Arizona hoops notes: Peters making progress but not ready to playby Anthony Gimino on Oct. 13, 2013, under Arizona basketball
Sophomore power forward Zach Peters, a Kansas transfer who was ruled eligible this season by the NCAA, did not play during the Red-Blue Game as he continues his comeback from multiple concussions that led him to leave the Jayhawks.
“He has made incredible progress since the day he stepped on our campus, which was mid-summer,” said coach Sean Miller, who stressed that the team’s medical staff is taking a cautious one-day-at-a-time approach.
“What we hope is that sometime over the next month, we can get to the point where he’s pretty much with us the entire time.”
Peters has been able to do most everything with the team, expect for full-contact scrimmaging. No word yet on whether he would be cleared to play for the Oct. 28 exhibition vs. Augustana. The regular season begins Nov. 8 vs. Cal Poly.
“He’s not a guy who has setbacks as much as this is the plan, and we’re going to comprehensively stick to that plan,” Miller said.
“Zach has certain things he has to be honest about and work hard, and he’s doing both. I think the outcome of this will be a good one.”
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Nick Johnson sealed the win for the Red team by stealing the ball from T.J. McConnell, driving for a dunk and the foul in the final 10 seconds. The ensuing free throw gave the Red a 44-39 victory in a game that featured two 12-minute halves.
“I just made a gamble and it paid off,” Johnson said.
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Assistant coach Book Richardson, who announced Sept. 27 he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence for an undisclosed health reason, could be able to rejoin the team within the “next couple of weeks,” Miller said.
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Sophomore forward Brandon Ashley on freshman forward Aaron Gordon: “He’s a slasher. He likes to get energy plays, dunks, put-backs. He’s a great rebounder. Really aggressive. He’s a great player.”
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Gabe York didn’t get a chance to defend his title in the Red-Blue dunk contest, withdrawing because ankle and hamstring injuries that had him at about 70 percent for the scrimmage, Miller said.
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In Gary Parrish’s Pac-12 preview on CBSSports.com, he quotes an unnamed conference coach as saying this about league favorite Arizona:
“The scary thing about what Sean [Miller] is doing [at Arizona] is that he’s probably only going to be better, and he’s already ahead of the rest of the league. He’s got it rolling, and I don’t think anything is going to slow him down.”
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Arizona honored its 1994 Final Four team, a squad that included assistant coach Damon Stoudamire and big man Joseph Blair, a volunteer undergraduate assistant.
Blair, who played professionally overseas for 13 years, is still in playing shape. He can get out on the practice court and give 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski some hands-on training.
“He’s still looking pretty good,” Tarczewski said. “He’s been retired for a few years but he gets out there and does his thing. … He really knows the footwork in the post. And being overseas for a long time, he really has that European game too, which is really beneficial to me.”
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