On Sunday, Arizona announced that forward Brandon Ashley will be out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury.
“Last night, early in our Cal game, Brandon Ashley suffered a foot injury that will end his season,” Sean Miller said. “While we’re all disappointed, we are also aware that Brandon needs our support and positive energy surrounding him.
“Someone once told me, the hottest heat forges the strongest steel. This adversity will ultimately make Brandon and our team stronger moving forward.”
With the loss of Ashley, Arizona loses a player that not only started, but changed the Wildcats dramatically.
His averages may not seem like much with his 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds as well, but a closer look reveals at how efficient he was in the process.
Ashley is shooting 52 percent on the season and has actually attempted more shots at this point of the season than he did all of last.
He has stepped up in numerous games in which Arizona has needed him the most. Whether it was a 13-point performance against Duke, 18 at Michigan, 19 at USC, or 15 against USC, Ashley has done well to erase the belief that he tends to disappear in big games.
Arizona will likely now look to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to step into the starting lineup, which means Gordon is going to play more time at the four.
In addition, it could mean extra minutes for players like Gabe York, Elliott Pitts, and Matt Korcheck.
It remains to be seen how Arizona will respond to the loss of Ashley, but we will not have to wait long as the Wildcats take on Oregon on Thursday.