While discussing last week how a "complete and total floor general" can make the game look smoother, Arizona coach Sean Miller noted that he's been working the high school class of 2014 to find a suitable point guard.
"That's a really, really big thing for our program moving forward, that we get that right," Miller said.
Just five days later, Miller was able to officially place his bet on Parker Jackson-Cartwright, a five-star point guard in the class of 2014 from Los Angeles' Loyola High School who committed to the Wildcats on Sunday over UCLA and Gonzaga following a last-minute official visit to UA.
Just 5 feet 8 inches, Jackson-Cartwright has drawn wide praise for his command of the game as well as blinding speed and skills that help him on both sides of the ball. Rated No. 22 by Scout and No. 30 by ESPNU in the class of 2014, Jackson-Cartwright will be expected to play alongside or behind T.J. McConnell as a freshman in 2014-15 and possibly take over the point after that.
"He's a wonderful kid, a confident point guard in terms of being a pass-first floor general and really is excellent at understanding teammates' strengths," Loyola coach Jamal Adams told the Star. "He's got great vision and all of the things you'd want in a point guard."
Jackson-Cartwright had a foot injury that cost him part of the 2012 summer circuit as well as part of this high school season. But Adams said he averaged 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds per game while posting an 8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
While Jackson-Cartwright's offense is needed at Loyola, he has played more of a distributor's role with the talented California Supreme travel club coached by former Wildcat standout Miles Simon.
"He'll do whatever is needed," said Josh Gershon, a Southern California-based analyst for Scout.com who has seen Jackson-Cartwright often.
"He's pretty much a coach's dream point guard in that he has a terrific basketball IQ, he makes the right pass almost every single time and he's tough for a defender to stay in front of."
On defense, Gershon said, Jackson-Cartwright is extremely quick and almost like a "cornerback in football" the way he can jump in to steal passes.
Jackson-Cartwright may have trouble guarding bigger point guards in college, but there's still hope in his genetics for more growth before he lands in Tucson: Jackson-Cartwright's brother, Miles Cartwright, is a 6-3 junior guard who currently leads Penn in both assists (3.8) and points (13.6).
"You hope he grows, but if he doesn't, that means you have him four or five years," Gershon said. "He's so talented it might be tougher to keep him around that long."
Parker Jackson-Cartwright wasn't available for comment Sunday, but he told the Star last summer after a California Supreme game in Las Vegas that his recruitment was "getting crazy," after he initially "just thought people wouldn't really believe in me because of my size and stuff like that."
It's clear Miller believes in him, after a year of what Adams said was "very, very hard" recruiting by UA.
Lyons battles bug
Arizona substituted earlier and more often Saturday in its win over Washington State, but it wasn't quite Miller's doing.
It was actually because guard Mark Lyons was coping with an illness, prompting Miller to use Jordin Mayes for two early minutes at point guard.
"I think he has a stomach flu," Miller said. "We thought he would be OK early. He subbed himself out and then we figured it out."
Miller said Lyons started feeling ill Saturday morning but not at the level that Johnson was three weeks ago at Washington State. As it turned out, Lyons managed to play 33 minutes, with 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting and four assists to one turnover.
Miller wound up using all 10 of his scholarship players Saturday, with eight receiving double-digit minutes and guard Gabe York getting six.
Ashley's foul play
Freshman forward Brandon Ashley fouled out for the second time against Washington State this season, this time after just 16 minutes, and he had four fouls each in the Wildcats' two prior games.
Ashley left Saturday's game with seven points and three rebounds.
"Our lack of intensity, attention to detail and focus..." Miller said. "We got guys fouling out on almost four or five plays? It's really hard to foul out in college basketball unless you're playing 37, 38 minutes in a ferocious game.
"You're playing 16 minutes and you have five fouls? That's the officials' fault? ... Again, I always tell the truth, and for our team to perform like we did against Washington State, it's not disappointment. It's a sign of where we are."
• Who: No. 12 Arizona at USC
• When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
• TV: Pac-12 Arizona
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM