SDSU postgame: Don't expect Sidiki Johnson back

2011-11-24T00:20:00Z 2011-11-24T06:58:02Z SDSU postgame: Don't expect Sidiki Johnson backBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star

Suspended Arizona forward Sidiki Johnson remains in New York and, considering the way Sean Miller spoke after Wednesday's game, he may never return to Tucson to play basketball.

He's likely to come back to at least pick up his things and, UA hopes, maybe even finish out the academic semester so he won't cost Arizona an extra APR point for leaving while ineligible.

But as for Johnson actually rejoining the team, here's what Miller said:

"We have an agreement and if he meets this agreement, he could potentially be reinstated," Miller said. "He could also be dismissed."

When asked if he was optimistic Johnson would meet the agreement, Miller responded with one word:

"No."

UA does not automatically release student-athletes who leave while ineligible, since leaving while ineligible costs the team an extra point in the Academic Progress Rating scores. Other schools are not allowed to contact a player who has not been released, and being ineligible can also make it difficult to become eligible at a new school.

Miller said the situation should be resolved sometime in the "next couple of weeks."

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Miller said he has chosen starters based on what he's seen in practice, choosing the five that deserve it, but the slow starts are making him reconsider.

Arizona trailed Ball State by nine at halftime, then went off to early deficits against St. John's (4-0) and Mississippi State (7-0) before Wednesday's slumber.

"We're taking a look at it," Miller said. "I value practice more than the first four minutes of the game, we have a lot more information every day and we want to start with our five players that we feel have earned it. But we don't want to get down and if it starts to be a consistent habit I think we all know what the answer is -- to change the starting lineup."

But, Miller added, "changing the starting lineup is not going to make that big of a difference. We have to have contributions from everybody."

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Miller said he played Brendon Lavender only two minutes in part to give more time to Kevin Parrom, who played 14. But Parrom, still well below normal after being shot in September, had five points, two rebounds and two assists while shooting 1 of 5 from the field.

Parrom shot 3 of 13 combined over two games last week in New York.

"It's just really hard with Kevin right now," Miller said. "He gave us a great surge of emotion in returning to the court, but he's just a mirror image of himself right now...I have a lot of hope as he continues to be more confident and comfortable, healthy, that his best basketball is ahead of him. Our team needs him to play better than he did, and in fairness it's hard to expect much more knowing" what he went through.

Parrom tweeted after the game that he is taking a break from Twitter. "Gotta focus on me and me only for once in my life," his Twitter page said.

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Miller said he thought freshman Josiah Turner had the best game of his career so far, with 10 points, one assist and no turnovers.

"He's becoming more comfortable using the ball screen and he's made good decisions," Miller said. "He had zero turnovers ,10 points. It was tough for guys to get assists tonight because we didn't make a lot of shots."

Miller removed Turner from the starting lineup on Nov. 9 against Duquesne for being late to a pregame shootaround and did not play him at all on Nov. 13 against Ball State.

Turner rebounded with eight points each in UA's games at New York last weekend, though he had four turnovers against St. John's.

He said the discipline made him realize what was going on and that "coach Sean Miller doesn't play around."

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Miller said his staff will take a closer look at the number of charges the Wildcats are taking, though he did not blame the officiating Wednesday.

"It’s something we have to look at because a lot of teams are doing that to us," Miller said. "I credit San Diego State because you have to take the charge to get the call and they did an incredible job of taking the charge. I thought some calls could have gone either way but we lost to the better team tonight. It wasn’t the officials."

SDSU coach Steve Fisher said he told Aztecs forward Tim Shelton that he took five charges but was corrected.

"He said, `Coach, I took six,' " Fisher said. "I think he would know."

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Here's the official boxscore from Wednesday's game.

Our coverage today: An updated game story, notes, Greg Hansen's column and a photo gallery.

 

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