ANAHEIM, CA–Brandon Ashley’s view for Thursday’s Sweet 16 will be far different from a year ago here in Los Angeles.
The sophomore forward will be seated on the bench for the opening tip of their showdown against San Diego State but he won’t play nearly half the game like he did against Ohio State at Staples Center. As has been the case since early February, he won’t be playing a single minute.
Ashley, who is out for the season after breaking his foot in Arizona’s loss at Cal, received some good news on his road to recovery.
“Just got off the crutches about two days ago,” Ashley told Sports360AZ.com Wednesday afternoon during the ‘Cats locker room availability. “Been walking ever since. It’s definitely a good feeling…honestly, everything’s going well. Slowly making progress.”
Ashley, whose foot remains in a boot, said not being able to walk was just as tough mentally as it was physically following the injury back on February 2. He said it was a difficult transition going from a highly skilled college athlete to not being capable of walking overnight.
Through it all, Sean Miller’s team persevered to a 32-4 record and number one seed in the West Regional entering their contest with fourth-seeded Aztecs (31-4). The ‘Cats have been playing some of their best basketball of the season over the past couple weeks so don’t expect any special pre-game speeches from Ashley before UofA takes the floor at the Honda Center.
“At this point, if you’re not exciting to be playing in the Sweet 16 in front of all these people,” a smiling Ashley explained to Sports360AZ.com. “Then you probably shouldn’t be playing the game.”
Ashley was averaging 11.5 points and nearly six rebounds a game before the injury. He has been told by specialists he could be out of the boot in the next few weeks.