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Arizona basketball season player review: Max Hazzard

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 22 Oregon at Arizona Photo by Chris Coduto/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats never got to complete their 2019-20 season, one that began with so much promise, hope and hype before ending abruptly when the coronavirus pandemic shut down college basketball (and all other sports) in March.

While we’ll never know what this team could have accomplished in the NCAA Tournament, 32 games worth of competition is more than enough to assess each individual player’s performance.

Max Hazzard

  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Position: Shooting guard
  • 2019-20 statistics: 5.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.0 APG, 42.4% FG, 38.2% 3-pt FG, 83.3% FT

Season breakdown

The younger brother of former Arizona walk-on Jacob Hazzard came in as a graduate transfer after a breakout 2018-19 season at UC-Irvine, where he averaged 12.5 points per game and shot 38.8 percent from 3 while leading the Anteaters to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. His role with the Wildcats was projected to much more specific, as that of a sharpshooter off the bench.

And that’s what Hazzard was, though not with nearly the volume hoped for.

Hazzard had the best 3-point accuracy on the team but only made 34 for the season, hitting more than one in just nine of the 28 games he played, meaning when he wasn’t able to hit from the perimeter his on-court value was nil.

Efforts to create on his own got Hazzard in trouble midway through the season when coach Sean Miller benched him for the second half of the collapse at ASU.

The season ended earlier for Hazzard than the rest of the Wildcats when he sat out four of the last five games for what was only described as “personal reasons.” He missed the Feb. 27 game at USC but sat on the bench, then played two nights later at UCLA only to be absent completely for the next game at home against Washington State.

Hazzard was on hand for the pre-game Senior Day ceremonies before the regular-season finale but did not come out for the game against Washington and he was also not with the team for its abbreviated Pac-12 Tournament trip.

Best stretch of play

Hazzard was best at McKale Center, averaging 7.3 points in 15 games while shooting 43.1 percent from 3. He was money during a couple different homestands but none stood out more than when the Rocky Mountain schools came to Tucson in mid-January.

Utah had no answer for Hazzard’s lightning-quick release, which saw him hit 6 of 10 3s and score a UA-best 24 in just 17 minutes. Two days later he was 3 of 6 from outside in a blowout win over Colorado.

Worst stretch of play

More than 68 percent of Hazzard’s scoring came from deep, so when he wasn’t draining 3s he was almost nonexistent. This was evident during a five-game period in February when he made only one triple in eight attempts over 63 minutes of action. All told he scored just six points despite Arizona winning four of five.

Quotable

Dylan Smith on Hazzard: “He’s one of the best shooters I’ve seen since I’ve been here. When he gets it going, when he gets it rolling, he can ring off three or four 3s in a row. That’s always a big weapon to have when you play in this level of basketball, so we just try to use him as best as we can.”

What’s next?

With his ability to hit 3s in bunches, Hazzard could find a spot on some overseas team if he’s able to hone up the rest of his game. If not, his lineage and basketball smarts seem to make him a good candidate to go into coaching.