Arizona Wildcats center Chase Jeter (4) set his sights on the basket as he slips around Georgia Southern Eagles forward Simeon Carter (23) during the second half.

Chase Jeter’s averages are up to 12.6 points and 7.5 rebounds, roughly 4-5 times that of his Duke numbers. He's also picked up 13 of UA's 25 fouls drawn so far this season.

Not surprisingly, UA coach Sean Miller has been pretty happy about Jeter's progression.

“For the most part, Chase is one of the more intelligent players that we’ve had,” Miller said. “Off the court, he’s an excellent student, a very mature guy. He’s waited his turn, he’s paid his dues. He’s also a decorated player; he’s no bum, a McDonalds all American in high school; he was very, very highly coveted. So just because things didn’t work out at Duke doesn’t mean he can’t play, doesn’t mean Duke was wrong. In today’s world, once some players experience change, they blossom. I hope Chase is one of those guys who is that story. So far so good. He’s really off to a good start. It’s up to us to keep him there.”

If there’s a transitive property applied to Miller’s high regard for Georgia Southern, then maybe Georgia State’s upset of Alabama on Tuesday was no surprise.

Led by NBA Draft prospect D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference over Georgia Southern this season. Simonds had 23 points and five rebounds for Georgia State at Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, while Malik Benlevi hit a game-winning 3 from the wing at the buzzer.

The loss was Alabama’s second straight and dropped Alabama to 5-3 and No. 68 in Kenpom rankings, taking a little bit of luster off Sunday’s UA-UA showdown in Tuscaloosa. The Wildcats beat Alabama 88-82 last season at McKale Center.

Miller said the Wildcats will also face a “very, very dangerous team” on Thursday with Utah Valley, which is 6-3 and riding a five-game winning streak. 

Coached by former Washington and Kentucky big man Mark Pope, the Wolverines are coming off 17- and 21- win seasons, although they lost three starters from last season.

“Utah Valley is a very well-coached team,” Miller said. “Mark Pope was a really good player and skill guy for as big as he is. The way he coaches maybe follows suit to maybe how he played: They’re smart, skilled. He knows really what he’s doing and they’ve got a very, very dangerous team.

“Obviously, they have a number of wins to back that up and but they can shoot the ball from the 3-point line. They really run a lot of movement on offense. They have handoffs and cutting and they can really cut you up on offense with the way they move the ball, that’s going to be a challenge. And for us it’s going from one style to the next. UConn really pressures with a lot of and Utah Valley doesn’t so to be able to kind of put that game behind us and move to a different style of defense and offense that’s going to be a challenge for sure. …

“A lot like Georgia Southern, we have to have a focused approach and make sure we play our best.”

Our full advance coverage and scouting report on the UA-UVU game will be posted Wednesday night and in Thursday's print edition.

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or On Twitter @brucepascoe

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball