Saturday’s win over UNLV was a break out game for Dusan Ristic, as he finished with a career high 20 points, including 16 in the first half.
“I just did what I do every day,” Ristic said. “I worked hard this past summer and I will continue to work hard and be an important part of this team.”
Ristic’s emergence can be traced back to the summer, but his change in attitude is much more recent.
“Dusan just about a week ago or two weeks ago was really searching for his confidence,” Sean Miller said. “He wasn't as confident as he was tonight.
“The way you get out of that is you work together with our coaching staff and teammates, you put your nose to the grindstone in terms of showing up in practice, be there early, work throughout, stay after, watch extra film, work at it, and that was Dusan.”
Since Kaleb Tarczewski’s injury, Ristic has had much more of an opportunity to play and contribute.
“After the Gonzaga game, we talked about him being in the wrong place defensively, not running the floor,” Miller said.
“There’s always a silver lining when you lose someone like Kaleb. We talked about it four weeks ago, and I don’t want to say Dusan has taken advantage of it, as much as he’s been given more, he’s worked more and he’s gotten more repetitions. He’s blossoming.”
Not only does Ristic have more confidence, but his teammates are believing in him more as well.
“I think our team is also developing a sense that when they throw him the ball good things will happen and as he is doing all that he is a much more dependable, more mobile defender.” Miller said. “Players cant take advantage of him now like they used to.”