As long as Kadeem Allen doesn’t play in the Arizona Wildcats’ regular-season games, he will be eligible for a redshirt. There’s no need for an announcement.
But Sean Miller said during his weekly news conference today that he will look to finalize the decision this weekend, giving Allen the chance to approach the season differently than if he were playing.
“We owe that to him,” Miller said.
Even though Allen was the junior college player of the year at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College last season, Miller said he will benefit both athletically and academically by turning his two-year stay at UA into a three-year plan.
“We’re leaning toward redshirting him, not because we don’t believe in him, but just the opposite,” Miller said. “I believe a third year at Arizona would allow him to be at a place on the court and in a place academically off the court that he couldn’t be able to establish in a rushed two-year period of time, especially based on the team we have this season and his inexperience at Arizona .
“He’s on board and he understands he can really use this year as a year almost following T.J. McConnell’s blueprint (McConnell sat out in 2012-13 as a transfer from Duquesne) – practice hard every day, work in our strength and conditioning program, be a real part of our team’s success. And then follow that up with a great offseason and have two years to play.”
Even though Craig Victor was the 10th player to play Sunday against Cal Poly Pomona, Miller said he had no plans to redshirt the freshman forward or anybody else unless there was a major injury.
“We’ll need everyone from that point on,” he said.
One of two players UA selected for interviews today, Brandon Ashley appeared not only confident but grateful after his first game back from a foot injury last Feb. 1.
“In all honesty, I actually teared up when they announced my name” before Sunday’s game with Cal Poly Pomona. “All the love and support I’ve gotten from the fans in Tucson and honestly Arizona fans all over the country, it’s been amazing. Definitely couldn’t ask for a better supporting group. It’s just special.”
Appearing tentative in the Oct. 18 Red-Blue Game, Ashley said he began feeling fully functional and mentally ready about a week before the Pomona game, when he had 10 points and seven rebounds.
“I definitely feel more comfortable,” he said. “It’s all about getting the comfort level back. … I definitely felt I was getting back to my natural state.”
UA is expected to sign its four committed players during the early signing period that begins Wednesday, though it isn't known when all the letters-of-intent will roll in.
Justin Simon said via text message that he was planning to sign Wednesday, while Chance Comanche's mother, Melissa McGee, said her son also would. Messages sent regarding Ray Smith and Allonzo Trier have not yet been returned.
UA is not planning to release any comments from Miller about the recruits until all four LOIs have been received. That could be Wednesday afternoon, Thursday or even Friday. Coaches are not allowed to comment publicly on recruits until their LOIs have been received.
"It could take some time, for no reason other than each of those guys have their own life going right now," Miller said.
Several times during the preseason, Miller has alluded to the need to assimilate the talent and mentality of freshman Stanley Johnson into his system – noting last month that Johnson “has a different way of going about it” than Aaron Gordon, who deferred to veterans early last season.
Here’s another interesting anecdote on Johnson, which surfaced after ESPN was granted access to a September workout (UA practices are normally closed to media). According to the story by ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Johnson hooked Kaleb Tarczewski’s arm and tossed him “like a suitcase” during a scramble for a rebound during that practice.
"Hey, man!" Tarczewski screamed, according to ESPN. "What the f--- was that?!"