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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 72, KANSAS STATE 68
* — STARTERS
|LESS THAN 10 MIN|
ARIZONA 72, KANSAS STATE 68
Stanley Johnson is a freshman by college standards but he’s a veteran when it comes to pressure moments.
A four-time state champion at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, Johnson is no stranger to rising to the occasion. Some went so far as to compare his high school exploits to Bill Walton’s as the best in the history of California prep basketball.
After sinking two free throws to put Arizona ahead of Kansas State 68-64 with 22 seconds left Tuesday night, Johnson had a crucial steal on an inbounds play. He kept step with his player from the midcourt stripe, running all of the way to the baseline to pick off the pass.
Johnson said he was in a “boxing stance” against K-State’s Nino Williams on the play as he tracked down the ball.
“You know, with our boxing stance here, just in the lane, once everybody cleared out it was just me and him on the island, I feel like,” Johnson said. “I knew it was coming, and I was right inside of him. The only way he could get it is if he passed to his outside hand.
“So I kind of gambled knowing I could make up for it. And he passed it right to his chest, and I just stepped in front of him and stole it from him.”
Arizona coach Sean Miller interjected: “I think that’s the first time he’s been in a boxer’s stance since he’s been at Arizona. Good. Hopefully that’s more things to come.”
Fitting words inasmuch as Arizona is in a fight for the Maui Invitational title, facing West coast rival San Diego State for that honor Wednesday night.
The Wildcats are also in a struggle for respectability in the realm of being ranked No. 2 nationally. The talk in Tucson and around college basketball circles is about whether Arizona is deserving of such a lofty ranking after sweating it out in their last three games against unranked Cal-Irvine, Missouri and Kansas State.
Don’t forget to vote. Championship matchup of the Arizona Wildcats Best Play Bracket (click on bracket to access blog and poll):
San Diego State will give Arizona its best shot after losing to the Wildcats twice last season, including a grueling loss in the Sweet 16. Making the rivalry more intense is Arizona facing former player Angelo Chol, who transferred to San Diego State after the 2012-13 season.
Miller will coach against the Aztecs and Steve Fisher for the sixth time in his six years at Arizona, the most against any non-conference opponent. The Wildcats hold a 3-2 edge against San Diego State under Miller having won the last three games.
ARIZONA DUNK TALLY
No. Player G Pos. Yr. FG 9 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 5 SF Soph. 22-33 4 Kaleb Tarczewski 5 C Jr. 17-24 3 Brandon Ashley 5 PF Jr. 24-43 2 Stanley Johnson 5 SG Fr. 19-42
Arizona does not have Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson like it did last year in the two-game sweep of the Aztecs.
The Wildcats have a healthy Brandon Ashley, however, who watched from the bench during the Sweet 16 because of his foot injury. They have a more confident and determined Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the undeniable engine that makes Arizona run.
Arizona also has Stanley Johnson, whose productivity against Kansas State was similar to his namesake last year.
The Wildcats have many important parts that Miller is trying to make interchangeable by the time the Pac-12 season starts.
Two significant pieces to the puzzle came into play against a Kansas State team that is as good as most conference teams Arizona will face this season.
Stanley Johnson lived up to his recruiting hype and Gabe York awoke by hitting a couple of threes for Arizona in the second half.
Stanley Johnson can have the same kind of impact that Nick Johnson had on Arizona last year by the end of the season. He can be a lockdown defender (exemplified by his steal against K-State) and he can be difficult for any defender on the offensive end with his strength and athleticism.
York’s perimeter shooting can mean the difference between Arizona operating with efficiency when he’s hot to the Wildcats struggling to get the win when he’s cold.
Kaleb Tarczewski also answered the bell when challenged by K-State’s 6’7″ and 265-pound center Thomas Gipson. Tarczewski scored a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. Tarczewski has made 17 of his first 24 field goal attempts, a team-best 70.8 percent.
The Wildcats showed they have different components other than Hollis-Jefferson to pull out a win. They played against a physical Kansas State team that has advanced to the NCAA tournament the last couple of years.
They got in that boxer stance and remained unbeaten. The fight for respectability continues against the next challenger, San Diego State, and it will be a heavyweight bout.
SEASON PRODUCTIVITY RATING
Player Pos G S PP MIN PR R. Hollis-Jefferson SF 5 0 130 125 1.040 Brandon Ashley PG 5 5 113 151 .748 Stanley Johnson SF 5 5 82 130 .631 T.J. McConnell PG 5 5 84 150 .560 Kaleb Tarczewski C 5 5 76 143 .531 Gabe York SG 5 5 48 126 .381 Elliott Pitts SG 5 0 18 67 .269 AVG 5-9.9 MIN P. Jackson-Cartwright PG 5 0 33 46 .717 Craig Victor PF 3 0 10 21 .476 Dusan Ristic C 5 0 12 28 .429 AVG 1-4.9 MIN Matt Korcheck PF 1 0 0 3 .000 Drew Mellon SF 1 0 0 1 .000 Jacob Hazzard PG 2 0 -2 3 -.667 Trey Mason SG 2 0 -3 4 -.750 TOTAL TEAM 3 375 600 .625
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 Nick Johnson (2014) 38 38 848 1254 .676
ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
Date Opponent Results TeamPR Productivity Leader Pos PP MIN PR Nov. 25 Kansas State 72-68 (W) .540 Stanley Johnson SG 21 25 .840 Nov. 24 Missouri 72-53 (W) .525 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 25 23 1.087 Nov. 19 Cal-Irvine 71-54 (W) .610 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 31 29 1.069 Nov. 16 Cal State-Northridge 86-68 (W) .605 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 26 22 1.182 Nov. 14 Mt. St. Mary's 78-55 (W) .660 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 28 21 1.333