Sometimes one Kadeem Allen isn’t enough, so Sean Miller tries to get a second one.
“At one timeout, I asked the guys ‘is there any way that we could have more than one Kadeem?’” Miller said after Arizona’s win over ASU on Thursday. “‘Can we make two or three of them here for the second half?’
“Because we didn’t necessarily have an answer outside of him for stretches.”
Arizona was having difficulty stopping a barrage of second-half 3s from the Sun Devils, but hoping another player can defend like Allen is a tall task.
After helping hold Colorado’s Derrick White, who Miller called an NBA guard, to seven points last week, Allen put on another notable defensive performance Thursday against the rival Sun Devils.
ASU boasted three guards in Torian Graham, Shannon Evans II, and Tra Holder that were averaging north of 15 points per game, and Allen guarded not one or two, but all of three of them at different points in the game.
Not that that’s anything unusual.
“Kadeem does it every night,” Miller said. “I think he’s one of the best defenders in our conference, if not the nation. One of the many attributes that he has defensively is he’s versatile. He doesn’t guard just one player, he can guard two or three in the same game.
“We shifted him onto Torian Graham, and he did a good job. We shifted him onto Tra Holder and Shannon Evans, and let me say this, Tra Holder, Shannon Evans, and Torian Graham, those guys are really good players. They’re really good.”
Holder managed to score 20 points on 10 shots, but Evans was held to 1-8 shooting and Graham had 18 points on 15 shots.
Allen, who Miller has said is as good as any defender he’s had at Arizona, wasn’t sure if he defended better against Colorado or ASU, but he does believe that he is playing the best defense of his career.
“I think I’m at my peak right now at defense,” the senior said. “I’m playing great defense.”
Though, he’s not really sure why.
“Honestly, I don’t know, I’m just out there,” he said.
Out there and, to the demise of opposing teams’ best scorers, everywhere.
“I just black out on defense and be everywhere,” he said. “That’s what it really is.”
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