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Expectations high for Jordan Brown at Arizona

Photo via @APlayersProgram on Twitter

If you want to rank the Arizona Wildcats’ players by their importance, Jordan Brown should be at, or near, the top.

After sitting out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules, the former Nevada forward is expected to have a prominent role for the Wildcats after they lost Zeke Nnaji to the NBA and Chase Jeter and Stone Gettings to graduation. Brown will almost assuredly be a starter and probably be the team’s go-to option in the low post.

Sure, Arizona has other frontcourt options like energy man Ira Lee, block machine Christian Koloko and skilled French freshman Daniel Batcho, but none have the accolades of Brown, who was a five-star recruit, McDonald’s All-American and member of USA Basketball coming out of Prolific Prep in 2018.

“The one thing that I’ve learned through the 28, 29 seasons as a coach is anytime that you deal with a transfer, whether he’s eligible right away, or he played for a portion of time early in his career, sat out practices with you, whatever it is, their production of what they did before they came to Arizona is really important,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller told Brian Jeffries.

“It won’t always translate perfectly because sometimes the role or the level that they were at before they came to Arizona, will be different. But usually if they do certain things well or they’re productive in a certain area, they’ll bring that with them. And then it’s up to us as a coaching staff and as a program to make them feel comfortable and then enhance that and make them better all the way around.”

That context is important when evaluating Brown’s time at Nevada. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged just 3.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 10.1 minutes as he came off the bench for a team that was in the top 10 for most of the season.

And in the minutes Brown did play, he wasn’t exactly a featured player, with many of his points coming from offensive rebounds.

“But you could still see that his ability to rebound and play hard, score in the low post is something that he’ll do well,” Miller said. “He practiced with us every day and think about who was in our practices this past year. You had Ira Lee and Chase Jeter. You had Zeke Nnaji, Stone Gettings, Christian Koloko. So I really feel that no matter what Jordan did, good or bad, in our practices, we could really take what he did well to the bank because the competition was very good every day.”

And apparently Brown mostly fared well. Miller said he was one of Arizona’s best players in practice. Now he just needs to carry it over to the games.

“I think what he brings to the table is just an innate physical play and rebounding,” Miller said. “I do think that he’ll be a double-figure scorer for us and we’re thrilled to have Jordan. He’s a quiet warrior. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he plays very, very hard. I would say that if you polled last year’s team, each of them would have Jordan in the top three on our team of the hardest playing guys in our program.”