Ezra Amacher Player of the Week: Kaleb Tarczewski.
The freshman center is quickly becoming one of the centerpieces to Arizonaís offense. After struggling to find much consistency over the first months of the season, Tarczewski has now put together three straight double digit scoring performances. While his jump hook and finishing both need a bit more polishing, Tarczewski exploited his height advantage by getting to the free throw line six times on the road trip. And in his 13 attempts from the charity stripe, all but one went in. No player on the team has progressed as far as the seven-footer since Pac-12 play began. What We Learned Arizona knows how to grind it out on the road.
Through the Catsí seven road games this season, they have an average winning margin of 11.5 points. Thatís golden testimony of a remarkably poised club and an obvious reason for why Arizona is 19-2 and ranked #7 in the latest polls. No game better portrayed the teamís ability to win a tough battle in a hostile arena than the 57-53 victory over Washington. Despite shooting 35%, connecting on just 3-18 three point attempts and committing 17 turnovers to seven assists, Arizona won at Hec Ed for the first time since 2007. The freshmen big men are finally there.
It took a little longer than Sean Miller hoped for but all three former high school All-American big men are playing with consistency and efficiency. The aforementioned Tarczewski is quickly becoming an offensive menace in the paint, Brandon Ashley continues to display tremendous athleticism, and Grant Jerrett has become the teamís premier shot blocker. When Arizona can knock down shots from outside and then feed it to one of these three bigs down low, there arenít many teams in the country who can match that kind of scoring proficiency. Turnovers and foul trouble remain the biggest concern.
Although Arizona escaped Pullman and Seattle without any scars, that wonít likely be the case in the NCAA Tournament if the Cats were to commit 21 fouls or 17 turnovers. The good news about those two aspects being the teamís greatest flaws is that they can be worked on and hopefully solved within the next month. Unlike in years past where Arizona was at a fatal disadvantage because of height or inexperience, such is not the case this season. However, the fact that foul trouble and turning the ball over are still hindering Arizonaís success should be worrisome. Two Predictions for the Bay Area Home Series Both games will be double digit victories.
Yes, Cal and Stanford are each coming off impressive victories over Oregon but neither Bay Area school has on paper at least, the depth and talent to compete with Arizona for 40 minutes in McKale. The Bears have two potent scorers in Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. After that however, there is a significant drop off in production. Meanwhile, Stanfordís Dwight Powell and Chasson Randle both average over 14 points per game and forward Josh Huestis is coming off back to back double doubles. But the Cardinal are just 1-3 on the road in Pac-12 play and a nationally televised game in Tucson isnít the best setting to turn that record around. Gabe York and Jordin Mayes will continue to share playing time.
Neither guard stood out in Washington so itís plausible that Miller will continue to give each time on the court. For York, that may mean only a handful of minutes whereas Mayes is still considered the primary backup point guard to Mark Lyons. Maybe itís a matter of confidence but neither has looked all too comfortable shooting the ball lately. Translating practice into real game situations is the key but time is running out for either of them to become a major contributor this season. One Parting Thought
Whether or not Kevin Parrom was retaliating when he threw an elbow at Washington Stateís DaVonte Lacy, he needed to be more aware in that situation of the potential consequences.
As a senior who has been through multiple skirmishes over the past four years, Parromís decision to engage with Lacy was immature and Parrom is the first to acknowledge that.
After the game, Sean Miller said that Parrom ďembarrassed himself, our basketball program and his family.Ē He continued, "Kevin is a senior and he knows better."
Miller precisely hit the nail on the head that at this point in Parromís college career he is supposed to be looked upon as one of the leaders of the team, on and off the court.