Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller feared the worst for Brandon Ashley and his potential foot break. Those fears have come to light, as Ashley will miss the rest of the Wildcats season with an injury to his foot, sustained when he landed off-balance after grabbing his own rebound.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward was having a very good season, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds with a shooting line of .522/.379/.757. He was fifth in the Pac-12 in defensive rating, at a sparkling 88.6.
The actual impact of the injury won’t be felt in the starting lineup, as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is more than able to step in and produce. However, losing Hollis-Jefferson’s 8.0 points and 5.4 rebounds off the bench will be a tough pill to swallow for the soon-to-be former No. 1 team in the nation.
Coach Miller noted that Matt Korcheck will pick up more minutes off the bench, after playing just one total minute in the previous four games. Referring to Ashley’s injury, Miller had this to say:
Last night, early in our Cal game, Brandon Ashley suffered a foot injury that will end his season. While we’re all disappointed, we are also aware that Brandon needs our support and positive energy surrounding him. This adversity will ultimately make Brandon and our team stronger moving forward.
I have to agree with coach Miller on one thing. Adversity like this gives other guys opportunities they wouldn’t have normally had. That just makes the team that much stronger and more experienced for the next time adversity comes along.
Our thoughts are with you, Brandon. Get healed up and ready for your junior year.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com and the Arizona Sports site HeatWaved.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic. Follow me on Twitter @DunlapNBA.