SALT LAKE CITY – Arizona freshman forward Grant Jerrett was scheduled to receive X-rays late Saturday night in Tucson after suffering elbow and nerve damage in the first half of Arizona’s 71-54 win over Harvard at EnergySolutions Arena.
UA trainer Justin Kokoskie told the Star that Jerrett would be X-rayed upon returning home because there was no X-ray machine available at EnergySolutions Arena, and said he didn’t know what Jerrett’s status would be this week.
However, Jerrett expressed considerable optimism even though he did not return to Saturday’s game after he was hurt following his layup attempt in the first half. He sat on the bench during the first half with ice on the elbow and a wrap on it during the second half.
“It’s fine,” he said.
Jerrett was in the game just for a minute before he became tangled up after attempting a layup and could not break his fall. Jerrett said he did not hit his head, and thus did not have to be tested for a concussion, but he did injure a nerve on the play and did not initially get up.
“I guess I got undercut on the layup and my whole arm started spasing out,” Jerrett said.
For differing reasons, all of the Wildcats had extra reasons to look forward to their West Regional appearance in Los Angeles this week.
For seniors Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill, as well as junior Jordin Mayes, it’s a return trip to Southern California after their Sweet 16 game in Anaheim, Calif., two seasons ago.
It’s also a homecoming for Hill, Mayes, Jerrett, guard Gabe York, and forward Angelo Chol, who all played high school ball in Southern California.
For senior Mark Lyons, it’s also a record of sorts: He’s the first player ever to reach consecutive Sweet 16s with two different teams, after he did so last season with Xavier.
Of course, the NCAA’s mandatory redshirt year for transfers, now waived for graduates such as Lyons, has a lot to do with that. But it is still special for Lyons, who is actually making his fourth Sweet 16 appearance, if you count the redshirting freshman year he spent under Sean Miller in 2008-09.
“Feels good,” Lyons said. “I’m happy to be here so I can advance again.”
And for the UA’s freshmen and sophomores, it’s the first time, period, in any Sweet 16.
“It’s crazy,” Kaleb Tarczewski said. “This is something you dream about. To be here is an awesome experience. But we’re just staying focused.”
Guard Gabe York received four minutes toward the end of Saturday’s game, after being squeezed back out of the Wildcats’ rotation down the stretch this season, but said he’s still committed to the long haul.
“I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time,” York said of playing in the tournament. “I wish my role would be bigger but I think it’s just a learning experience for me. Hopefully next year, my role will increase. I’m doing fine. I know next year we have a lot of scorers who aren’t going to be here so I’m just going to wait and see what happens.”
The way Harvard started out 0 for 13 from the field might have been somewhat reminiscent of the way Arizona struggled at the start of its 83-74 loss to UCLA at McKale Center on Jan. 24.
The Crimson missed some easy shots, and their confidence never appeared to recover.
“We had some open opportunities early, and once we missed some we kinda got our heads down and they took advantage of it,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “They’re outstanding. … I think Sean has done a terrific job with their team and certainly the start that we had was pretty much the answer right there. I felt that doomed us from the start.”
“Sometimes when you get off to a slow start, it’s like you’re playing catch-up the entire game,” Miller said, “and I think that had something to do with our defense as well.”
Contact reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4145 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @brucepascoe