T.J. McConnell chasing one of most elusive Arizona Wildcats season records

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T.J. McConnell is close to having the best assist season in program history (YouTube video screen shot)

T.J. McConnell is close to having the best assist season in program history (YouTube video screen shot)


Russell Brown's 36-year season assist record is in jeopardy if Arizona goes deep into the NCAA tournament

Russell Brown’s 36-year season assist record is in jeopardy if Arizona goes deep into the NCAA tournament

For 36 years, nobody has accumulated more assists in a season at Arizona since Russell Brown tallied 247 in 1978-79.

T.J. McConnell is knocking on that door at 218 with the potential of six games remaining if the Wildcats reach the NCAA tournament championship game. Judging from McConnell’s average of 6.4, it will take Arizona advancing to the Final Four (4.5 games) for McConnell to reach at least 247 assists.

McConnell is only two assists away from passing assistant coach Damon Stoudamire at No. 3 on the record list (220 in 1994-95). Reggie Geary is No. 2 with 231 in 1995-96.

Stoudamire is returning home to Portland, where the Wildcats will play Texas Southern in the Round of 64 on Thursday morning.

“You know, (Stoudamire’s) pretty much made me the point guard I am today, along with Coach (Sean) Miller, (and) my dad,” McConnell said during Wednesday’s press conference. “But he’s taught me so many things about being a point guard that I didn’t think I’d be able to do or know.

“I’m the luckiest guy to have him as a coach. Glad we have a chance to let him come back home.”

Russell’s assist record stands as the longest standing individual season mark at Arizona other than field-goal percentage and rebounding average.

Bill Reeves’ 13.2 rebounds a game in 1950-51 is still on top 64 years later. His record is safe this year with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson leading the Wildcats at 6.8 rebounds a game.

Al Fleming made a record 66.7 percent of his field-goal attempts in 1973-74. Using Arizona’s criteria of at least four made shots a game, Brandon Ashley (150 of 291) is Arizona’s top shooter this season at 51.5 percent.

Jordan Hill in 2008-09 showed that long-standing records can be beaten. His 375 rebounds that season broke the school’s record of 373 set by Leo Johnson 58 years previously in 1950-51.

One season record that appears to be safe — other than those held by Fleming and Bill Reeves — is Khalid Reeves’ 843 points and scoring average of 24.2 in 1993-94.

McConnell is also only 16 steals shy of Mike Bibby’s record of 87 in 1997-98. McConnell would have to average 2.67 steals over the six games in the tournament to reach that mark. He averages 2.09 steals through the first 34 games.

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ARIZONA SEASON RECORD WATCH

ASSISTS

Player Year Total
Russell Brown 1978-79 247
Reggie Geary 1995-96 231
Damon Stoudamire 1994-95 220
T.J. McConnell 2014-15 218
Mustafa Shakur 2006-07 215

STEALS

Player Year Total
Mike Bibby 1997-98 87
Jason Terry 1996-97 85
Hassan Adams 2005-06 82
Jason Terry 1998-99 80
Mike Bibby 1996-97 76
Gilbert Arenas 1990-2000 71
T.J. McConnell 2014-15 71
Hassan Adams 2004-05 69
Nick Johnson 2012-13 68




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

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