Arizona’s chances at a national championship may have taken a hit with the loss of sophomore forward Brandon Ashley for the season to a foot injury.
The 6-foot-10 forward was averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field.
“Brandon Ashley suffered a foot injury that will end his season,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said in a statement. “While we’re all disappointed, we are also aware that Brandon needs our support and positive energy surrounding him. Someone once told me, the hottest heat forges the strongest steel. This adversity will ultimately make Brandon and our team stronger moving forward.”
Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star suggested that Miller — whose team lost its first game of the season to Cal on Saturday — may have to use a three-guard lineup going forward featuring T.J. McConnell, Nick Johnson and Gabe York.
“Maybe a three-guard lineup, that’s something we have to look at,” Miller said late Saturday night, according to USA Today. “But the other thing is Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] has played 23 minutes a game – he’s capable. Gabe York has played around 18, and he’s certainly capable. [Seven-foot center] Kaleb [Tarczewski] played more tonight (35 minutes) and that’s going to be part of it, too. No one on our team has played more than 32 minutes so we’re now going to become a team where those guys are going to play more and probably go one guy deeper into our bench.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.