MoMo Jones was again a big topic for Sean Miller during today's news conference. While Miller wasn't about to put all the blame on Jones for the Wildcats' struggles last weekend in Oregon, he made it clear how different things might have been if Arizona had more than nine turnovers and three assists from him over the two games.
"I'm not going to throw MoMo under the bus because there's so many things we can do better as a team," Miller said. "It's about him getting better and also all of us recognizing that he's done some good things and he really has made some strides."
Jones now has 35 assists and 37 turnovers on the season. Miller has said he would like Jones could get more in the 1.5-1 range and that hope still stands.
"We've talked a lot about 15 games are over, if we can re-record from this point forward, on how many assists to turnovers, can we get that more to 2-1 or 1.5-1? The one thing is, MoMo has taken 25 threes in 15 games. From three-point perspective, he's in the right area. He shoots 53 percent from two (point range). The thing that really hurt us on just the entire trip to Oregon was having nine turnovers from that starting point guard, especially with three assists, it has a way of working against you.
"How can he get more assists, be more of a playmaker? It's like we talked a lot last year as a player his progress last year as a player really started to take off around this time. What I hope is that as a starting point guard that ... as we get in conference play he continues to improve. That's the quest. To make him better. Make him do some things we all know he can do better. If he did the exact same thing in scoring and shooting and had a little better assist-turnover ratio that would mean a world of difference for our team."
Jones, meanwhile, said he's well aware of what he needs to do - but that thinking about it too much can also be harmful.
"I've been caught with just thinking that I've got to get more assists and less turnovers," Jones said. "Me thinking about it has caused me to get more turnovers. I just have to go play hard and not worry about things."
While Miller said Jones has taken the coaching well, Jones said he also knows what is going on instinctively.
"I know that I have to do better for myself and for my team to go as far as we want to go," he said. "Without coach saying anything, I know what it is. I've just gotta cut down on my turnovers and play the game."
Center Alex Jacobson was available last weekend, but he still has not played in a game since Dec. 5 - and apparently has not been needed.
"Alex is 100 percent," Miller said, without commenting further.
In other remarks, Miller said:
He hopes the Wildcats' 13 for 24 free-throw shooting at Oregon State was an anomaly: "When one of your strengths is taken away from you, you're playing with fire," he said.
Derrick Williams' ambidexterous abilities have a lot to do with... Derrick Williams: "I'd like to say that we have a great coaching staff who develops players but that's not the case. Derrick has just some real God-given ability, and he has such a clever knack for getting fouled."
On Cal: "To me Cal's goigmn to get beter. They played a very difficult nonconfernece slate. Theyr'e a young team and some of their losses don't necessarily reflect the quality of their total team. because they really have payed the best of the best. When you do that you have a way of getting beter without a lot of people seeing it.
On UA uniforms: The team will have new uniforms soon but they won't be ready for Thursday.
The Wildcats moved into their newly remodeled locker room on Tuesday, though it isn't finished completely yet.
Jones said it was "probably one of the best things I've ever been a part of," and gushed about the 20 shower heads.
"There's just water coming from everywhere," he said. "There's shower heads coming from the wall and shower heads coming from the ceiling. It's beautiful."
UA hasn't allowed us to look at the locker room yet (and it is always kept strictly off limits after games) but Greg Byrne posted this picture of the showers over the weekend. Byrne also posted pics of the kitchen, main locker area, extra high sinks, and illuminated ceiling logo.
Not only will it serve as a place to bond and hang out for the UA players, but it will also help in recruiting.
"From a competitive perspective, we want to be able to represent our program in recruiting so they can look at our setup and say, `Wow, that's really nice for me,' " Miller said. "Because it's nicer than a lot of other places. It's more up to date -- 2011 is different than 2000 -- and our locker room reflects that. We had a lot of generosity and I'm thankful for that. Our players and our program will benefit."
Washington was dealt a blow today when it announced point guard Abdul Gaddy, the onetime UA commit, will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Percy Allen had a conversation with the surprisingly upbeat Gaddy.
And looks like the Wildcats won't have to deal one of Cal's top players -- former UA recruiting target Gary Franklin is transferring.