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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Preseason update: Wildcats in the NBA

Rebecca Noble

Then-Arizona point guard TJ McConnell (4) ducks to avoid the Wisconsin defense in McKale Center on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The Philadelphia 76ers point guard recently hit the game-winning shot against the Brooklyn Nets and has produced in the NBA preseason thus far.

With the NBA preseason well underway, former Arizona Wildcats are making headlines and heads turn before the season has even started.

Wildcat fan favorite and now Philadelphia 76ers guard TJ McConnell hit the game-winning shot Saturday with 6.5 seconds remaining, as the 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets 97-95. McConnell is averaging 20.3 minutes per game, 6.5 points and 5 assists.

Also playing in that game was Nets small forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Hollis-Jefferson sprained his right ankle in the game against his former teammate and is currently day-to-day. Averaging 22.1 minutes per game, the small forward out of Chester, Pennsylvania, is averaging 2.7 points and three rebounds per game.

“One thing I’ll say that I’ve always noticed is hard work and how hard a guy plays on the court,” Hollis-Jefferson said to the Nets Daily. “If somebody is out there diving on the floor for loose balls … I would say those things mean a lot to a team.”

Making waves thus far, like many predicted, is Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson. Many predict Johnson may take the Rookie of the Year throne if he continues to play at this level once regular-season play begins.

Johnson is averaging 30.6 minutes and 17.7 points per game. The rest of the Pistons have looked sloppy in the preseason with two tough losses to the Nets and the Indiana Pacers.

Dallas Mavericks power forward Brandon Ashley and Denver Nuggets guard Nick Johnson have done very little on the basketball court thus far in preseason play. Ashley is averaging 10.7 minutes per game, while Johnson has played 8.4 minutes per game, and both have yet to score.

Rounding out the group of players who declared in the past two years or have graduated is Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon. Gordon hasn’t played in any preseason games in 2015 because of a fractured jaw, but is predicted to return to the court soon.

Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warrior, defending NBA champion and Finals MVP is entering his 12th season in the NBA. Iguodala is averaging 15.6 minutes and two points per game in the current preseason.

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Jerryd Bayless has played just one game this preseason and scored six points. Bayless will be entering his eighth season in the NBA.

Pacers small forward Chase Budinger hasn’t played this preseason due to injury.

Magic forward and 3-point specialist Channing Frye has averaged five points per game in 39 minutes of action this preseason. Many around the league predict that Frye may be traded this season.

The last four in the mix are Pacers center Jordan Hill, Pacers small forward Solomon Hill, Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Richard Jefferson and Utah Jazz power forward Grant Jerrett.

Jordan Hill is averaging 7.3 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. Solomon Hill injured his ankle and is day-to-day, but has averaged 17.1 minutes per game and eight points per game.

Jefferson averages 19.1 minutes and eight points per game in two games of action, while Jerrett hasn’t played in the preseason yet.

Also in the mix are Derrick Williams and Jason Terry. Williams scored 23 points and grabbed four rebounds in 21 minutes of action against the Washington Wizards. The Houston Rockets guard in Jason Terry is entering 17th season in the NBA and has only played in eight minutes of preseason action. 

Arizona has seen 69 of its players drafted into the NBA. With more to come in the future, the Wildcats looked poised to continue competing at the highest level throughout the rugged NBA season.

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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