Has Stone Gettings cemented his starting spot?
Over the course of an entire college basketball season many things change. Sometimes there are injuries and players miss time, other times players may get an increased role because they gain confidence and start making shots.
In the case of Chase Jeter and Stone Gettings, both factors come into play.
Jeter has been Arizona’s starting center since last year and brings something the freshmen and transfers on the team are still learning — conference experience.
But Jeter has been dealing with back spasms since returning from the Oregon trip, making way for Gettings to get his chance in the starting lineup.
Gettings has started every game since Jeter has been out, and the 6-foot-9 forward has the ability to play in the paint and step out from three. This has also made room for Zeke Nnaji to move to the five spot and have more room underneath the basket.
With Gettings able to become a perimeter and threat, Nnaji has been able to have more one-on-one contests under the rim, and if he gets double-teamed, he can kick out to anyone for a look.
Whenever there’s a starting lineup change, however, it can take some time for the team to get acclimated and running at full speed. Luckily for Gettings and Arizona this change happened when the Wildcats were at home. Gettings had 7 points against Utah in 29 minutes.
The game against Colorado saw Ira Lee have one of his best games this year with 6 points and 7 rebounds, and when he came out for the final time, his name was being chanted throughout McKale Center. Gettings, however, only saw him play 15 minutes and only score three points on one shot, and Miller mentioned after the game how he needs to get used to playing starters minutes and that he will settle into his role and do better.
When the Wildcats then went on the road to face ASU, it was more of the same from Gettings and Lee, who combined for 14 points and 7 rebounds. At this point it looked like Miller had found his replacement for Jeter until he was back at 100 percent.
Then Arizona travelled to the Pacific Northwest to take on Washington and Washington St. Earlier that week, and Miller said that Jeter was “still learning how to practice again.” This made way for Gettings to get his fourth-straight start.
Gettings tied for his previous season high in points with 13 and also added 3 rebounds in 23 minutes. But it wasn’t until the game against WSU where he really shined.
He finished with his first double-double in an Arizona jersey with 19 points and 12 rebounds in only 25 minutes. The surprising part about Gettings’ 19 points is that he only made 2 3-pointers and 1 free-throw, which means the other 12 points came ainside the paint.
“He’s a little bit better around the basket than he’s given credit for,” Miller said. “When you see a skilled player like him, you think about 3-point shooting and being able to space the court, which he does, but he’s always been able to score close to the basket better than he’s given credit for.”
It’s no secret how tough it’s been to play on the road this year in the Pac-12, but Arizona finally got the first road sweep this season from any conference team. And it was without Jeter.
In fact, during conference play Jeter had been struggling already. He had already seen his minutes decrease from more than half the game to just 18 minutes against ASU and Oregon State and then only 12 against Oregon. In those games he only scored a combined 14 points.
Jeter has been available to play and did get in the game against Washington but for only two minutes. Miller hasn’t given another update on Jeter since the Washington trip, but it looks like he could be ready this upcoming weekend against the Los Angeles schools.
Miller will probably wait until Jeter is 100 percent ready before he sees an increase in minutes, but it will still be interesting to see whether Jeter makes it back to the starting lineup with how well Gettings had been playing.
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