The status of Arizona Wildcats tarting center Kaleb Tarczewski is unclear as the top-ranked Wildcats head into Thursday night’s home game against Southern.
The 7-footer suffered what coach Sean Miller called a “legitimately sprained ankle” during the second half of UA’s win at Michigan on Saturday. He sat out the final several minutes of the game.
Miller said Monday he thought Tarczewski had only one final exam remaining, allowing his sophomore big man to mostly concentrate on rehab.
“We’ve been able to get right on it,” Miller said. “He’s pretty much around the clock right now, working to get better.”
If Tarczewski can’t go, or is limited, more playing time would fall on freshman wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in a smaller lineup. Junior Matt Korcheck is next in line in the post, ahead of Kansas transfer Zach Peters, working his way back from a layoff of about a year due to concussion problems.
Korcheck, a Sabino grad who redshirted last season after transferring from Cochise College, hasn’t seen any meaningful time, playing 22 minutes in five games.
“Matt is one of our hardest workers,” Miller said.
“He hasn’t missed one day of practice in the past two years. He knows what to do. He’s big and he’s strong and he would do a good job for us.”
If Tarczewski is out for a while, this is a good time for it to happen. After Southern, Arizona plays host to NAU on Monday before taking a holiday break in which players will be able to go home for a few days. The Cats are off until the start of Pac-12 play against Washington State on Jan. 2.
Tarczewski is averaging 8.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, a bigger part of the half-court offense than he was last season.
“Kaleb made two or three offensive plays at Michigan that he has not made at Arizona,” Miller said. “What you’re starting to see is the value of going from your freshman year to your sophomore year.”