The Arizona Wildcats are riding a five game winning streak since dropping their first game at the McKale Center since 2013 at the hands of the Oregon Ducks.
There can be many explanations for the reasons behind their ability to bounce back to the top of the Pac-12 standings after that loss but one consistent since has been the play of Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
In this stretch, the sophomore point guard has elevated his play and has even started in two of the five wins while Kadeem Allen has been dealing with a virus for the last two weeks. Jackson-Cartwright has seen his minutes go from the low 20s per game to the mid to high 20s in this stretch.
“Players hit their strides at different points in their career,” said Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller. “Parker is still a very young player. Only been at Arizona for a season and a half. And it is nice to see him play with confidence.”
Jackson-Cartwright’s shooting has been a big boost for the Wildcats during their win streak. He is averaging 8.6 points per game which includes his career high of 16 he had in the big redemption win over rival UCLA. His shooting from behind the three point arc is still not being respected by opposing teams that are doubling down on big men in the post leaving the 5-10 guard with open looks.
“My teammates are doing a great job of keeping my confidence up,” mentioned Jackson-Cartwright. “They believe in me and my coaches believe in me. You know, to go out every day and just do what I need to do to help the team win. It’s a good feeling.”
“Our big guys do an excellent job of finding him,” Miller added. “If he gets an open look, that’s as good of a shot that we have for our team.”
Including the Wildcats loss to Oregon, Jackson Cartwright has shot 60 percent from three in the last six games so there is definitely something to the fact that his shot from behind the arc is solid. But it hasn’t just been with his shooting. His distributing and ability to take care of the ball on offense has been key. On the season, Jackson-Cartwright is averaging 9.5 assists per 100 possessions. In the last five games, he has a total of six turnovers to go with 18 assists.
Time will tell how many more starts Jackson-Cartwright will have as the 2015-16 season comes down to it’s final weeks, but the young sophomore’s confidence on the floor has nothing to do with whether or not he starts.
“Starting or coming off the bench is the same,” stated Jackson-Cartwright. “I just try to be solid and contribute in any way I can.”
Wildcats take on in-state rival Arizona State on Wednesday from McKale where they will look to make it six wins in a row.