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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA point guards at helm of forgetful year

Tyler Baker
Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (5) drives the ball past Washington forward Matisse Thybulle (4) on Jan 14 in McKale Center.

For a school that produced star point guards in the likes of Damon Stoudamire, Miles Simon, Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas, Jerryd Bayless, Mike Bibby and T.J. McConnell, the point guard spot just wasn’t up to par this weekend.

During most of the season, Arizona struggled to find its floor general and the leader to call the plays. The two individuals who took the reigns were Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

“I think they did as well as they can with the personnel they have,” said Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen. “If you look at it, Parker Jackson-Cartwright is a heck of a nice kid, but he’s undersized and he’s not overly talented. He’s probably—if you go back to 1983—the least capable starting point guard they’ve had.”

The Wildcats return a scorer in Allen next year and the speedy Jackson-Cartwright, and will rely heavily on incoming five-star superstar Kobi Simmons.

The position, however, seemed to be a struggle for Arizona much of the season, even with those high expectations and big names.

Just take a look at the Wichita State game in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Nineteen total turnovers were the difference in the game, seven of those came from Allen.

“[Head coach Sean Miller has] masked an issue at the point guard spot and I think it’s really hard to win at the highest level without a high-end point guard,” said ESPN college basketball insider Jeff Goodman. “I think both [Jackson-Cartwright] and [Allen] have been good at times. [Allen] is really not a true point guard and I think [Jackson-Cartwright] is really a good guy coming off the bench for a typical Arizona team.”

Goodman has a point. Whether you like it, Allen’s strong suit was to score. He was, after all, named the 2014 National JUCO Player of the Year and scored 25.9 points per game as a sophomore at Hutchinson Community College.

It was evident Allen showed rust early after redshirting, but at times it was evident he was just trying to do too much. In averaging 24.9 minutes of action a game this season, Allen scored 8.4 points per game, along with 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds.

At times, Jackson-Cartwright showed flashes of excellence. When the Wildcats needed a fast basket, he managed to get it. When the UA couldn’t hit a shot from anywhere on the court, Jackson-Cartwright would spot up and hit the 3 or throw the pass that would lead to it.

Yet, he was rarely in the game at crucial late moments for much of the season and struggled to achieve consistent playing time. Overall, he finished with 21.2 minutes per game, along with 3.4 assists and 5.2 points per game.

Without a doubt, the Wildcats missed McConnell; nobody can deny that. His leadership late in the game was key for two integral seasons, as seen in clutch late-game miscues this season.

So what does Arizona have to look forward to? Well at the moment, barring unforeseen circumstances, both Allen and Jackson-Cartwright return hungrier than ever.

“Knowing that we have a lot of guys coming back, we just have to get back to work,” Jackson-Cartwright said.

As for Simmons, Arizona notches a crafty guard who has a video mixtape that will blow you away.

At the moment, Point Guard U may be up in the air. But as we continuously learn: Never doubt Miller.

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