When Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is on the court, Arizona is a better basketball team. Hollis-Jefferson has taken over the 6th man role this year and has flourished.
The stats between Kevin Parrom’s senior year as a 6th man and Hollis-Jefferson are very similar. Hollis-Jefferson is averaging 23.1 minutes per game while scoring 8.5 points and pulling down a much needed 5.1 rebounds per game.
Last season Parrom averaged 23.6 minutes per game, 8.3 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game, so their statistical impact has been similar. Both players also provide toughness and rebounding from the wing position. But with much respect to Parrom, whose career was derailed by injuries and personal tragedies, Hollis-Jefferson is on another level.
Hollis-Jefferson might be the best sixth man in college basketball and he’s just a freshman.
If Hollis-Jefferson was on any other basketball team this year, he would most likely be starting. Instead, Arizona has a McDonalds All-American coming off the bench. While it’s a great luxury to have, Arizona has had no problem distributing the minutes that the freshman from Chester, PA deserves.
Of all the players that Hollis-Jefferson has been compared to, one that stood out to me was former Wildcat Derrick Williams.
While the numbers are no comparison you must remember that Williams was playing on a much different Arizona Wildcat team five years ago. For starters, five years ago Lamont “Momo” Jones was our sixth man. That’s a big difference itself when discussing the sixth man role between then and now.
In my opinion, if Hollis-Jefferson was on the 2009-2010 team instead of Williams we might have been discussing the following year who would go #1 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft: Kyrie Irving or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Hollis-Jefferson has already started to build a resume during first 12 games of the season. With the unfortunate injury bug starting to take form at Arizona this season, it will only make Hollis-Jefferson’s resume stronger as Arizona will rely on him more.
The fact that Hollis-Jefferson is only going to get better as the season continues is astounding. By the end of the season we might be talking about a completely different Hollis-Jefferson than what we have seen so far this season.
However, for now Arizona needs to focus on Northern Arizona University before getting ready to start Pac-12 play. Hollis-Jefferson and the #1 ranked Arizona Wildcats will look to compete for the Pac-12 championship while getting themselves ready for a National Championship run.