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Arizona basketball: Parker Jackson-Cartwright could have a “next gear” against USC and UCLA

The point guard will be able to get more rest than usual this week because of the Wildcats’ favorable schedule

2016 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational - Butler v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There hasn’t been much of a drop off in Parker Jackson-Cartwright’s production since he returned from a high ankle sprain, but Sean Miller is quick to remind folks that the junior still isn’t 100 percent healthy yet.

“I only tell you that because I think there’s a next level that he can get to,” Miller said after Jackson-Cartwright had five assists and zero turnovers in Arizona’s win over ASU on Thursday. “I think that that will happen.”

Miller thinks it could happen next week, too, because the Arizona Wildcats are currently in a prime spot in their schedule to rest Jackson-Cartwright.

The Wildcats only had one game this week — Thursday’s matchup with ASU — giving them seven days until their next game in Los Angeles against USC.

“The one thing I’m excited about is the next seven-day window gives him a chance to get some rest,” Miller said. “He’ll be at seven weeks since he got hurt and I think he’ll have that next gear that maybe he doesn’t quite have. He’s doing the best job he can, but he wants to be 100 percent, we want him to be 100 percent, and we need him to be moving forward.”

A look at Jackson-Cartwright’s production

In five games since returning from injury, Jackson-Cartwright has compiled 30 assists to just five turnovers. He is distributing better than ever, but his mobility on defense hasn’t fully returned yet, plus he is 0 for 5 from the 3-point line and hasn’t been much of a threat as a scorer.

“He’s playing well,” Miller said. “I think the last part is him to feel good about his shot, which will come back, but we’re ecstatic to have him back. He gives us something that we didn’t have when he was out.

“But I think this is a good stretch for Parker because we have an opportunity to rest him a little bit. He’s above and beyond the six-week mark (in his recovery). He’s worked really hard, and now he needs a little bit of rest here as we approach this next stretch, and he can now get it because of our schedule. I’m excited for him because he’s really pushed through these last three or four weeks.”

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