Who will step up for Arizona Wildcats to fill void for Brandon Ashley?


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Brandon Ashley's ability to extend the opposing defenses will be missed if he's lost of the season (YouTube capture)

Brandon Ashley’s ability to extend the opposing defenses will be missed if he’s lost of the season (YouTube capture)

Arizona coach Sean Miller told Pac-12 Networks reporter Ashley Adamson after tonight’s 60-58 loss at California that starting power forward Brandon Ashley apparently broke his right foot in the first half and is potentially lost for the season.

“It is a foot injury … it looks to be broken but we can’t say that it is right now,” Miller said. “We have to get the X-rays. But it is certainly an injury that will have him out a period of time, if not the whole year.”

Ashley, from nearby Oakland, landed awkwardly in the lane after missing a shot only two minutes into the game. The game was stopped by the officials and the sophomore was led to the locker room in noticeable pain.

If Ashley is lost for the season, that creates a significant void in the frontcourt for the Wildcats. Ashley is a 6-foot-8 and 230-pound forward who can extend the defense. His replacement in the lineup will be freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is a workhorse in the lane, but is limited with his perimeter game.

“Now, I think for us, we have to get back to the drawing board and make sure to move forward if Brandon is not with us. We have a lot of guys who have wanted more of an opportunity and guys who have not gotten off the bench as much. They will have that opportunity now and I feel that we will still be fine.” — Arizona coach Sean Miller

“Now, I think for us, we have to get back to the drawing board and make sure to move forward if Brandon is not with us,” Miller told Adamson. “We have a lot of guys who have wanted more of an opportunity and guys who have not gotten off the bench as much.

“They will have that opportunity now and I feel that we will still be fine.”

Miller and his staff may opt to move Aaron Gordon to power forward and pair with Kaleb Tarczewski at the post. Hollis-Jefferson probably will become the small forward.

The trickle-down effect should allow for guards Gabe York, Jordin Mayes and Elliott Pitts additional minutes. Matt Korcheck, who has played well in his brief appearances, should help bolster the frontcourt with some size and strength.

One mystery of this season is the lack of playing time of Kansas transfer Zach Peters, whom Miller said before the season will be valuable for Arizona’s depth inside. Peters may get his chance now.

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



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