6 p.m. MST
Loose balls bounce away from him when he hustles to get them. Shots drop, but only after the buzzer has sounded. Jordin Mayes' few minutes he plays always seem to include bad luck, and when he's struggled, he's taken heat -- at least on Twitter, which when things aren't going right for sports fans becomes a breeding ground for grumbling and "I could do better" proclamations.
Let's pretend you could do better than Jordin Mayes.
You still wouldn't get playing time on Arizona's roster. And you certainly wouldn't stay at Arizona for four years as playing time dwindles each year. If you would, you're probably not one of those screaming through Twitter at Sean Miller to get Mayes off the floor.
Stress fracture injuries and a shallow well of confidence has made life tough on Mayes, who the Arizona Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe reports will earn a start as the Arizona Wildcats host the Stanford Cardinal.
Ever since Mayes committed to play for the Wildcats, it's been just that. A commitment.
A personal anecdote: I was in my first season covering UA for the Arizona Daily Wildcat and the night word spread of Jordin Mayes committing to the Wildcats, it was on me to report the story. Mayes didn't answer the phone when I called. He had a big game he was heading off to. Mayes' Westchester High School was playing rival Fairfax, Solomon Hill's old school.
His family promised he'd call me back after the game, usually one of the biggest games in the Los Angeles area high school scene. Shortly after midnight Arizona time, he did.
Mayes, never one to use too many words, said Arizona was "the right place" for him. His father, Darryel, said his son "wanted to rock the floor. Jordin wants to wear that ‘A' on his chest."
A young reporter's takeaway after speaking with him and his father wasn't about anything they said, though it was insightful. I was mostly just surprised he actually called me back after the high of a significant win.
As of Sunday, Senior Day, Mayes has likewise kept his word.
It's hard to say whether Mayes will be able to make a contribution tonight. Same goes for down the road, when the Wildcats surely could use some shooting and a little more depth.
Mayes proved his freshman year that he couldn't be rattled, playing his best ball in the NCAA tournament run that ended in the Elite Eight. And that's why his regression has been so surprising, so hard to understand.
Mayes never took the easy route, and for that, he should be commended. When Miller has shied away from playing him and fans are quick to criticize, he remains in cardinal and navy. Injuries are never an easy thing to come back from, especially when there are talented players lining up to play at Arizona.
Mayes still has time to rock the floor, and maybe a game against Stanford will earn him more chances to do so as the postseason nears.
York in a funk
Since making his first start and scoring 15 points, Gabe York hasn't found the bottom of the net. The starting guard is 2-for-11 in the last two games, though he's contributed in other ways. York grabbed 10 rebounds against Colorado and added five boards and five assists Wednesday against the California Golden Bears.
Something you already know but is good to reflect on. T.J. McConnell's assist numbers are a decent-enough sign of how Arizona is doing. Opponents had best take the ball out of his hands. He's got a few three-assist games -- Drexel, Washington State, Colorado (the first time) and Oregon -- but his two worst assist games came in UA's losses. He had zero against Cal and just two against ASU.
When he has six or more assists per game, the Wildcats are mighty hard to beat.