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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Brandon Williams is Arizona’s lone bright spot after brutal LA roadtrip

Beau Leone

Prince Ali (23) elects to go under the screen that Ira Lee (11) sets to get Brandon Williams (2) an open look from three point territory. 

LOS ANGELES – During a weekend of chaos and unanswered questions for the Arizona men’s basketball program, Brandon Williams stood above the rest. 

The Southern California native returned to his roots to face USC and UCLA and is going to leave the City of Angels with two losses, but the heralded recruit out of Crespi High School showed Arizona fans why Sean Miller and staff did everything they could to get him to Tucson. 

Williams finished the UCLA game with a team-high 19 points while finishing the night shooting just under 50 percent from the field, as he was far and wide the best Wildcat player the entire weekend. 

“I felt like we were getting the shots we are capable of making. It’s just about hitting them,” Williams said after the 90-69 loss to UCLA. “We are getting open looks, but we just have to do a better job of finishing.”

          RELATED: Arizona men’s basketball suffers second straight blowout loss, 90-69 to UCLA

His head coach also agrees.

“He played against USC, but he was just in that club where he couldn’t make a shot at USC, but his floor play was outstanding,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller after his team’s loss to UCLA. “He was involved in a lot of plays … Tonight he played a similar floor game, except he made some shots as well. He’s playing the best basketball of his career. Great to see him come back to LA, and really, in my mind, string two very solid games together, especially offensively.” 

Freshman guard Brandon Williams gets set to take flight during the Saturday night matchup vs UCLA at Pauly Pavilion.
Freshman guard Brandon Williams gets set to take flight during the Saturday night matchup vs UCLA at Pauly Pavilion.

But for most coaches, praise for their freshman is quickly followed by constructive criticism, and Sean Miller stuck to the status-quo.

“Where Brandon has a struggle right now, like a lot of guys, is just defensively. Each team represents a new challenge, and a lot of freshman … You know it’s hard. It’s a big adjustment guarding guys in college at this level. He’s getting better, he’s got a great attitude, and that’s why he’s doing so well on offense.”

The Californian combo-guard is all of a sudden thrust into a crucial role now that the Wildcats have seemed to hit a snag in their offensive production. And with Arizona State and Pac-12 leading Washington just around the corner, the freshman’s offensive production could very well be the difference to Arizona sliding in the NCAA tournament, or playing in the NIT. 

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