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Arizona basketball: Sean Miller likes the Wildcats’ point guard situation, thinks Kadeem Allen is underrated offensively

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Sean Miller thinks Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright complement each other well

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Sooner or later, Allonzo Trier will be moved into the Arizona Wildcats’ starting lineup, but that appears to be the only change the team will make to its starting five.

A few weeks ago — before Trier was reinstated from his suspension — it seemed there was a strong possibility that point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright would return to the team’s starting lineup, too, but UA’s recent success along with some recent struggles from Jackson-Cartwright have likely shelved that idea.

Jackson-Cartwright played just 13 minutes in Arizona’s win over Washington on Sunday, and he finished with zeros in both the scoring and assist columns to go along with three turnovers.

“I think he’s healthy, It just didn’t go his way,” Miller said after the game. “Next game it could.”

Jackson-Cartwright, who hasn’t scored or taken a shot in the last two games, was UA’s starting point guard before he was sidelined for six games with a high ankle sprain, and Kadeem Allen has taken over the starting point guard role since.

And Miller likes how Jackson-Cartwright complements Allen off the bench.

“Parker is a change of pace,” Miller explained. “Parker is a pass-first point guard. His assist-to-turnover ratio has always been really good. This year’s no different. He hasn’t shot the ball as well as he did a year ago, but that can change quickly. But we trust both of those guys, they’re a big part of our success.

“I like our point guard position.”

And that’s even after both Allen and Jackson-Cartwright had trouble taking care of the basketball against Washington.

“We had eight turnovers between the two of them (against Washington) and that really hurt us,” Miller said. “That doesn’t happen often, Parker in particular does a great job taking care of the ball.”

Jackson-Cartwright and Allen are averaging 3.4 and 1.5 assists per turnover, respectively.

Allen is “underrated” offensively

Everybody knows about Allen’s defensive prowess by now, but the senior’s performance against UW’s Markelle Fultz on Sunday served as another reminder.

Allen helped hold the potential No. 1 NBA draft pick to 16 points on 23 shots.

“We were defending one of America’s best players in college basketball...and I thought as a team we did a really good job and I thought Kadeem Allen really took on the challenge and did about as well as you can,” Miller said.

Defense is Allen’s calling card — some even think it could allow him to punch his ticket onto an NBA roster — but Miller thinks Allen is undervalued as an offensive player as well.

“He’s, to me, an underrated offensive player for us because he scores big baskets,” Miller said.

Allen is averaging just north of 10 points per game, and Miller thinks he can contribute even more on that end by taking more 3s. Allen is shooting 45 percent from 3, but is only averaging 2.2 attempts per game.

“He’s still a guy sometimes that passes up the open 3,” Miller said.

Aside from that and Allen’s eight turnovers this week, Miller says his team’s lone senior is playing “great basketball.”

“An all-defensive team player, a potential all-conference player, that’s who he is,” Miller said. “Leadership-wise he’s been there from the Michigan State game on.”


You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire