When Parker Jackson-Cartwright went down with a high ankle sprain, the Arizona Wildcats were losing more than just their starting point guard — they were losing the only pure point guard on their roster.
In his place, Arizona has been forced to use combo guards like Kadeem Allen and Kobi Simmons at point guard.
The Wildcats are getting more scoring from the position now, but also fewer assists and more turnovers.
That begs the question: In retrospect, does Sean Miller wish he had a second pure point guard on the roster?
“I think as long as on your roster you have more than one player that can play that position, (you’re OK). That’s what we try to do,” Miller said. “Sometimes if you have just two straight, pure point guards they almost take away from each other because it’s difficult to have them on the court at the same time. But in our case, we’ve been able to play whoever plays the point guard position with the other.”
Miller values versatility over traditional positional roles, and he says former Wildcat Nick Johnson exemplifies that.
“Nick could play the point, but he could certainly be in the game with a point (guard),” Miller explained. “So moving forward, like everything in recruiting, you try to get the best that you can. Playing with guys with more than one position I think is very beneficial.”
Allen is the same type of versatile player on the current roster, which is why Arizona is able to get away with not having a second pure point guard.
In five games without Jackson-Cartwright, Allen is averaging 9.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.4 turnovers. Miller has acknowledged that Allen needs to cut back on turnovers, but overall he has been a serviceable replacement for Jackson-Cartwright.
Would a second pure point guard be welcomed right now? Sure — heck, any healthy scholarship player would — but not having one hasn’t been a death sentence for the Wildcats, either.
It would be a different story if Allen wasn’t around, though.
“If you think about where we’d be without Kadeem, Kadeem plays as many as three different positions for us. Is he a pure point guard? He’s not, but the fact that he’s capable gives us much-needed depth,” Miller said. “In our situation, he’s been a godsend.”
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