Former Wildcat Brandon Ashley making most of his time in Las Vegas

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File Photo and File Photo | The Daily Wildcat Then-Arizona forward Brandon Ashley (21) holds up his trophy to the crowd after recieving the Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player after Arizona's 80-52 win over Oregon in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 14. Ashley was a key player for the Wildcats in his three seasons in red and blue.

LAS VEGAS- 

It seems like it was not too long ago that former Arizona men’s basketball forward Brandon Ashley was on his way to becoming a lottery selection in the NBA Draft after helping lead the Wildcats to a 21-0 record before suffering a foot injury that forced him to sit out the rest of the 2013-2014 season.    

During his three years with the ‘Cats, Ashley averaged 10.3 points and 5.4 rebounds, helping the UA reach two Elite Eights and winning the Pac-12 Tournament MVP during his junior season before declaring early for the NBA draft. It has not been the ideal road Ashley was hoping for since his departure from Arizona, however.


Arizona forward Brandon Ashley (21) looks to shoot over Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky (44) during Arizona's 85-78 loss to Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 


After going undrafted in 2015, he had a stint in the G League with the Texas Legends, followed by one season overseas with Alba Berlin in Germany. 

“It’s definitely a different type of game, it’s slower paced, a lot more physical at times,” Ashley said about his experiences overseas and the differences between the two games. “You really have to lock in fundamentally and make sure you are doing all of the little stuff, so it definitely helps you develop your game.” 

There are six former ‘Cats playing this year in Vegas, each of them looking to gain something a little different from the experience. Ashley is no exception, as he continues to fight to make an NBA roster.

The former Wildcat is playing with the Sacramento Kings during the Summer League, and in an NBA where versatile stretch big men have become a commodity, the towering 6’9 forward is looking to showcase his ability to help space out the floor and show his Swiss Army knife ability to switch screens on defense for any interested NBA suitors.

“I feel like I can play at a high level, have a high motor,” Ashley said. “Knock down shots, guard multiple positions and rebound well. I think I have really developed my outside game and my handle. I’ve definitely matured.”

While the time difference can sometimes be an issue, Ashley still does his best to check in on the program when time permits.

“When I’m in the country I check in,” he said. “I definitely stay locked in on my guys.” 

Ashley finished with 4 points in 11 minutes in his first game against Team China, with the Kings set to play at least three more times before bracket play starts July 12.


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