Unsung players wore No. 21 proudly for Arizona Wildcats

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Brandon Ashley has a teammate in freshman Aaron Gordon who is getting all the publicity as a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate.

Kyle Fogg, unspectacular but steady and effective, did not always grab the headlines.

Hassan Adams was a prolific scorer during his UA career, but he was not in the spotlight as much as teammates Andre Iguodala, Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye.

Bennett Davison was the starting power forward for the 1996-97 national championship team, but he was a supporting cast member for a team that featured Mike Bibby, Miles Simon and Michael Dickerson.

The late Brian Williams, later known as Bison Dele, played for the Wildcats at the same time future NBA veterans Chris Mills and Sean Rooks were making a name for themselves.

Notice a theme? All were important supplemental players for the Wildcats. They also all wore No. 21.

Arizona’s No. 21 players
Source: UA media relations
Max Spilsbury, C, 1946-47
Cecil Crouch, F, 1947-49
Roger Johnson, G, 1949-52
James Brown, G, 1952-53
Jim Brower, G, 1954-55
Dan Breck, C, 1961-62
Jim Douglas, G, 1962-63
Jamie Foster, F, 1964-65
Gordon Lindstrom, F, 1965-66
Mike Welton, G, 1966-69
Charles McKee, G, 1969-70
Jim Huckstein, G, 1970-71
Dick Mowher, F, 1958-60
Jim Huckstein, G, 1971-72
Jim McLaughlin, G, 1972-73
Len Gordy, G, 1973-77
Robbie Dosty, F, 1977-81
Keith Jackson, F, 1981-85
Eric Cooper, G, 1985-87
Brian Williams, C/F, 1989-91
Brian Nelson, G, 1991-92
Etdrick Bohannon, C, 1992-93
Andy Brown, F, 1993-94
Bennett Davison, F, 1996-98
Hassan Adams, G, 2002-06
Kyle Fogg, G, 2008-12
Brandon Ashley, F, 2012-13

A lot is written about Gordon being a one-and-done player, but Ashley is a likely two-and-done player. UA coach Sean Miller and his staff are recruiting with that in mind. They have a commitment from one of the best power forwards in the nation — Craig Victor — and are targeting post player Michael Humphrey from Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Don’t be surprised if Humphrey, who is also considering Stanford, will commit to Arizona soon as Miller and Co. continue to attract the state’s top recruits.

Is Ashley good enough to make the jump to the NBA?

All accounts suggest that he continues to make great strides in his all-around game, particular his offense facing the basket. He has the size — 6’8″ and 230 pounds — to go against NBA power forwards. He can certainly run the court. What he needs most is maturity (making the right decisions) and to be stronger physically.

Ashley is not listed by DraftExpress.com as a first- or second-round choice in June. ESPN analyst Chad Ford has Ashley going in the second round, the 45th pick overall.

If those projections hold true, it would be wise for Ashley to return for his junior season. His progression is one of the many interesting angles of this year’s team. Miller likes the promise Ashley has shown in practice to this point.

“Brandon is just an overall better player,” Miller said after the Red-Blue Scrimmage last Saturday. “He played a lot of minutes on a very good team last year. He had a terrific summer, and he just knows what it takes.

“He is very young, and a lot of times the jump is significant between the freshman and sophomore years.”

Countdown to Tip-off Blogs:

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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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