Found November 07, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona shooting guard Gabe York recently used the word "depressing" in describing his freshman season. Upon reflection, he clarified that "depressing" wasn't the right word, but he didn't know what was. Hopes and dreams for a basketball player start and end on the court, and in York's world last year, there were no starts and rare ends when it came to playing time. What he's certain of is that "it wasn't really what I had hoped." The 6-foot-2 guard from Orange, Calif., added, "I wasn't at a high level. I was doubting myself, both on offense and defense. I didn't want to practice. Then, I got it halfway through the season, and said to myself, 'No one is going to take this game away from me.'" Even though he knew what he was getting himself into in coming to Arizona -- top-notch athletes, some of the best college basketball players in the country -- he knew he could fit in and even thrive. He was good enough, he said. "Coming here, it was difficult (and) I knew there were good basketball players, physical and athletic," he said. "But at the same time, I thought I'd be able to play at the high level. Coming in as a freshman, I didn't think of the defensive aspect. "But I have a trust in (Sean Miller) and this program." So, he "stuck his nose in it" and stared playing defense like never before. He worked on it. And worked on it. By mid-March, he was capable at an aspect of the game that had previously been almost foreign to him. He admitted that he hadn't played much defense in high school so as to not get into foul trouble -- after all, you can't score when you're sitting on the bench. "I got a lot better by March, but by then it was too late," he said. "Coach already had his rotation." And York was rarely in it. Arguably Arizona's best shooter -- and shooting was something that was direly needed a season ago -- was mostly stuck on the bench. He and the rest of his teammates will sh. This year, with Friday's season opener at home against Cal Poly approaching, it appears that won't be the case. Arizona still needs a dead-eye shooter (it appears to be one of the teams few question marks), and York could fill the need coming off the bench as he continues to play behind Nick Johnson at shooting guard. "I'm just going to go out there and play basketball the way I know how to," he said. "If I'm the sixth man or eighth man, playing just 15 minutes, it doesn't matter. I just want to go out there and play basketball." But if York's performance against Augustana last week is any indication, he'll see time -- or at least more than the 5.8 minutes per game he averaged last season. "He has a real pivotal part of this year's team, because he can shoot the basketball and he can score," Miller said. "We need him to shoot the ball. You put him out there with our big guys and a point guard and he's going to get open shots. There's no question he can knock them down." Someone will have to on the perimeter, although York pointed out that he'll shoot from anywhere: inside the arc, outside the arc, even floaters in the lane (already a signature move). "I'm not a shooter; I'm a scoring guard," he said. The confidence in his voice is clear. Last year, in the rare times he spoke to the media, he was a shy kid who didn't say much. In his second season, he's hardly a wallflower. Confidence is key, and it's among the biggest reason coaches -- including Miller -- expect big jumps for players from their freshman to the sophomore years. Johnson said York's improvement has been undeniable. In the exhibition game, York went 6 for 9 from the field for 14 points. And based on a scrimmage over the weekend with St. Mary's, Johnson said, "it's clear he's made strides on the defensive end -- that's going to be very evident." Johnson added, "Gabe has always been confident, but you do lose a little when you're not playing as much. But he's always been confident. He's going to be good for the team." Miller feels the same way and has told York just that. Last year, York said, Miller told him he was a good shooter who needed to defend better. Miller has delivered the same message heading into this season, with an emphasis on the shooting and scoring. "Nothing has changed; that's my role," York said. "And that's what I need to do to come in and be a great player here at Arizona. I need to improve from my freshman to sophomore year." The important thing, of course, is that York is still here at Arizona. In an era of players leaving for more playing time and thought-to-be-better situations, York didn't leave for seemingly greener grass. Angelo Chol did, going to San Diego State; Grant Jerrett did, declaring for the draft only to end up in the NBA D-League; and others before them did as well. "I give Gabe and his family tremendous credit, because they didn't take the easy way out," Miller said. "I think they did what was right, and Gabe continues to evolve. He's doing a great job in school, he's a year older, he's stronger ... but moving forward, he can have an even bigger role in the future and maybe evolve into an all-conference player. That's the path that Gabe York could go on. "But if you give up on the process, you never get there."

Gordon, No. 6 Arizona beat pesky Cal Poly 73-62

Aaron Gordon scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots in his collegiate debut for No. 6 Arizona and the Wildcats opened their season with a 73-62 victory over pesky Cal Poly on Friday night. Arizona took the lead for good with just under 11 minutes left in the first half but the Mustangs, who beat UCLA last season, stayed close until the final minutes. Six players...

Wildcats Look to Pounce on Bruins at Home

  The University of Arizona Wildcats welcome UCLA to Tucson this Saturday in a PAC-12 South match up.  The Wildcats return home a week after winning in Berkeley.  Arizona will need a victory to keep pace with in-state rival Arizona State and to keep their own title hopes alive. The Bruins are a talented bunch on both sides of the ball.  Offensively the game begins and ends with...

Arizona pulls away late to win opener against Cal Poly

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Aaron Gordon scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots in his collegiate debut for No. 6 Arizona as the Wildcats opened their season with a 73-62 victory over pesky Cal Poly on Friday night. Arizona took the lead for good with just under 11 minutes left in the first half, but the Mustangs, who beat UCLA last season, stayed close until the...

Last meeting with UCLA always on LB Hobson's mind

TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's always there in the back of his mind, an incident and accident that likely will be around for as long as he plays football -- and even beyond. It was a "scary thing" Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said, referring to Hank Hobson's neck injury that drew gasps and prayers for a player who seemingly was attempting to make a routine block and later...

Arizona Wildcats receiver Trevor Ermisch is out for the season with a torn ACL

Arizona Wildcats junior wide receiver Trevor Ermisch is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Ermisch played primarily on special teams and injured his left knee during the opening kickoff off of last week’s game against Cal. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez reports that Ermisch will require corrective surgery. The former walk-on earned a scholarship during the...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.