Nick Johnson clutch in similar ways as former Arizona Wildcats conference players of the year


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WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

ARIZONA 79, UCLA 75
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS

Player Pos PP MIN PR
Gabe York SG 16 18 .889
*Kaleb Tarczewski C 29 33 .879
*Nick Johnson SG 28 35 .800
*Aaron Gordon SF 15 27 .556
*T.J. McConnell PG 18 34 .529
*Brandon Ashley PF 8 29 .276
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 0 21 .000
LESS THAN 10 MIN
Jordin Mayes PG 0 3 .000
TOTAL TEAM 114 200 .570


ArizonaLogo logo.UCLA

Bill Walton can get lost in thought, like comparing the creation of iTunes with Steve Alford’s innovative ways with UCLA’s scoring production, but he was succinct with one bold comment during Arizona’s 79-75 victory over the Bruins on Thursday night:

Nick Johnson is college basketball's top player, according to Bill Walton

Nick Johnson is college basketball’s top player, according to Bill Walton

Top-ranked Arizona is the best team in the nation and Nick Johnson is the Wildcats’ best player. Therefore, Nick Johnson is college basketball’s top player. The logic adds up but the national media will not fall in line with Walton’s reasoning.

CBSSports.com believes Creighton’s Doug McDermott should be the nation’s player of the year if the season ended today. NBCSports.com is in favor of Duke freshman Jabari Parker for the highest honor right now and ranks Johnson as the ninth-best player.

With Arizona apparently without a national player of the year candidate, it speaks volumes about Sean Miller’s coaching ability, doesn’t it? He has achieved unprecedented success for Arizona by this point of the season without a Sean Elliott or Jason Terry. Miller should be a coach of the year candidate right?

USA Today does not think so.

Only one of five reporters among its “panel of experts” mentioned Miller in passing as a national coach of the year candidate Wednesday. Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg was a clear favorite, followed by Kansas State’s Bruce Weber and San Diego State’s Steve Fisher.

Does it really matter in the grand scheme of the season? Absolutely not. The only prize for Arizona that matters now, with the Wildcats vying for their fifth consecutive week at No. 1, is to cut down the nets on April 7 in Dallas. Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley, T.J. McConnell, Gabe York and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have put Arizona in that position.

From players No. 1 to No. 7 this is as cohesive of a unit as Arizona’s 1996-97 championship team that defied the odds by winning the title with nine losses that season.

The reason why Arizona prevailed against UCLA was not only because of Johnson. It was the valuable shooting performance of York off the bench. He answered Steve Alford’s zone defense with three critical three-pointers. If York does not connect, the complexion of the game changes and UCLA psychologically gets the edge by continuing to dare the Wildcats to shoot from outside.

York and Johnson combined to shoot 6 of 13 from three-point range. Everybody else: 0 for 5. Fittingly, York nailed the game-sealing free throws with 12 seconds remaining.

Tarczewski was also pivotal inside with Gordon in foul trouble and Ashley struggling. Tarczewski connected on all six of his field goal attempts — the hiring of Joseph Blair as the graduate assistant is obviously paying dividends — to finish with a career-high 16 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds.

Johnson certainly merits Pac-12 Player of the Year consideration especially with how he has played in Arizona’s biggest games this season, including Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. He entered the realm of Elliott and Chris Mills with strong performances in meaningful games against the Bruins with his 22 points.

When Arizona was challenged by Washington last Saturday at McKale, Johnson responded with 24 points. He scored 23 in Arizona’s significant win over a dangerous San Diego State team on the road in November. In the victory at Michigan last month, Johnson made six free throws over the final 25 seconds to help the Wildcats rally from an 11-point deficit in the second half.

If the season continues to unfold this way, Johnson should become Arizona’s seventh Pac-12 Player of the Year following Elliott, Mills, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Terry and Derrick Williams.

TOP FIVE ARIZONA REBOUNDING TEAMS

Margin Team Avg Opp Games
19.3 1950-51 59.5 40.2 30
11.3 2013-14 39.9 28.6 16
9.7 1976-77 46.7 37.0 27
8.3 1975-76 47.2 38.9 33
8.1 1998-99 41.7 33.6 29

PAC-12 STANDINGS

CONF OVRL
W-L GB PCT W-L PCT STRK
#1 Arizona 3-0 1.000 16-0 1.000 W16
#15 Colorado 3-0 1.000 14-2 .875 W4
California 2-0 .5 1.000 11-4 .733 W3
Arizona State 2-1 1 .667 13-3 .813 W2
Washington 2-1 1 .667 10-6 .625 W1
UCLA 1-1 1.5 .500 12-3 .800 L1
#17 Oregon 1-2 2 .333 13-2 .867 L2
Utah 1-2 2 .333 12-3 .800 L1
Oregon State 1-2 2 .333 9-6 .600 W1
Stanford 0-2 2.5 .000 9-5 .643 L2
USC 0-2 2.5 .000 9-6 .600 L2
Washington State 0-3 3 .000 7-8 .467 L3

ARIZONA BEST STARTS

Record Team Finish Coach
16-0 2013-14 ??? Sean Miller
16-0 1931-32 18-2 Fred Enke Sr.
14-0 2012-13 27-8 Sean Miller
12-0 1987-88 35-3 Lute Olson
9-0 1914-15 9-0 Pop McKale
9-0 1921-22 10-2 James Pierce

ARIZONA OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY RATING

Player Pos G S PP MIN PR
Nick Johnson SG 16 16 374 492 .760
Kaleb Tarczewski C 14 13 246 368 .668
Aaron Gordon SF 16 16 311 481 .647
Brandon Ashley PF 16 16 279 453 .616
R. Hollis-Jefferson SF 16 2 227 369 .615
Gabe York SG 16 1 152 306 .497
T.J. McConnell PG 16 16 239 488 .490
AVG 5-9.9 MIN
Matt Korcheck PF 8 0 21 41 .512
Elliott Pitts SG 6 0 8 35 .229
Jordin Mayes PG 15 0 13 89 .146
AVG 1-4.9 MIN
Jacob Hazzard PG 7 0 11 19 .579
Trey Mason SG 6 0 7 16 .438
Erik Conklin F 6 0 7 16 .438
Drew Mellon F 5 0 2 11 .182
Zach Peters C 4 0 -3 16 -.188
TOTAL TEAM 1894 3200 .592

ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:

Name (Year) G S PP MIN PR
Derrick Williams (2011) 38 38 1190 1141 1.043
Sean Elliott (1989) 33 33 1128 1125 1.003
Chris Mills (1993) 28 28 838 870 .963
Sean Elliott (1988) 38 38 1167 1249 .934
D. Stoudamire (1995) 30 30 964 1092 .883
Mike Bibby (1998) 35 35 905 1124 .805
Jason Terry (1999) 29 29 877 1107 .792

ARIZONA AS NO. 1 TEAM

Season Rec. Pct.
1987-88
December 21-January 3 3-1 .750
January 11-February 7 6-1 .857
1988-89
February 6-February 12 1-1 .500
February 27-March 13 5-0 1.000
1997-98
November 20-November 30 4-1 .800
2000-01
November 20-November 26 3-1 .750
2002-03
November 23-December 22 5-1 .833
January 20-February 2 3-1 .750
February 10-March 16 7-1 .875
2013-14
December 9-January 12 7-0 1.000
TOTAL 44-8 .846

ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS

Date Opponent Results TeamPR Productivity Leader Pos PP MIN PR
Jan. 9 @UCLA 79-75 (W) .570 Gabe York SG 16 18 .889
Jan. 4 Washington 71-62 (W) .580 Nick Johnson SG 34 36 .944
Jan. 2 Washington St. 60-25 (W) .510 Kaleb Tarczewski C 20 22 .909
Dec. 23 NAU 77-44 (W) .660 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 30 27 1.111
Dec. 19 Southern 69-43 (W) .535 Aaron Gordon SF 28 29 .966
Dec. 14 @Michigan 72-70 (W) .530 Kaleb Tarczewski C 23 26 .885
Dec. 11 N.M. State 74-48 (W) .555 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 22 23 .957
Dec. 7 UNLV 63-58 (W) .450 T.J. McConnell PG 29 35 .829
Dec. 3 Texas Tech 79-58 (W) .570 Brandon Ashley PF 32 28 1.143
Nov. 29 Duke 72-66 (W) .590 Kaleb Tarczewski C 21 28 .750
Nov. 27 Drexel 66-62 (W) .505 Nick Johnson SG 31 36 .861
Nov. 19 Rhode Island 87-59 (W) .685 Nick Johnson SG 39 26 1.500
Nov. 18 Fairleigh Dickinson 100-50 (W) .890 Nick Johnson SG 30 20 1.500
Nov. 14 @San Diego State 69-60 (W) .490 Nick Johnson SG 29 31 .935
Nov. 11 Long Beach State 91-57 (W) .790 Brandon Ashley PF 28 21 1.333
Nov. 8 Cal Poly 73-62 (W) .565 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 20 21 .952

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.



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