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2017-18 Arizona basketball player previews: Keanu Pinder

The Australian forward is terrific defensively, but doesn’t offer much offensively

NCAA Basketball: Sacred Heart at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Keanu Pinder

Hometown: Perth, Australia

Class: Senior

Height: 6’9”

Weight: 220

Position: Forward

Career stats

2016-17 in review

Pinder transferred in from Hutchinson Community College and was an ultimate one-way player for the Arizona Wildcats.

The Australian forward didn’t offer much offensively besides the occasional dunk or layup, but he was tremendous defensively.

Pinder’s effort never wavered, and he had the physical tools to guard several positions, plus offered some rim-protection, easily leading UA in block percentage (5.7). One of his best skills is defending pick-and-rolls.

Statistically, Pinder was Arizona’s most effective defensive player in 2016-17. The Wildcats allowed 94.8 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, substantially better than the 98.0 defensive rating Arizona put up as a team.

Pinder also led the Wildcats in defensive box plus/minus — a box score estimate of the defensive points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league average player, translate to an average team — with a 7.3 mark (for reference, Kadeem Allen was 5.8).

Pinder was also effective on the glass, posting a 14.3 rebounding percentage, a virtual tie with Dusan Ristic for the team-lead.

Offensively, Pinder averaged just 2.2 points per game in 12.0 minutes, and he never scored more than four points in a Pac-12 game.

Pinder shot 53.7 percent from the field, but just 1-4 from 3, and 19-33 (57.6 percent) from the free-throw line, as he’s basically a non-shooter.

Two of his 3-point attempts were taken against Texas Southern — and he made one of them! — but Sean Miller was not happy about that shot selection.

Pinder’s playing time gradually decreased throughout the season after Arizona got Parker Jackson-Cartwright back from injury and Allonzo Trier back from suspension.

Oddly, though, the Australian made his first career start in the Pac-12 Tournament where he was asked to defend Oregon’s Dillon Brooks.

Pinder picked up three fouls in the first five minutes in that game, but that was sort of Arizona’s plan: to have Pinder, rather than someone like Trier or Rawle Alkins, pick up those fouls.

2017-18 outlook

Chance Comanche is no longer with the program, so Pinder is only one of two returning big men for the Wildcats in 2017-18.

But barring significant improvement offensively, Pinder’s role will likely be similar to the one he had in 2016-17, and he might even play less since he will be battling with freshmen Ira Lee and Emmanuel Akot for minutes.

Pinder’s defensive ability and versatility is of use to any team, but his inability to much of anything on offense makes him difficult to play for long stretches of time.

The forward had an offensive rating — the estimated number of points produced per 100 possessions — of 94.8 last season, which was by far the worst mark on the team. Second-worst was Kobi Simmons and he was all the way at 104.0.

On another note, Pinder debuted blonde highlights in the Red-Blue Game, a sign that we’re going to continue to see a wide array of hairstyles from the forward in 2017-18.

Quotable

“He’s a great defender, he plays with a lot of energy, very athletic, he gives us a quickness up front that we really need.” — Sean Miller on Keanu Pinder

“Defense and rebounding. Those are the things I do well.” — Keanu Pinder

“He goes hard at everything. Sometimes it’s even scary, but a lot of times it’s like ‘man, I’m glad that guy’s on my team.’” — Ray Smith on Keanu Pinder

“It’s not a good shot for him or our team,” — Sean Miller after Keanu Pinder attempted two 3s in one game last year.

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