One early box score said Arizona Wildcats forward Zach Peters collected an offensive rebound during Saturday’s Red-Blue Game, but maybe that was just wishful thinking.
Peters did not play in Saturday’s scrimmage and may not play for another month, because he still has yet to be cleared for full contact. UA coach Sean Miller said Peters hasn’t suffered a setback, just that UA continues to take a cautious course after Peters suffered five concussions over a 15-month period in 2011 and 2012 in high school and at Kansas.
“He has made incredible progress since the day he stepped on campus for us, but it’s very important we see this process to the finish line,” Miller said. “He’s doing everything with our team — weight room, shooting, even a lot of our drills — but we’re cautious with the contact because that’s going to put him in the best position not just this year but for a long time. We hope we can get to a point where he’s with us about the entire time.”
Miller said he was hoping Peters will be cleared and ready to play “in and around the beginning of our season,” suggesting the Kansas transfer may not play in UA’s Oct. 18 exhibition against Augustana nor in the Nov. 8 opener against Cal Poly.
“That’s what we’re pointing toward,” Miller said. “Zach has certain things he has to be honest about and work hard, and he’s doing that.”
Richardson back soon
Assistant coach Book Richardson might return to the Wildcats soon, after leaving the team on the eve of its first full practice two weeks ago for unspecified medical reasons.
“I think he’ll be able to rejoin us here in the next couple of weeks,” Miller said.
UA has not elevated anyone temporarily to Richardson’s role.
Sophomore guard Gabe York didn’t have a chance to defend his 2012 dunk contest title because he was limited with ankle and hamstring injuries. York also struggled during the scrimmage, with two points on 1-for-9 shooting, three turnovers to his two assists.
“He hurt his ankle (on Thursday) and had a pulled hamstring, so it was tough to judge him,” Miller said.
Pitts could redshirt
With Miller having suggested that the Wildcats could play as few as eight players regularly this season, it’s easy to speculate that freshman guard Elliott Pitts might be a redshirt candidate. Especially since Miller says Pitts is “missing some strength and size.”
But Miller said it was too early to make such a judgment now, with Pitts still having a few weeks before a decision would have to be made.
“It’s tough to make those decisions on any front right now because so much can happen from the beginning of October to the middle of November,” Miller said. “And we would really bring his family in for any decision like that. But right now I believe he’s in competition to be a contributor.
“If you look at how long our season is, where he could be six weeks from now could be an entirely different place because he’s so young. I like what I see in Elliott.”
• Freshman Aaron Gordon won the pregame dunk contest easily, with a pair of powerful moves to the basket: a 360-degree dunk and a baseline drive where he switched the ball behind his back before throwing it in.
• Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire addressed the crowd during the honoring of the 1994 Final Four team, for which he was a standout guard. “I played on a lot of teams, and I played with Hall of Fame players, but the memories you have of college will never go away,” he said.• Miller thanked UA fans, both in his on-court address to then and via the media afterward. “There are some very reputable college basketball programs that don’t have a crowd like that for a single game on their schedule, let alone an early-season scrimmage,” he said.