If his 20 points and 10 rebounds on Monday were any indication, Brandon Ashley won't be coming off the bench all that often.
But then again, neither may Grant Jerrett. Nor Kaleb Tarczewski.
Instead, UA coach Sean Miller will likely try to keep everyone happy in his talented frontcourt by rewarding the top practice players and possibly tweaking it for matchup reasons.
Miller said again tonight, after UA beat Long Beach State 94-72, that he plans to keep his frontcourt lineup somewhat fluid.
“I’ve said to you and I’ve told our team that we want to reward the players that are working hard and doing it every day,” Miller said.
“That’s not taking anything away from Grant Jerrett, but if you start one then someone has to sit down and tonight it was Grant.
“But I can see that Kaleb at times won’t start; maybe Angelo (Chol) will. I can see starting Grant and Brandon together. But that group of four, we’re going to try to reward the player who really stands out in our practices and also our games.
Ashley "was the best player on the court tonight.”
Even though Miller said UA did its best job yet of feeding the ball inside, Tarczewski was limited somewhat with three first-half fouls. He had seven points, five rebounds and four blocks in 19 minutes.
“Kaleb is a function of his teammates in a lot of ways because he depends on them to get the ball and I thought our team did its best job so far at getting him the ball,” Miller said. “It’s physical with him. I thought a couple of times there were fouls that weren’t called but it's hard because he’s strong and many times to try to defend him, you have to be physical.
“That’s part of what we’re trying to get him to understand is to pick his moments. He can’t always be aggressive because he’s going to foul. And we’re trying to work our team to get him the ball a little bit easier. I thought we popped it in there three or four times whereas a couple of games ago we wouldn’t have been able to do that.
“He’s not a great shot blocker. I don’t think that’s where his future is but he’s big and he can affect shots close to the basket. Tonight, he reacted to the ball and got a few.”
Solomon Hill was asked who the team’s best three-point shooter is.
He paused before responding.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I had an off day today. Kev (Kevin Parrom) has off days. He’s a great shooter. Grant is a great shooter. I just think it can be anybody on a given night. Tonight was Kev’s night.”
Parrom’s 5-for-5 performance from beyond the line put him at 7-for-11 for the season so far though Jerrett (4 for 6) actually holds a slightly better percentage so far. Then there’s Hill (6-16), Mark Lyons (5-14), and Jordin Mayes (2-5).
“We have a lot of players who can shoot,” Miller said. “To me, it’s one of our team’s strengths. We just have to make sure the shots we take from the perimeter are good and that we play inside and out.
“Grant Jerrett, Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom, Mark Lyons…but also Jordin (Mayes) and Gabe (York) can shoot it. We have 5 or 6 players and I’m not sure if one of them is better than the other.”
When told that Ashley said he could shoot the three – Ashley has yet to try one in a game – Miller smiled.
“He’s not one of those best six shooters,” Miller said. “No question about that one.”
As good as Parrom’s shooting was, Miller was disappointed on the other end of the floor.
“Kevin is really dynamic with his ability to shoot,” Miller said. “If he’s not our team’s best shooter he’s certainly right there. But Kevin has to improve on defense. You can’t make five threes and give up six. It’s just not going to work. You’re not going to play.
“He’s not the only person but guarding the two is a real challenge. And it’s different sometimes than guarding a small forward. He has to continue growing in that area, so that we don’t give up threes or ball pressure, get beat off the dribble. I think he knows that.”
The Wildcats have an unusually long break between games, not playing NAU until Nov. 28, because they are playing their early season tournament in December instead of November and can’t play that many games this month.
Miller said his players would take today and Wednesday off, then return Thursday, Friday and Saturday before taking Sunday off. The Wildcats are scheduled to practice early Thursday before having an early Thanksgiving dinner at Miller’s home.
While the players won’t get a chance to be at home for Thanksgiving, many of them will get a break on the way back from the Diamond Head Classic after Christmas Day, since the Wildcats don’t open the Pac-12 season until Jan. 3 against Colorado.
“We’re in a Christmas tournament, and there are so many teams in early season tournaments that you have a void in your schedule,” Miller said. “But once we get through this break, we’re going to be playing games and certainly some of the most exciting games on our schedule are on the horizon.”
Here's the official box score.