The words "Academic Progress Rate" may induce you to skip ahead in this blog post but there's always some things to learn from APR reports.
This year, because the Arizona Wildcats were found to have a perfect APR score for the past two seasons, a few things have come to light:
1) Sidiki Johnson's bizarre December 2011 dismissal was likely for reasons deemed to be not UA's fault and/or out of UA's control. The freshman big man from New York bolted before finishing the 2011 fall semester so he would normally would have been an "0 for 2" in APR terms (one "at bat" is for retention, the other for staying academically ineligible).
However, UA recorded a perfect 1,000 score in 2011-12 and, while there are bonus points that can be added to any year's score if a former athlete comes back to earn a degree, that wasn't likely enough to bring the score back to 1,000 without Johnson's potential 0-for-2 being erased.
While UA cannot comment on individual players' APR scores because of student-privacy laws, senior associate AD Rocky LaRose said there are waiver possibilities that involve personal situations. Those often wipe the affected APR "at bat" off the board (i.e. Johnson might have been a 0-for-0 instead of an 0-for-2).
2) MoMo Jones and Daniel Bejarano were at least decent students. The Wildcats also had a perfect APR score in 2010-11, when Jones (Iona) and Bejarano (Colorado State) took off after the season.
APR "at bats" for retention are also wiped off if a player transfers to a four-year school with an GPA of 2.6 or better. That could have made Bejarano and Jones 1-for-1s instead of 1-for-2s when they left in the spring of 2011.
3) Say what you want about the 2012 departures of Kyryl Natyazhko and Josiah Turner but both of them signed what the NCAA considered legit professional contracts.
Early departures are also wiped off the APR sheet if the player winds up signing a pro contract and Turner wound up in Canada for most of last season while Natyazhko played at home in Ukraine. Again, the UA's perfect APR score in 2011-12 indicates neither player was penalized for their departure.
Overall, UA had scores of 925 in 2008-09, 960 in 2009-10, and 1000 in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The Wildcats' four-year APR was 969, well above the 930 penalty line, but was not an exact average of the four scores (which was 971.3) because of how the formula is compiled with individual players' scores, LaRose said.
Another oddity possibly worth noting is that UA's four-year rolling APR average slipped from 975 to 969 this year despite one perfect score (1,000 in 2007-08) being replaced by another perfect score (2011-12). LaRose said that's because bonus points from a former player's graduation are not reflected in the yearly scores, only in the four-year scores -- and UA had bonus points in 2007-08 but not in 2011-12.
So can Aaron Gordon play small forward? Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News already ranks him as the No. 5 small forward for next season.
Dave Telep says UCLA is a dark horse in the race to land Justise Winslow.
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RealGM predicts UA will win the Pac-12 with a record of 14-4 next season.
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