Arizona's Brandon Ashley is taking his vitamins
SAN FRANCISCO – Brandon Ashley was back in the Bay on Thursday, answering questions about the broken foot that ended his season in 2013-14. He said during his 2014-15 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day podium appearance that he got over the injury quickly, went head-first into rehab and is now 100 percent healthy.
Then came the hard-hitting stuff.
"Are you taking your vitamins?" his mother asked him after sneaking into the media congregation and getting in the last question.
Yes, the Arizona forward says he is taking his vitamins, and maybe that has helped heal the broken bone in his foot. Whatever the case, Ashley returns as a junior with a little bit of perspective on the whole basketball thing.
"It was tough going down," Ashley said. "But as soon as I heard the news I was going to be out for the season, my main focus was rehabbing, making sure I got back healthy, but at the same time maintaining that same focus with my team and making sure that I was still there for them, trying to be a leader, trying to be vocal in the background even though I couldn't necessarily help out on the court."
Ashley averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last year as a floor-spacing power forward who was also pivotal in defending the paint. The Wildcats lost the very game Ashley broke his foot, falling at California on a last-second shot by Golden Bears guard Justin Cobbs. Arizona never fully captured what got them out to a perfect start to the season and a No. 1 rating.
"Keep in mind we were 21‑0 last year. Brandon never lost," UA coach Sean Miller said. "Then he got injured. We worked hard to reinvent ourselves, but I think when it all ended, we wished that he was with us from start to finish."
A healthy Ashley returned to the Bay on Thursday raring to go and with his Wildcats picked as the Pac-12 favorite. The "what-if?" questions are turning into "what can be?"