Devonaire Doutrive’s seesaw career with the Arizona Wildcats abruptly ended Friday when he was dismissed from the program after a second violation of team rules.
Doutrive’s name will always carry some significance for the UA program, as he was the first player to commit to Arizona after the federal investigation into college basketball. He then instantly became a fan favorite because of the energy he played with.
Doutrive announced this summer that he was transferring in search of a bigger role, then had a change of heart and opted to stay at the UA.
Not for very long, it turns out.
Now that Doutrive is out of the picture, here is what it means for Arizona.
An easier-to-sort depth chart
History under Sean Miller suggests Arizona was never going to maintain its 10-man rotation—or at least do it and keep everyone happy and productive—so Doutrive’s departure makes the depth chart easier to sift through.
He had been averaging 17 minutes per game and those minutes will now go to guys like Dylan Smith, Jemarl Baker Jr. and Max Hazzard, who will have an easier time staying in the rotation and can take on a more clearly-defined role, which in theory, could aid their production.
On the flip side, Doutrive’s dismissal lessens the competition for minutes and complacency could set in. Then again, Miller has used seven- and eight-man rotations in the past, so don’t think he won’t do it again if someone isn’t pulling their weight.
Lower team potential
If you believe the preseason hype, then Arizona just lost one of its best players. While he never got to show it, Doutrive was lauded by Miller as Arizona’s most improved player, citing, among other things, an improved understanding of the effort and attention to detail it takes to be successful on both ends of the court.
Even when Doutrive was suspended, Miller referred to him as a starter, and there was the notion that Doutrive would have cracked the lineup eventually as he continued to get into the swing of things. The guy he would have replaced—Smith—has been simply OK, averaging 6.4 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 46 percent.
The ramifications of losing one of your top players are obvious: The deeper your team is, the easier you can weather adversity like fatigue, foul trouble, injuries or someone simply having an off game.
And, yes, obviously the more talent you have, the higher your team’s potential is. Talent, more than anything, determines winners and losers.
Who knows what kind of player Doutrive would have become at Arizona, but the unique skill he offered from the get-go was an uncanny ability to rebound from the guard position. And when you compare him to guys like Baker and Hazzard, Doutrive was the biggest and most athletic of the bunch.
Had he been able to hone his jumper and develop some playmaking chops, two skills he said he was working on, he could have been an intriguing, well-rounded player for the Wildcats for years to come.
Less proven talent for next season
Arizona will be going through yet another transition period after this season, losing Chase Jeter, Stone Gettings, Max Hazzard and Dylan Smith to graduation and possibly Nico Mannion, Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji to the NBA Draft.
The Wildcats only have one high-school commit right now, and while they do expect to add at least three or four more by the spring, it doesn’t appear as if their recruiting class will be as highly ranked as usual. There just aren’t that many top-ranked prospects left on the market.
That means the returning players will be critical to the Wildcats’ success next season, and now they have one fewer they can lean on.
As of now, the only guards set to be on next year’s roster are Baker, four-star recruit Dalen Terry, and Brandon Williams, who will have a lot to prove coming off a second knee surgery.
In short, Miller and company have even more work to do on the recruiting trail now.