Nic Wise has been invited to the postseason Portsmouth Invitational to showcase his game for scouts/Photo by Wildcat Sports Report
When Nic Wise decided to return for his final year at Arizona – whether he had a choice or not – I thought he’d have a huge year. No, make that H-U-G-E year. A Jason Terry-type year where he’d score in the 20s every game and average about 22 to 25 points a game.
That’s what Terry did (21.9) when he helped lead UA to the NCAA tournament in 1999 en route to being named College Basketball’s CBS player of the year.
I wasn’t alone in the thought, either. Wise thought the same, too.
“I knew I’d have to,’’ Wise said this week. “I knew that for us to be successful early on, with the young guys we had, that I’d have to score. But then I saw that the young guys were getting better and coming along so I didn’t have to.’’
Wise is averaging 16 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
Wise was the leading scorer in four of Arizona’s first seven games. He’s been the leading scorer in just three games since. And he’s more than OK with that. UA is winning, now riding a four-game streak into Thursday’s game with Washington.
“It all depends on what games,’’ he said. “There are some that I don’t have to score as much as others. I just have to control the tempo and get a lot of guys involved. As other teams key on me, other (players) will do fine.’’
He said he has done “so-so’’ in handling teams trying to key on him and making others better. “But nobody’s perfect,’’ he said.
Listening to head coach Sean Miller you’d think that Wise was or is. Some are paying attention, including officials of the Portsmouth Invitational where some of the top 64 seniors will be able to showcase their stuff. Wise was invited on Wednesday.
It happens in two months (early April) but until then, he’ll do what he’s been doing all season – leading and scoring less than expected.
One person who is fine with that is Miller.
“Nic has been everything I’ve asked for and more,’’ Miller said. “I don’t know if there is a player in the Pac-10 that means more to his team than Nic Wise means to Arizona. And I don’t know if there is a guard in the country that impacts his team more than Nic does. He came back for all the right reasons.’’
Miller said Wise is on target to get his degree in May. He lists sociology as his major.
One would think that may have played a part in all his decisions this year.
“He’s trusted us and he’s trusted us more openly with what to do as he learned who we are,’’ Miller said of the coaching staff, Wise’s fourth in four years.
“We won games early only because he played great. We’ve won a couple because his sporting cast has grown around him and we’ve become better at certain things – like team defense. Nic has a lot to do with that. He leads his team in a quiet way but has a way of showing up and performing.’’