Arizona Basketball

UA basketball: Slimmer Zeus 'will only get better', Miller says

2013-10-04T00:00:00Z UA basketball: Slimmer Zeus 'will only get better', Miller saysBy Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Every 40 minutes last season, Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski pulled down an average of 11.1 rebounds.

The problem was that it took nearly two games to get those 40 minutes.

Tarczewski was an efficient rebounder last season, but his average of 22 minutes limited his rebounding average to 6.1.

So, instead of bulking up as he did before his freshman season, when he was listed as having 250 pounds on his 7-foot frame, the big man from New Hampshire focused over the summer on reducing body fat.

“I wanted to get a little leaner and stay the same strength but at the same time be a little quicker and more athletic so that’s what I focused on in the offseason,” Tarczewski said at last week’s preseason media day. “I feel a lot more explosive and athletic and that’s gonna be a good thing for the season.”

Tarczewski is at 240 pounds now, about 15-20 pounds more than when he arrived in Tucson. And he feels stronger.

UA coach Sean Miller, noting that Tarczewski has worked particularly hard in the weight room, said he expects the sophomore can play an extra 4-6 minutes a game this season.

That could translate into a lot more rebounds.

“Kaleb didn’t get enough credit a year ago for (his rebounds per minutes played), or rebounding his position, or rebounding for his age as a freshman,” Miller said. “I think he will only get better. If he can rebound the ball at both ends better than he did a year ago… an additional 4-6 minutes is significant.

“When you see him physically, you’ll notice his body has changed. He wants to be a great player. That’s one of Kaleb’s gifts. He puts in the work.”

No replacement plans

Arizona currently has no plans to temporarily replace assistant coach Book Richardson during his medical-related leave of absence.

“At this point, it’s the status quo,” UA athletic director Greg Byrne said.

Richardson announced last week that he was leaving the UA for an unspecified period of time because of a health issue.

He is UA’s key recruiter for the East Coast, though none of the Wildcats’ top remaining 2014 prospects are from that region.

Jerrett to D-League

Ex-Arizona forward Grant Jerrett, who left the Cats in April after his freshman season, will sign with the Tulsa 66ers to start the season, according to The Oklahoman.

Jerrett’s move allows Oklahoma City to keep his draft rights, which the team would lose if he went to camp with the Thunder and was cut.

Jerrett was picked No. 40 overall in June’s draft by Portland and traded to Oklahoma City on draft night.

Two Cats rated high

Draft Express rated Tarczewski the Pac-12’s fourth-best NBA prospect, and UA guard Nick Johnson the 10th best.

Freshmen were not counted in its ratings, which listed ASU guard Jahii Carson the No. 1 overall prospect in the conference.

Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie was rated second, followed by Stanford’s Dwight Powell, Tarczewski, Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, UCLA’s Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, Colorado’s Josh Scott, Oregon State’s Devon Collier and Johnson.

Draft Express’ Kyle Nelson wrote that Johnson doesn’t project as an NBA shooting guard, his position at UA, but that athletic combo guards “are increasingly becoming fixtures in NBA rotations.”

UM’s work won out

Four-star forward Kameron Chatman of Portland may have been widely predicted to choose Arizona, but his decision to commit to Michigan earlier this week came as a result of the Wolverines’ consistent recruitment effort since 2012, his former coach said.

“I think it was something that Michigan had the most comprehensive recruitment of him,” Long Beach (Calif.) Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer told the Detroit Free Press.

“I think Kameron realized this was a place he felt comfortable with the coaches. He had a great official visit out there. As we progressed to the fall, for him, Michigan was always just there, no matter if he was at Arizona or he was at Oregon, Michigan’s name always continued to come up.”

Rim shots

• Former UA guard Kyle Fogg is a non-roster invitee at the Denver Nuggets’ training camp. He averaged 6.4 points over 18.0 minutes last season with Rio Grande Valley in the D-League.

• UA recruiting target Cliff Alexander, a five-star forward from Chicago, is scheduled to visit Kansas this weekend for its “Late Night in the Phog” festivities.

Star reporter Zack Rosenblatt contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


AP Top 25


Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily

Follow the Arizona Daily Star