A glorified pick-up game isn't going to be all that telling about how future Arizona Wildcats Grant Jerrett and Brandon Ashley will help Sean Miller's team next year. Such is the case when guards and wings dominated the 2012 McDonald's All-American game.
But even without playing against any NBA-ready, elite big men, the future of the two incoming Wildcats is bright simply because they'll bring what Arizona was desperately lacking in the 2011-12 season. Rebounding and efficiency in the paint.
OK, that was to be expected. Still, Ashley's six points and 10 rebounds, along with Jerrett's eight points and two boards gave a good perspective on how much impact the duo of power forwards can have without dominating the ball. Their West team, led by undecided commit Shabazz Muhammad's 21 points, took the game 106-102 in Chicago on Wednesday night.
It was the first time I'd watched either of them in game action, and while it's not the ideal platform to evaluate them upon, there's something to be said considering they were running up and down the basketball court with fellow stars that, while young, will be decent college contributors from Day 1.
While highlight mixtapes are great and all, I'd evaluate Jerrett and Ashley as this: At the very least next season, they'll be garbage guys that will be a solid first step in giving Miller's team size and rebounding.Evaluating Grant Jerrett
At 6-foot-10 and lean, Jerrett, who started for the West team, is listed as a power forward but built more to the tune of a Kevin Durant. At this point, that's not a good thing, but it's not to say his frame can be redefined quickly.
Jerrett showed a efficiency in scoring eight points despite rarely seeing touches. Despite having a hitch, he has a capable jump shot out to 18-20 feet and hit an important jumper to give the West team a 98-90 lead with just more than two minutes remaining.
Jerrett also showed a good court awareness, fading to the open spots on the floor and putting himself in good positions for the players with the ball to find him. He played within the flow of the contest and managed not to do anything silly -- the same couldn't be said for most of the other players on the court.
On the downside, Jerrett's size is something that hurt him Friday night. It's easily his main knock, and it'll be huge if he can arrive in Tucson during the Summer II session to hit the weight room as he was pushed around in the paint by bigger-bodied opponents. If Angelo Chol's growth during the season was any proof, Miller's weight program will do him a lot of good.
Evaluating Brandon Ashley
While scouts and analysts around the camp practices apparently believed that Jerrett was playing as if he were the better prospect of the two Wildcat commits -- Ashley did start the second half for the West team, instead of Jerrett -- it appears that Ashley is the more college-ready player at this point.
Like Jerrett, Ashley didn't see the ball very much, but he definitely made a difference on the boards. His motor appeared better than expected, as he was able to work around decent box-outs to grab six offensive rebounds en route to 10 boards total. That led to second-chance points.
Ashley showed that, in my humble opinion, he could be the frontrunner to start at the power forward position off the bat (or, if Chol or Kaleb Tarczewski can't figure it out, the center spot).