Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/19/13
TUCSON, Ariz. It was only a matter of time before Arizonas much-lauded freshman would get it. At least thats what Arizona coach Sean Miller believed. The learning curve took awhile, but theres no time like the present. Sound the alarms its March and the mayhem begins on Thursday for Arizona when it faces Belmont in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the NCAA tournament. For all intents and purposes, the last 31 games have been dress rehearsals for Arizona freshmen Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski. Some games were good. Others? Not so much. They were a trifecta that rarely hit together. More tease than tantalizing. At times, it appeared UAs freshmen were blinded by the spotlight. Being a freshman on the basketball court is often a recipe for uncertainty. But with time, practice, skill development, learning, and elbow grease, the three have worked themselves into a position to help Arizona. Im really excited, said Tarczewski, a 7-footer who is arguably UAs most improved player since October, regarding the tournament. Its something Ive always wanted to do since I was a little kid. Its going to be a great experience, and hopefully we can play well throughout it. If the last couple of weeks are an indication, Arizona can ratchet up its expectations for each. Tarczewski has led the Wildcats in rebounding in four of the last five games, averaging more than nine a game. For the season, he's averaging 6.5 points, 6.1 rebounds in 21.9 minutes a game. Jerrett, averaging 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 18.2 minutes a game, led Arizona in scoring (14 points) two weeks ago in a loss to UCLA. And Ashley, who averaged 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.7 minutes a game, led UA in scoring against UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament with 15 points. You can sense that our freshman big guys are really getting better, Miller said. They are playing with a lot of confidence. Miller singled out the recent strides by Tarczewski, pointing out that there's room for more growth as the Wildcats find way to get him the ball more. For a majority of the season, figuring out which player would step up in any given game was a mystery. Few times have all three have played well at once, and success has come in small doses. Its been a tough transition coming to college, Tarczewski said Monday. The level of basketball is a lot better, but I think weve done a good job of transitioning, working hard every day, honoring the process and getting better. I think collectively as a team and collectively as freshmen, were playing our best basketball right now at the perfect time of year, and hopefully we can keep it up. Just last month, many wondered what took the four-player recruiting class (including shooting guard Gabe York) so long. Jerrett and Ashley, former McDonalds All-Americans, ran hot and cold all season. York had just a few sharp-shooting moments. And Tarczewski, the most consistent of the bunch, had fans frustrated at times because he couldnt handle passes near the basket. They fumbled and stumbled and showed warts. But they've learned from their mistakes along the way. Were just getting used to being out there and getting comfortable playing, Tarczewski said. Our team has been developing in the past few weeks quite a bit, and I think thats giving us a great opportunity to play well. For many young players, March is often a time when they the proverbial wall. But Tarczewski said it hasn't been an issue. Miller agreed. When you look at their minutes played, they all have a level of freshness, Miller said. Sometimes when someone is playing 30-35 minutes, you can wear them out mentally as well as physically, but the role these guys have on this years team and the way theyve played and practiced has them in this for the long haul. Or as long as we go.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker