Arizona Basketball

McConnell's solid debut was nothing new

2013-11-03T00:00:00Z McConnell's solid debut was nothing newThe Associated Press The Associated Press

Arizona’s T.J. McConnell was in complete control Monday night in an exhibition game against Augustana. He had eight assists and no turnovers. Augustana’s coach, Tom Billeter, said McConnell “makes them a different team.”

When Arizona junior point guard T.J. McConnell opened against Augustana College with an eight-assist, no-turnover performance last week, it drew significant attention.

But for McConnell, it was business as usual.

Amazingly, during his freshman year at Duquesne, McConnell had a six-game stretch Jan. 12-30, 2011, in which he committed just two turnovers in 176 minutes, over six games. In that period he was credited with 29 assists, 13 steals and scored 69 points.

That’s a 14.5-to-1 turnover-to-assist ratio.

And it wasn’t against a bunch of stiffs, but rather St. Louis, Dayton, Rhode Island and LaSalle, among others.

McConnell isn’t a dribbler, eating up shot-clock time. He moves the ball. That’s a considerable change from his two predecessors, Mark Lyons and Josiah Turner.

After leaving Tucson last week, Augustana coach Tom Billeter told Yahoo.com: “We’ve played Arizona three times in the last five years, and I thought (McConnell) makes them a different team. The other thing is he can also shoot the ball. We started the game doubling off him because of their size, and he made us pay. He can knock it down.’’

True, McConnell has yet to play a Pac-12-type schedule of strong point guards, but he’s off to a good start.

Contact sports columnist Greg Hansen at 520-573-4145 or ghansen@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @ghansen711

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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