Senior graduate transfer Mark Tollefsen had some trouble finding his way through the first month of Arizona’s 2015-16 season. His position had been switched around based on matchups or injuries, he relied heavily on the three point shot and his role with the team seemed to be a work in progress.
That is now all in the past over the last few Wildcat games.
“No doubt,” said Tollefsen. “I am getting a lot more comfortable with the guys out there. For me in those first couple of games, in practice we are playing a lot against each other. So when I was out there in the starting five I hadn’t played in practice with Ryan Anderson or with a Kaleb (Tarczewski) or that type of thing so I am a lot more comfortable and confident now just knowing I trust these guys and they trust me and my game.”
“We have actually tried to get across to him to be more aggressive,” mentioned head coach Sean Miller. “If you look at his two point shooting after I leave, look at his two point field goal attempts and percentage. It’s amazing. I can make the argument that it’s our best shot.”
In taking a look at that notion, Miller is spot on. According to basketball-reference.com, Tollefsen is shooting an outstanding 32 of his 48 shot attempts from inside the arc. That’s a 66.7% clip. He is putting up 10.4 two-point shots per 100 possessions and making 6.9 of them. His true shooting percentage, which measures shooting efficiency between twos, threes and free throws, is 59.7% and that’s with a three point percentage of just 27.6% on the year.
“I think in the past I’ve seen what kind of got my game going was shooting from the outside but right now I think I need to focus on getting some easy ones inside that can kind of get my rhythm going so that when I do take outside shots, they are better looks for me,” explained Tollefsen.
Over the last two games, Tollefsen’s attention has been focused on getting inside whether backing a defending down in the post, attacking the basket or crashing in for an offensive rebound and a put-back score. In the Wildcats last two wins over Missouri and NAU which were both blowout wins, Tollefsen made 13 of his 20 shots from the floor. 15 of those 20 shots were from inside the arc. It’s becoming clear that he is gaining a clear understanding of his role and his numbers in the box score are reflective of that.
“When you watch him develop, he is finally settling into the role he has,” stated Miller. “At the beginning when Ray (Smith) was with us, we had him kind of at the four and when Ray went down we moved him to the three. Then Kaleb went down we moved him to the four…So he has really been bouncing back and fourth, it doesn’t surprise me to see him really starting to hit his stride now as we approach Christmas.”