Coast 2 Coast Hoops
This is the latest installment in our “Past and Future” series, detailing each player’s last season and what the future holds. Remember to check PGU for the next installment!
Kaleb Tarczewski started all 35 games of the 2012-13 season, and cemented himself as Arizona’s anchor in the middle. He went through stretches of offensive inconsistency, but finished his freshman year strong and proved to be one of the conference’s best rebounders.
It often takes post players longer to adjust to the speed and skill of the college game, but one part of Tarczewski’s game that translated immediately was his rebounding ability. He averaged 6.1 rebounds in 22 minutes per game, and pulled down double digit rebounds four times, setting a career high 13 rebounds on three separate occasions.
As the season went on Tarczewski became stronger and stronger on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. By the end of conference play Tarczewski had the third highest offensive rebounding percentage in the Pac-12, and ranked 10th in defensive rebounding percentage.
Though Tarczewski shot 53% from the field, he struggled with his offensive game at times and wasn’t given as many opportunities on a perimeter dominated team. This was particularly evident during a nine game stretch starting in January in which Tarczewski shot 14-40 (35%) from the field and had problems limiting turnovers.
However, Tarczewski responded in a big way after his midseason lull, shooting 59% (37-59) in Arizona’s last thirteen games of the season. Tarczewski was also more aggressive around the basket during the latter portion of the season, drawing more fouls and converting more of his free throw attempts.
With the departures of Grant Jerrett and Angelo Chol, two players who could have played center, Tarczewski is looking at a full slate of minutes. As the only true post presence on the roster, Tarczewski will be asked to shoulder the load in the paint on both offense and defense.
Simply put, Tarczewski has the potential to be a monster in the middle this year. Last year Tarczewski didn’t have many chances to show what he could do offensively, and as a result he never established himself as a significant contributor on the offensive end. But during the 2013-14 season he’ll likely have to play as many minutes as he can, and should be a nightly double-double threat.
Though Tarczewski didn’t shoot particularly well from the free throw line last season, he was always a high percentage foul shooter through high school and his numbers should see an uptick in that category. He already showed the ability to draw fouls and get to the line, but if Tarczewski improves his free throw shooting he could become a game-changing offensive force.
Of course, Tarczewski’s success will rely largely on if he can stay out of foul trouble, and if he can stay on the promising upward trajectory that he showed toward the end of the year. If he can manage to stay on the court even when defenses attack him, Tarczewski should be in line for a breakout year with plenty of big lines along the way.