Gabe York may have finally earned a small role in Arizona’s playing rotation.
While UA coach Sean Miller said today he didn’t want to say it was definite, he said he “could see (York) being more a part of what we do from this point on, as long as he excels when he gets the opportunity and continues to practice the way he’s been.”
Miller said York’s attitude and work ethic have been good, and that York has improved defensively.
Miller said he planned to enter games with a script of how he will use York, though York isn’t likely to play more than a few minutes at a time.
One of the factors limiting York so far is that UA has been playing Nick Johnson and Kevin Parrom heavily at shooting guard and York, unlike Jordin Mayes, is not a point guard. But now it is possible that York could play a few minutes at shooting guard while Mark Lyons is out and Johnson handles point guard duties (or when Johnson and/or Parrom is out).
In other words, York could be used to help give UA the three-point shooting that Mayes generally has not been able to provide. Mayes is 1 for 10 from three-point range in Pac-12 games so far.
“We’re always trying to do things we can do to spark us and make us better,” Miller said. “The thing about Gabe York is that the hardest thing for a freshmen is to not play at all. He’s handled it well and what’s happened because he’s handled it well is he’s continued to practice, he’s continued to stay involved and he’s talented.
“About two weeks ago you could start to sense that he’s continued to get better and for us adding him into the game … he gives you that ability to make a shot, a three, and so many times when guys come off the bench their biggest value is to give you that spark. Gabe is one of our best shooters.”
Making his first appearance of the season at UA’s weekly news conference today, York said his defensive improvement has been key to earning a chance. York said Miller told him that he needed to be able to trust York defensively before York would play.
“Defense has really been the main thing I’ve had to work on,” York said. “Offense has never really been the problem. So I’m just trying to work on defense in practice and just trying to get as many minutes as possible.”
Also during his news conference today, Miller said he may use one of his two open 2013 scholarships for a transfer, if a suitable one becomes available, and/or the event that Kevin Parrom is granted a fifth year of eligibility.
UA officials say it is a long shot, because Parrom has played too many games to meet NCAA redshirt criteria in all of his seasons, but they are planning to file a "kitchen sink" type of appeal to get him an extra season because of all the time he has cumulatively missed.
"We haven't given up hope on that," Miller said. "But Kevin's good either way."
Washington is the only original Pac-10 team that Miller and seniors Parrom and Solomon Hill have not beaten on the road and that fact is not lost on them.
"No one knows that more than us," Miller said.
UA lost 81-75 in 2009-10, 85-68 in 2010-11, and 79-70 last season at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Derrick Williams and a friend are opening a sneaker/streetwear shop in downtown Tucson.