SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe York made brief appearances in the Arizona Wildcats' rotation last season, ultimately playing in just 15 games, but coach Sean Miller says it could be much different this time around.
Especially since the Wildcats are in need of outside shooting -- as partly evidenced by their 3-for-14 three-point performance in the Red Blue Game.
"I think Gabe, because of the way he plays and our need, he’ll have a role," Miller said today, after the Pac-12 media day podium interviews. "And he could have a very big role."
York was limited during the Red Blue Game, and did not attempt to defend his dunk contest title, because of hamstring and ankle injuries. But Miller said he returned fully after resting until Wednesday.
Miller said forward Zach Peters continues to progress toward getting medically cleared soon but hesitated a bit.
"Zach is anywhere from 10-14 days from being maybe able to take that next step but there's no promises," Miller said. "We’ve moved at a snail's pace for all the right reasons but as we’ve moved slowly, he’s also really progressed in long term, in terms of his health and long term projections.
"He’s still doing everything we do except the contact part of it, which is obviously significant at this point. But by keeping him with us during this period of time, the gap (to function on the court) won’t be as significant once he gets cleared."
Miller said he hadn't heard of the new NCAA rules that are tougher on defenses with hand-checking and block/charge calls until the Pac-12 coaches met Thursday.
“Emphasizing not fouling is something we do anyway,” Miller said. “But we probably need to renew our focus here over the next couple of weeks knowing there’s going to be such an emphasis here early in the season.”
The Pac-12 media day circuit can be a tiring one for players and coaches, who are escorted around to do various one-on-one interviews, film Pac-12 Networks promos, sit on an interview podium and then sit around for an hour or so to give more interviews after lunch.
But leave it to the ever-outgoing Nick Johnson, this year's UA player representative, to eat it all up. Johnson even staged dunks for the cameras on 7-foot-high rims in the Pac-12 Networks studios.
"When coach told me I was making the trip, I was excited," Johnson said. "Who doesn't like to be in front of a camera?"