Josiah Turner bounces back from suspension
Angelo Chol turns in best game at UA
It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season for Josiah Turner. One game he’ll show flashes of why he was one of the top ranked high school point guards in the nation, and the next he’ll find himself on the bench for missing shoot-around or violating team policy.
But if Saturday’s game against Clemson was any indication, Turner is on the right track to filling out his tremendous potential and regaining his starting role.
“I think you can see what he’s capable of moving forward and it’s exciting,” Miller said of Turner. “He’s had a great attitude over the last two or three days and it’s really telling that he wants to do this, wants to be here.”
Although Turner’s stat-line won’t blow anyone away – six points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals and five turnovers in 17 minutes – he looked more comfortable and aggressive than he has this season.
Janice Biancavilla/ Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats defeat NAU 53-39 on Dec. 3 at McKale Center. Josiah Turner 11
And most importantly, as Miller said, his mindset seemed to have changed. On the first play after he checked into the game Turner caught the ball on the left wing and immediately drove baseline against two defenders and finished with a difficult reverse layup.
Miller said he hoped that Turner not playing at Florida “does nothing but inspire him, get him on the right track and I hope together we never look back.”
Turner’s performance Saturday seemed like the first step in that process, and the freshman’s teammates are starting to take notice. Solomon Hill said he’s talked to Turner and given him words of advice several times throughout the season .
“Just to have him try and buy into it and just say ‘yo we’re trying to do something big here and we want you to be a part of it,’” Hill explained. “‘You just have to change some daily habits, wake up for a class on time or come to practice and be ready.’”
After Saturday, Hill can see that things are coming full circle for Turner.
“I think he’s buying into it now and I really like the way he’s playing,” Hill said.
While Turner’s had his ups and downs, Miller wanted to make it clear that Turner isn’t a bad person, he’s simply adapting to college basketball.
“First of all, when you suspend a guy, sometimes unfairly he’s put into a category that he’s a malcontent or a bad kid. Josiah Turner is neither,” Miller explained. “There’s an adjustment coming from high school to college. Each kid’s different. Our goal and our job is to develop these guys and teach him.”
Chol has his best game at Arizona
Angelo Chol put together arguably his best game with the Wildcats on Saturday as he scored five points, grabbed five boards and collected a monster block in 13 minutes of play. The 6-foot-9, 220-pounder gave the Wildcats a presence on the interior that it’s been missing all season.
“Angelo Chol, this was his best performance of his young career,” Miller said.
Given Chol’s upside, work ethic and character, Miller said that soon enough Chol will come into his own and become a regular contributor for the Wildcats.
“He’s a very, very hard worker and it’s just a matter of time before his talent takes over,” he said. “From a character perspective, he’s the best kid that I’ve ever been around. Humble, smart, hard working, extremely unselfish, he almost wants to do so well that it works against him sometimes. I think he’s starting to get more confident. When he plays well there’s not a kid who deserves it more than him.”
Miller said Chol can still improve his rebounding, while the freshman said he’s still working on his confidence.
“I just need to get comfortable and not think,” Chol said.
Chol also said he needs to improve his defense against bigger post players. When asked how he’s going to gain 40 points to do that, Chol said with a smile, “I have no idea, my metabolism is pretty fast.”
Miller on Xavier brawl
Miller, who coached at Xavier as an assistant and head coach from 2001-2009, weighed in on Saturday’s brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati.
“Happens every game. I’m proud of those guys, I really am. I would fully expect there to be a fight,” Miller said. “No one’s going to bully those guys, I know that.”
Miller went on to say he thinks Xavier can win a national championship this season.
“They have a chance to win it all,” he said. “It’s just such a great story. I’m proud of all those guys.”