Thursday, November 10, 2011
Arizona's Jordin Mayes introduces himself
By Diamond Leung
Josiah Turner, Arizona's top freshman, was removed from the starting lineup after showing up late to a shoot-around. He played 21 minutes without scoring a point and committed three turnovers.
In his place, sophomore Jordin Mayes had the best game of his young career, stepping out of the shadows to score 19 points and help the Wildcats hold off Duquesne on Wednesday. He hit four momentum-shifting 3-pointers and gave coach Sean Miller some savvy at the point guard position. After Turner was declared the starter, it is Mayes who is leading the team in scoring after two games, averaging 13.5 points.
"I had a lot of confidence," Mayes told reporters. Coach stays in my ear, hyping me up and telling me to stay confident. I'm going to play my game the way he wants me to play and help the team the best way possible."
The emergence of Mayes is an important development for the Wildcats, as they search for options in the post-Derrick Williams era. If Turner indeed returns to the starting lineup and lives up to expectations, Mayes provides them with dependable depth at guard. There is also the real possibility that Mayes holds onto the starting job.
That would be quite an achievement after it was discovered after Arizona's run to the Elite Eight that Mayes had a stress fracture in his foot. He was left in a walking boot and tried to avoid surgery, but then ended up needing it after resuming workouts and actually breaking the foot in July.
While the heralded Turner was the trumpeted as the heir to the point guard job vacated by Lamont Jones, there are questions as to whether he can take on that responsibility immediately. His high school career in Sacramento ended with his dismissal from the team. He turned down an invitation to try out for USA Basketball's Under-19 world championship team.
Meanwhile, Mayes quietly bulked up to 196 pounds and waited for his chance after Turner started two exhibitions and the season opener.
"It starts in practice," Mayes told the Arizona Daily Star. "Me and Josiah are going to compete regardless of who's starting. He came in with a big name, but there are a lot of great players in college basketball. He's going to get better, and I'm just trying to help him the best way I can."