Maybe a little pain isn't such a bad thing for Jordin Mayes after all.
The Arizona Wildcats sophomore guard played his best basketball in the NCAA tournament last season, when he was quietly suffering from foot pain undisclosed to the public.
Then, even after he had surgery for a stress fracture in late June when the pain did not subside, Mayes put a boot on his sore left foot - and kept working in the weight room with the rest of his body. The 6-2 guard has put on more than 10 pounds from last season.
"He hasn't been able to do much of anything other than lift weights," UA coach Sean Miller said. "In a way, it's been a silver lining for him. He was in the 170s and now he's in the 190s. He has a frame that, to me, means he has a chance to be a really big guard and play both positions."
Mayes, who averaged 4.9 points and 14.3 minutes while splitting point guard duties with MoMo Jones last season, will likely split point guard with freshman Josiah Turner this season and possibly spend some time at shooting guard.
He just won't be able to get an early jump on it. Mayes is no longer wearing a boot or crutches, but he probably won't be fully cleared until mid-September. So he'll miss the start of small-group skills instruction later this month but still will have a full month before the start of regular practices and about seven weeks before UA's regular-season opener Nov. 7.
"I think once you get through 8 to 10 weeks, you have complete and total healing, and that's what we want to do," Miller said. "If there's a gift by his injury, it's the fact that it happened when it happened and we don't have to rush him. But I want to be very careful. I anticipate having him for almost an entire preseason and certainly by October. As long as he doesn't have a setback, he should be fine."
If senior guard Kyle Fogg's three-point shooting doesn't rebound next season from his junior-year dip, it won't be for a lack of effort.
Miller said Fogg has taken an "inordinate amount" of practice shots - about 30,000 total - since May. Fogg has also added strength in the weight room.
"Kyle Fogg, by far, has worked the hardest of any player in our program this summer. It's not even close," Miller said. "It's amazing how when sometimes a kid is going into his senior year, they have the most to gain and the most to lose, and to me Kyle is very motivated to have a great senior year."
Fogg has started 85 of 104 games in his three-year UA career, and Miller said he became a more complete player last season even though his three-point percentage dropped from 41.7 to 35.5.
Tyree Robinson, a 6-2 combo guard from San Diego who is rated among Scout.com's Top 50 prospects, visited McKale Center unofficially Wednesday.
Robinson's summer-ball coach with the Oakland Soldiers, Derrick Artis, confirmed Robinson's visit Wednesday. Robinson did not arrive with his twin brother and fellow UA target, Tyrell, who had a football commitment.
Tyree Robinson was unavailable for comment but he told Scout.com earlier this week that he decided to visit campus while dropping off a friend who attends UA.
Tarczewski lying low
New Hampshire 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski was expected to make a decision among Kansas, Arizona and North Carolina after he returned home from the summer travel-ball circuit last week.
But that doesn't mean it will be right away, said John Carroll, Tarczewski's coach on the New England Playaz travel team.
"I really don't think anything's changed from earlier this summer," Carroll said. "His plan was to play in July, go to Adidas Nations, then go home, decompress, and enjoy being a kid. Then start thinking about his decision in the later part of August."
A top-15 player in the class of 2012, Tarczewski is among Arizona's top post targets for 2012, along with Brandon Ashley and Robert Upshaw.
Miller said he enjoyed spending a long weekend earlier this month helping USA Basketball train its World University Games team in Colorado Springs. Miller served as a court coach along with Virginia's Tony Bennett and VCU's Shaka Smart.
Miller, who played on USA's 1991 World University Games team, said he would like to become more involved with the organization as a coach.
"It's such a big prize there to be a part of it," Miller said. "It would be an honor to be an assistant coach or a head coach there. There's so many great coaches to choose from, but down the road if that came my way I would certainly be very interested."