After suffering a concussion late in No. 6 Arizona’s win over Oregon last Wednesday, freshman point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright missed the team’s win over Oregon State two days later. Without Jackson-Cartwright, head coach Sean Miller used junior Gabe York as his backup to T.J. McConnell, with York seeing extended minutes at the point once McConnell landed in foul trouble in the first half.
Thursday, two days prior to the team’s trip north to take on rival Arizona State, Miller stated during his weekly press conference that Jackson-Cartwright has yet to return to practice. And with that being the case, Arizona has worked out a third player at the point to cover themselves should something happen to McConnell and/or York.
That player: sophomore forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is one of the most versatile defenders in the country.
“It’s going to call on Gabe (York) and Elliott (Pitts) to play more minutes,” Miller said. “They did that in the last game and I though both guys did a really good job. Mostly Gabe but we also let Rondae (play the point) in case we got into an injury or foul trouble. You always want to have three who can play that position because of an injury or foul trouble. You don’t want to get caught where you can’t execute your normal system.”
In the story written by Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star, York was complimentary of Hollis-Jefferson’s play at the point during practice Wednesday. Jackson-Cartwright has shown signs of progress at the point, as his daily work with and against McConnell helped the freshman carve out a spot in the rotation.
But the injury has, for the time being, put that progress on hold which means Arizona has to find other solutions while Jackson-Cartwright is out of the lineup.
Hollis-Jefferson getting reps at the point won’t change his primary role offensively, as he’ll continue to start on the wing opposite freshman Stanley Johnson and McConnell will continue to get the lion’s share of the minutes as the team’s primary ball-handler. But with their depth at the position taking a hit, Arizona needed to come up with another contingency plan should they need it one the future.