Jordin Mayes will receive his first start in two years Sunday against Stanford, coach Sean Miller told the Star after today's practice.
“He’s earned it,” Miller said. “It’s not just the right thing but I think it’s going to be the best thing for our team on a day like that.”
The day, of course, is not only Senior Day but a chance for UA to clinch the Pac-12 championship outright if the Wildcats can beat Stanford for a ninth straight time.
“It’s something that every team in our position would covet and we’re the same,” Miller said. “We recognize what we have tomorrow. It’s important."
At the same time, Miller was hesitant too get too far ahead because of the Wildcats' opponent – and because of themselves.
“It’s so important that we be who we are, that we come out with energy and that we don’t make the game any bigger than it needs to be,” Miller said. “Because when you do that you have a way of not being yourself.”
Mayes started 17 games as a sophomore in 2011-12, when Josiah Turner struggled to hold on to his point guard job, but did not start at all last season when Mark Lyons transferred in from Xavier. Mayes is averaging 5.0 minutes with no starts this season, and has four DNPs.
Miller has started Gabe York since UA’s Feb. 19 game at Utah, but now Mayes will get a chance. When I asked Miller if Mayes had a chance to hold on to it if he plays well Sunday, Miller said:
“We’re not there yet, but Jordin’s going to have a key role for us down the stretch just like all of our players.”
Stanford needs a win Sunday to keep pace with ASU and stay firmly in the top four of the Pac-12, where first-round byes are given for the conference tournament.
ASU partially broke what was a four-way tie for third place by beating California today. The Sun Devils and Stanford are now in a virtual tie for third place with six losses in conference play while Cal and Colorado, a loser at Utah today, each have seven.
In the other Pac-12 game today, Oregon beat USC for its fifth straight win. The resurgent Ducks will host UA on March 8 in the regular season finale.