Assorted chit-chat from Tuesday morning’s weekly Pac-12 men’s coaches basketball call:
Wildcats coach Sean Miller was asked who he thinks is the best defender in the league, and he was emphatic in naming one player: Colorado’s Andre Roberson. “He reminds me kind of a Dennis Rodman type of guy, how he can impact the game without scoring,” said Miller, who likes the way Roberson can defend an array of different kinds of players. “He’s blocked some shots the last few years I don’t if anybody else could have blocked them. He’s one of the elite defenders that play college basketball.”
If ASU fails to make the NCAA tournament – and it’s currently on the outside looking in – it can point to its problems against Washington, which has swept the season series. “We can block out a lot better (against the Huskies), and I didn’t think our defense was nearly up to what it needed to be,” said Herb Sendek. Two stats from those games are glaring: The Huskies outrebounded ASU 66-36 (combined) and were 33 of 38 from the foul line while ASU was going 14 of 27.
“Quite frankly, I think we have to win out to have a chance to finish fourth,” said Tad Boyle, talking about the last spot that gets a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. “If we don’t, we’ve going to have to catch a break. (But) we learned last year and got a sixth seed and won the tournament.” Colorado is 8-6 and in sixth place, with series in the Bay Area and at home against the Oregon schools.
Larry Krystkowiak didn’t sound especially optimistic that the Utes will get back Seattle product Aaron Dotson before the season is out. Dotson, after playing three early Pac-12 games this season, had a January procedure on his knee. “He hasn’t taken part in any of our practices,” said Krystkowiak. “I don’t want to put him in harm’s way at this point of the season. It’s easier said than done to get back into the competitive spirit after you’ve missed so many games.”
The long-awaited return of point guard Dominic Artis (foot stress fracture) may come this week against Oregon State, says Dana Altman. “I don’t think it’ll be for an extensive period of time,” Altman says. “But it is five weeks (since Artis has played). We want to bring him back slowly. By the time of the conference tournament, that’s a full eight weeks. We feel he’ll be pretty much ready to go.”
After a 7-0 league start, the Ducks have played fitfully without Artis and are in a first-place tie with Arizona at 11-4.
Forward Travis Wear, who suffered a right-foot injury in practice last week, is “doubtful” for Wednesday night’s game with Arizona State, says Ben Howland. “There’s a chance he’ll be ready by Saturday (and the Arizona game), but I don’t even know that. Maybe my prayers are working and he’s ready to go tomorrow.”