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Arizona basketball: Kobi Simmons loses his confidence against Utah and Colorado

He’s a freshman. It happens.

New Mexico v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It happens to nearly every freshman at some point and Kobi Simmons is no exception.

“Like I told him after the game,” head coach Sean Miller said after Arizona’s win over Colorado on Saturday, “I saw Aaron Gordon lose his confidence, I’ve watched Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) lose his confidence. Stanley Johnson clearly lost his confidence a couple times. It just happens.”

After a scorching start to Pac-12 play for Simmons in the Bay Area, he cooled off considerably when Arizona returned home to play Utah and Colorado.

Against Cal and Stanford, Simmons averaged 14.5 points per game and shot 50 percent from the field. Against Utah and Colorado, though, he averaged 5.5 points per game and was 2-13 from the field.

“(Freshmen are) going to have their moments,” Miller said. “And when you haven’t had that moment as much because you’re as talented as they are, it kind of takes your confidence.”

And Miller feels that is the case with Simmons. Miller said the freshman is letting his shot — or lack thereof — bother him too much.

“He was our best player in the Bay Area. He had 12 made field goals. He took over the Cal game. So as much as you can lose it quickly, you can get it back,” Miller said.

“But it’s up to me, it’s up to our staff to get him going, because he’s too important to our team. He’s had a great start his freshman year, and now that we’re in conference play, we have to get him out of this rut.”

Earlier in the season, Simmons had a similar stretch. Against Gonzaga, Simmons scored two points while shooting an abysmal 1-9 from the field.

A game later against UC Irvine, he scored nine points on 2-8 shooting. Simmons’ confidence was shaken, but it rebounded soon after.

Simmons then scored in double figures in six straight games before the streak came to a halt against Utah and Colorado when he hit a rough patch in consecutive games.

He’s a freshman. It happens.

“It wasn’t like he was pouting or having a bad attitude, he just didn’t have it going offensively,” Miller said after the Colorado game in which Simmons was 2-7 from the field. “His attitude was great. His defense was very good and he’ll get out of it. As quickly as he lost [his confidence] for a game or so, I think he’ll get it back. ...And hopefully next game he’ll be ready to go.”

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire