Parker Jackson-Cartwright has big shoes to fill

Parker Jackson-Cartwright discusses having to fill the void created by T.J. McConnell's departure.

Returning sophomore Parker Jackson Cartwright has been given the keys to Arizona’s offense and he has a hefty amount of expectations placed on him.

Playing behind Arizona standout T.J. McConnell gave the young Cartwright a unique perspective on how to handle leading this team.

“T.J. was class act and a great player,” Cartwright said. “Learning under him really helped me better myself on and off the court. T.J. was really a great teammate to have.

“I was able to learn so much playing behind T.J. last season. I furthered my knowledge of the offense and worked on my physical tools too. Everything I did last season was in preparation for now.”

Everything that McConnell built holds tremendous value within the program and amongst the fans, but McConnell’s legacy will not dictate anything about Cartwright’s play.

“A lot of people have asked me if I feel any pressure to follow in T.J.’s footsteps and I don’t,” Cartwright said. “There are too many great point guards to really compare each and every one.

“TJ did a lot of great things for us last year, but I am coming out here this season just looking to be me. There were some aspects of the game I am carrying over from T.J., but it’s all me this year.”

Arizona has a lot of questions marks surrounding it. One of the bigger unknowns is how Sean Miller will distribute the minutes between the point guards and combo guards on the roster.

JUCO transfer Kadeem Allen, senior Gabe York and freshman point guard Justin Simon are all competing with Jackson-Cartwright for minutes at the point.

“There’s a ton of talented guards here, but the focus isn’t on minutes," Jackson-Cartwright said. "We just want to win. Kadeem has done some nice work at the one, so has Gabe, and we’re all excited about Justin, too.

"The goal is to work hard in practice and get better every time you leave the gym. Coach will figure out what is best for the team.”

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