Arizona junior guard expected to step forward in 2014-15

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In two seasons at Arizona, guard Gabe York hasn’t been on the receiving end of a high number of opportunities offensively. As a freshman the 6-foot-4 shooting guard played in just 15 games, seeing just under six minutes of action per contest. The playing time increased last season, with York making 12 starts and averaging 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in just under 22 minutes per game.

With Nick Johnson having moved on to the NBA, even with the addition of newcomers such as Stanley Johnson and Kadeem Allen the door is open for York to earn even more chances on a team expected to contend for a national title. In an interview with Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussed a number of topics relating to Arizona’s 2014-15 season and York’s name was brought up as a player who could make a name for himself during non-conference play.

CBSSports.com: On paper, this team looks like it could be one of the deepest you’ve had since you’ve been a head coach. Who is the one player that isn’t in bold print right now that could be a more known name by the time conference play kicks off in January?

Miller: Gabe York. Gabe has waited patiently since his freshman year. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He’s motivated by things that used to motivate college players. He played a little his freshman year and got hungrier to have a bigger role. He had a good year for us last year and he’ll have a bigger role this year. He can really shoot and that’s critical to our team. We need him to make shots and he will because that’s what he’s known for but he’s more versatile and he’s a better player than he was last year. I mentioned that Rondae had 110 practices under his belt and Gabe has 220 practices under his belt. I have no doubts that he’s going to be a significant contributor to our team and make a major impact.

One of the questions for Arizona as the 2014-15 season approaches is who will make perimeter shots, which in turn would make a very talented group even tougher to defend. Last season the Wildcats shot 36.4% from beyond the arc (34.1% in conference games), and in three of Arizona’s five defeats they shot 25 percent or worse from distance (Arizona shot at least 40 percent from three in losses to UCLA and Wisconsin).

Given the ability of players such as Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to get to the basket off the dribble, and the interior presence of veterans Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski, there will be openings for capable perimeter shooters in their offense. As the head coach stated in the quote above there will be opportunities for York to make good on the hard work he’s put in. If the junior can do that, he and Arizona will reap the rewards.