Sean Miller couldn’t stop raving about Parker Jackson-Cartwright after the Arizona Wildcats’ 71-55 win over Northern Colorado on Monday.
And rightfully so.
The Wildcats’ starting point guard recorded his first career double-double, scoring 15 points and dropping 11 assists. Miller said it was Jackson-Cartwright’s “best game at Arizona.”
It is also Jackson-Cartwright’s best two-game stretch at Arizona, as the junior has scored 26 points and dished out 15 assists with only one turnover in wins over Sacred Heart and Northern Colorado.
“He’s so valuable in making the game easier for his teammates,” Miller said. “When you’re out there for 60 minutes and you’re playing point guard and the ball’s in his hands as much as it’s in his hands, and you’re fifteen assists to one turnover, that’s outstanding.”
For the season, Jackson-Cartwright is averaging career-highs in points (10.3), assists (5.8), free throw percentage (85.7), rebounds (3.0), steals (1.3), and minutes played (32.7). And, to Miller’s liking, he is racking up 4.6 assists for every turnover.
However, as well as Jackson-Cartwright has played, he isn’t excelling in every facet of the game. He’s struggled to connect from behind the arc.
Jackson-Cartwright is just 3-for-14 from 3-point range this season — and one of those makes was a desperation heave against Michigan State.
Miller thinks Jackson-Cartwright’s low percentage is a function of the type of 3s he’s taking, rather than his makeup as a shooter.
“We want Parker to take good 3-point shots,” Miller said. “He’s a much better shooter than he’s shown. You take a look at our 18 conference games a year ago, he took selective, good 3s and he shot the highest percentage of any player that played in the Pac-12. So I think some of it is settling into his role, learning how to be a starter.”
Jackson-Cartwright shot 18 for 37 (48.6 percent) on 3-pointers in Pac-12 play a season ago, but he was only averaging 2.1 attempts per game. This season, he’s at 3.5 attempts per game and the increased volume — along with the heavy number of minutes he is playing — has had an inverse effect on his efficiency.
“He’s using a ton of energy right now on defense and pushing the ball, playing more minutes, so he has to be more selective,” Miller said. “But we want him to shoot the ball from the 3-point line because he’s one of our team’s best 3-point shooters.”
No. 8 Arizona (4-0) returns to action Thursday when it takes on Santa Clara (3-2) in Las Vegas as part of the the Las Vegas Invitational.
Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. MST and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
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