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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Warthen’s speed kills

Gordon Bates  / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

It normally takes a freshman weeks, if not months, to stand out on the practice court — at least in a positive way. For Candice Warthen,  freshman guard on the Arizona women’s basketball team, it took a matter of minutes to catch head coach Niya Butts’ attention.

“”(Warthen) is just one of the most gifted and athletic kids that I’ve coached or worked with,”” Butts said. “”She has so much stuff that you can’t coach. From quickness to speed to some of her skill sets, she does things that I just can’t teach a kid.””

Warthen, from Warrenton, Ga., was one of the nation’s top recruits in this year’s class. At Warrenton County High School, she led the state in scoring with 28.5 points per game her senior year on her way to becoming the school’s all-time scoring leader with over 2,000 points.

Athleticism is something that Warthen has always possessed, and is the main thing that helped her stand out against her competition at the high school and AAU levels. Being a standout athlete in high school, however, isn’t a rare quality on the court in college. “”(The game) is just a whole lot faster and a whole lot harder than in high school,”” Warthen said. “”In high school, there was no one in the area that could stop me. Here, I’m competing against people just like me. It’s harder, but nothing I can’t handle.””

Warthen is adjusting to the speed faster than anyone expected. She picked up her first career double-double Monday night against Northern Arizona with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Butts attributed Warthen’s quick adjustment to the amount of talent she possesses.

“”There’s naturally going to be a learning curve,”” Butts said. “”The more talent you have, the better equipped you are to make that adjustment.””

Even though she’s shown flashes of greatness — see Monday’s performance for an example — Warthen is still struggling with some things that plague most freshmen: turnovers and knowing which tempo to use.

“”I have trouble figuring (tempo) out, because it’s like I have to learn all of this,”” Warthen said. “”In high school, I basically did what I wanted to do and ran everything, but here I just try to do what I can.””

As far as the turnover issue, Butts chalks that up to Warthen being a freshman experiencing a new level of basketball.

“”There are times where she’s a little bit casual with some of her turnovers, but again, she’s a freshman,”” Butts said. “”She’s going to have peaks and she’s going to have valleys, we’ve just got to put all the pieces together.””

Warthen is doing what she can, and she’s doing it well. Butts isn’t the only person that Warthen has impressed in her short time at Arizona.

Senior Ify Ibekwe was able to sum up Warthen’s first impression on her in four words.

“”She’s fast,”” Ibekwe said. “”Really fast.””

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