you have to have other people lose and you have to win. By the way, it comes to a committee. We could be playing our very best basketball maybe even be playing at a higher level than we were a year ago and not be a one seed and I don’t think that would take away from our ability to be successful in the tournament.

    “In some ways, when you’re not a number one seed, you’re somewhat under the radar, and the easier it is to focus for your team and players, the better.”


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