Sean Miller to Jamelle Horne: Grab some reboundsby Anthony Gimino on Feb. 09, 2010, under Sports
You know a coach really has something to say when he’ll be answering a question about one thing, and then, unprompted, comment about something else.
Such was the case Tuesday with Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller about junior forward Jamelle Horne.
“The one aspect of our finish is to get Jamelle Horne to rebound,” Miller said at his weekly press conference.
There you have it.
Miller went on to note that 5-foot-10 point guard Nic Wise has more defensive rebounds in conference play (33) than does the 6-7 Horne, who, if nothing else, always has shown excellent hops. Horne has 31 defensive rebounds in Pac-10 play.
“Jamelle Horne finishing the season strong, rebounding the ball, that is one of the keys for us finishing the season strong,” said Miller, whose team is in a five-way tie for second-place in the Pac-10, a game behind Cal.
“We talk to him all the time about it. It’s not an easy solution.”
Miller had a notable talking-to with Horne at halftime of the Arizona State game on Jan. 23, and Horne responded with 11 second-half points, hitting 4 of 5 shots.
But Horne always has been Mr. Inconsistent … and it’s laughable that fans got on interim coach Kevin O’Neill a couple of years ago for not giving Horne regular minutes. If he can’t be counted on as a junior, imagine what he must have been like as a freshman.
Anyway, Horne has had plenty of good moments this season, and his 3-point shooting (22 of 45, 48.9 percent in conference play) has been a revelation. But the good times have been offset by his disappearing acts.
Miller said it was too early in the week to know if there will be any lineup changes for Thursday’s home game against Oregon. Freshman wing Solomon Hill is coming off a good weekend at the Washington schools as he rediscovered some of his aggressiveness that had been lacking.
Whether Horne starts or comes off the bench, he needs to be at his best if Arizona, which plays five of its final seven at home, is going to threaten for a regular-season championship and build momentum for the Pac-10 tournament.
As I mentioned in a recent UA notebook, Horne averaged 16 points through the first four conference games, but has slumped to 6.3 in the past seven league games. Not that Miller’s top concern is scoring.
“He is one of our most experienced players, and one of the roles he has to fill for us is to rebound,” said Miller, hammering his theme. “I haven’t even talked about offensive rebounding, where he is averaging less than one a game.”
It’s true. Horne has 10 offensive rebounds in 11 conference games.
Miller talked about staying even keel emotionally with Horne, who could use some even-keel emotions of his own. On the court, his body language shows too much disgust when things go badly, and he celebrates a bit too heartily when things are going well. Just play, Jamelle.
Miller and his staff are sure to spend more time talking with Horne this week, trying to find the right buttons to push. Since the coach is trying to make a point publicly, let’s give him the last word.
“The one statistic that is real that you need to evaluate Jamelle on is rebounding,” Miller said.
“We’re going to ask him to improve that down the stretch. If he does it, I know our team is much better and he is a much better player.”