There’s a little saying going around the Arizona basketball program, it’s “honor the process.” In other words, place importance on every practice, every lesson, everything that the team does. It’s a mantra that, so far, has been pretty darn effective.
One guy who has been living that philosophy is freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who gets virtually no publicity in the talk of the nation’s best freshmen. Though he could start on just about any team in the country, Hollis-Jefferson is happy to be Arizona’s unsung hero and wrecking ball off the bench.
With a workmanlike attitude, Hollis-Jefferson is quietly averaging 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in just 22 minutes per game. He’s provided the defensive hustle stats too, with 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. And despite playing the 6th most minutes, he’s got the third most free throw attempts with 39. Nick Johnson leads the team with 43.
But it’s not just games where Hollis-Jefferson has found success. He’s been one of the most impressive players in practices because of his intensity and work ethic, another variation on the “honor the process” theme.
“Our coaches here tell us it comes down to how good I can be this Saturday to next Saturday. I try to improve week to week, and on everything my coaches ask of me,” Hollis-Jefferson told Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times.
With the way Hollis-Jefferson has been improving (he grabbed a career high 8 rebounds against Texas Tech), he might honor-the-process his way into the NBA Draft this offseason. Don’t worry Arizona fans, if that happens it’ll probably mean the Wildcats had a pretty special season.
Miller on Honoring the Process
Head coach Sean Miller was on the Jim Rome Show Wednesday, where he reiterated the idea of honoring the process.
“The process in college basketball is you have to be able to move from one game to the next, one day to the next,” Miller said. “The reality of that is we’re only seven games in.”
“We practice 120 times,” he added, “and the process is simply that everything we do matters or else we wouldn’t do it. That’s what we talk about a lot and hopefully we can continue to move forward in that way.”
With Michigan State’s recent loss to North Carolina, Arizona has the chance to compete for a #1 ranking for the first time since 2003 if they beat UNLV on Saturday. Miller said that the ranking was important to the team, but there was a grander overall vision.
“We know being the number one team in December doesn’t get you anything, but I will tell you this, there’s something to be said for playing on a team that was ranked number one,” he said. “And I think in our quest to do it, or to chase it, or to even be able to be in the conversation to be number one, the flip side is that everything that we do everyday, every game is important.”
“If trying to be the number one team leads us down that path even more than we are now, then I think that’s something that I hope can fuel our fire,” Miller said.