Of all the things UA coach Sean Miller complained about Tuesday during his news conference, Parker Jackson-Cartwright really wasn’t one of them.
Even if Jackson-Cartwright had two turnovers and a missed layup in the final minutes of the Wildcats’ late meltdown against Butler last Friday,
“He’s been great at taking care of the ball,” Miller said. “His assist-turnover ratio is almost 4-1. Obviously, he had some decisions down the stretch he didn't want to do, we didn’t want him to do it. But that’s not just on him, trust me, that’s on the other four guys, that’s one his coach for not having his team organized.
“And for Parker it’s learning how that turnover happened so the next time he’s that much more ready. But we were 5-0 with Parker having the ball in his hands and a big reason we were 5-0 because of his decision-making and incredible assist-turnover ratio. He’s one of the guys I’m talking to. He’s never played this many minutes. He’s never been the true starter and although he’s experienced, he’s not experienced in that role you just saw. So things like this sometimes happen."
Couldn’t fit all of Miller’s apparent sarcasm into our main story today, so here’s some more, as he referred to the offensive fouls on Arizona that Butler drew.
With the defender “running full speed, it’s an offensive foul and we have to adjust to that,” he said. “It’s hard for our players because if they are fortunate enough to go to the NBA, it’s a completely different game, but we have to adjust. It’s up to us as a staff. … drawing charges, taking it in the chest, sacrificing our body to get an offensive foul is something we’re talking about.
“Embracing freedom of movement is part one, and part two is drawing more offensive fouls. Snapping your head back, cross-body blocking, getting to the point where you get outside the restricted area, stopping the ball, taking the charge through our chest, those are all physical plays. It’s like checking in hockey or in football, the ball’s on the ground, how does that feel? Basketball has a version of that now and we have to adjust to it.”
While Texas Southern has some prolific gunners in the backcourt, the Tigers’ most intriguing player is probably forward Derrick Griffin, a four-star football and a three-star basketball talent (who played club ball with the Harrison twins) in high school. He committed to Texas A&M and signed with Miami as a football player.
Griffin didn’t get eligible academically at Miami and wound up near his suburban Houston home at Texas Southern, then decided to play football and basketball for the Tigers. After a standout football season, he became the SWAC Player of the Year in basketball.
“He’s a talented player , a big-time athlete who can cause some problems,” Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said. “He wanted to focus on basketball and he wants to play football and he was torn between both.”
But Griffin’s decision was made for him this year when he suffered a minor injury early in the season and then was dismissed from the football team for violating team rules.
Here's the school-produced game notes from Arizona. Our full pregame coverage is attached, as both a main story and scouting report.