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Arizona basketball: Parker Jackson-Cartwright poised for improvement in 2016

Arizona is going to need contributions from its backup point guard in Pac-12 play

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

By and large, the Arizona Wildcats offense has looked smooth and productive throughout the non-conference portion of the 2015-16 schedule.

But lately, one guy that hasn't been a part of that is backup point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Over the past six games, the sophomore has shot just 7-for-34 (20.5%) from the field, and is 2-of-16 (12.5%) from three. Despite these numbers, Sean Miller isn't worried.

"Parker and I together really have worked the last three days behind the scenes in the gym, and I'm just gonna make a prediction: he's gonna shoot the basketball so much better in Pac-12 play than he has so far," Miller said after the Long Beach State game on the 22nd.

"I have never seen a young guy miss more shots with the ball in and out of the rim than he has," coach explained about his prediction. "I thought he had two or three (vs. LBSU) halfway down that popped out, and I just think that once he makes a few, he'll never look back."

Even if that's true, Parker has only had three games this year where he had more than two field goal attempts and made over half of his shots (both Boise State games and Providence).

"He's a very good shooter," continued coach. "And a lot like our other guys, he's invested a TON of work to get better at that, and when the ball doesn't go down, it can effect everything that you do."

Overall this year, Jackson-Cartwright has averaged just over 21 minutes per game, scoring 4.7 points per contest, while dishing out 3.4 assists to 1.2 turnovers.

"At times he's been challenging," Miller said about Parker's performance in non-conference play. "At times he's played well, but we have not seen the best out of him. Our team needs him to be better, and I know he'll be better."

The point guard is scoring those 4.7 PPG on just 33% shooting overall.

"It's going to start with his shot, because he's too good of a shooter to keep missing the way he has."

"He can really shoot it, and time will even that out."

It hasn't been all bad for him recently though. In the last five games, the Wildcats have scored at least 80 points in each one, and Jackson-Cartwright has racked up 17 assists to just five turnovers. So it's not like his shooting has him down.

"I think we're just moving the ball and being really unselfish," PJC said after the Long Beach game. "Getting out in transition and just finding the open man."

If Arizona can start getting some consistent contributions from Jackson-Cartwright in the points category, and the turnovers remain where they are, this could be an extremely dangerous offensive team as it makes its way through the Pac-12 schedule.