When Arizona forward Brandon Ashley went down with a severe foot injury during the team’s loss to Cal on Saturday night, it was widely assumed that he would be lost for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. On Monday, that unfortunate theory became reality.
From Arizona: “Brandon Ashley will miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury sustained during Saturday’s night game at Cal.”
— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) February 3, 2014
The loss of Ashley is a huge one, as the sophomore forward was key to Arizona’s unbridled success at both ends of the floor. He leaves after averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season, but on a team filled with talent, that type of production is relatively impressive.
Here is a look at head coach Sean Miller’s thoughts following the announcement:
“Last night, early in our Cal game, Brandon Ashley suffered a foot injury that will end his season. While we’re all disappointed, we are also aware that Brandon needs our support and positive energy surrounding him. … This adversity will ultimately make Brandon and our team stronger moving forward.”
Even with the relatively positive sentiment from Miller, this is a huge loss for the Wildcats. Ashley is one of the team’s better shooters (38% from 3-point land), and while they have an immediate starter in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona’s depth is substantially weakened by this.
The now 2nd-ranked Wildcats are still a legitimate national title contender, but this is certainly a devastating blow for both the player and the team.