Two numbers that concern Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller are 35 and 37.
The first is the total of assists for starting sophomore point guard MoMo Jones. The second is his turnover total.
“Assist-to-turnover ratio is so big,” Miller said on Tuesday’s Pac-10 coaches teleconference with the media.
“I know we all have different styles, but I don’t know of a coach who doesn’t value that statistic above and beyond all else from a point guard.”
Jones did score 20 points Sunday night in a loss to Oregon State, often able to penetrate the zone and get to the basket when the Wildcats needed someone to stop up and score. But he also had five turnovers.
And Jones’ aggressive attitude worked against him when he took matters into his own hands and launched an 18-footer in the final 30 seconds with Arizona trailing by two points.
Not the right shot at the right time. It missed.
It all goes back to what Miller said at Arizona media day in October about Jones: “The name of the game for him is assist/turnovers.” Forget the scoring, Miller will be perfectly content with Jones being more efficient (about a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio) and playing some solid defense.
Through two games, Jones has three assists and nine turnovers.
“You can only go so far as a total team when that’s in place,” Miller said
“That’s not to discredit him at all from some of the other things that he’s done well. … He’s a great competitor and we love that about him, but for our team to reach its potential and to have a successful Pac-10 season, no question, that assist-to-turnover ratio is a big, sticking point with us right now.”