Arizona Basketball: The Silver Lining Chance Comanche


Arizona Basketball player Chance Comanche impressed Sean Miller and in turn the media and Wildcats fans.

Chance Comanche is ‘that’ player, the one every coach dreams of coaching. Comanche plays with no fear; he gives it all he’s got every time he steps on the court; he has a ton of upside. Most importantly you can tell he pays attention to his coaches and works hard at getting better.

Most fans and the media didn’t see the potential before the season started, most assumed he was going to red shirt. Now we’re all glad he didn’t.

Reading various articles about Comanche, you’ll realize that some of the media seem to be obsessed about his weight. One article mentioned Chance’s current size and weight as a problem three times. Chance has put on pounds of muscle since high school and continues to pump iron. That said, his current size and weight helped him get up and down the court quicker in transition in his first season.

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Wildcats fans didn’t get much of an opportunity to see Comanche play in his senior year at Beverly Hills high school where he led his team to the division championships. I did get that opportunity, quite a few times for that matter, and witnessed in person up close his blocking and dunking skills that were far better than anyone he was playing with or against in games. Although confident, he needs to rise to a level of dominance, which is an attainable goal.

Chance stand 6’11 flat-footed and 7′ in his kicks. In one of his most memorable games, Comanche took on Utah’s center Jakob Poeltl, the eventual winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award in 2016, and did a fantastic job stopping him from scoring. He guarded Poeltl closely and disrupted his rhythm.

Dec 16, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats center Chance Comanche (21) dunks the ball during the second half against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at McKale Center. Arizona won 92-37. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 16, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats center Chance Comanche (21) dunks the ball during the second half against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at McKale Center. Arizona won 92-37. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports /

There were times during the season the starters went flat. Coach Miller tried to rectify the situation by putting in Comanche. The energy level of the whole team would change. As Dusan Ristic seemed to decline in production, Chance Comanche was on the up and up.

During conference games, announcer Bill Walton could never stop raining compliments on Comanche. He would talk religiously about Comanche’s mom, about how much he loved his name and it’s origin and finally about his potential and playing ability.

You have to admit, there is only an upside with Chance, and Zona Zealots saw it from the beginning. The media said he had spotty playing ability, but he wasn’t given a ton of playing time to get better at the start of the season.

It’s harder to come into a game cold from the bench to the court having to perform and show the world your skills in one to three minutes. In contrast, starters get the game minutes to warm up and are given a longer leash when it comes to mistakes. Chance averaged six minutes a game.

I’m aware players need to be ready at all times to play and perform, I’m just pointing out that it is harder to do in six minutes or less, especially because he got scrutinize a little more. One or two mistakes in three minutes was a crime; there was no mercy on social media. The starters are always given more leeway with errors.

Chance’s season stats:


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Generated 4/10/2016.

Even so, Chance made his presence known on the court. Sometimes stats don’t tell the entire story, especially on defense. Miller has advised fans and the media many times that folks cannot judge Kaleb Tarczewski’s performance by stats alone, his presence disrupted the opponents offense due his 6’11.5″ wingspan. Well, Comanche’s wingspan is 7’2″, it makes a difference.

When the opposition plays against Chance, they think twice about shooting and are usually forced to pass. Or, they try to shoot over him and find out it’s not possible in all cases.

The Utah game put Comanche on the map. The game was going south, and the Cats were down by one of the largest margins thus far in the season, 11 points. Miller surprisingly sat Ryan Anderson and started Comanche. He didn’t disappoint, he ceasing the moment and worked his defensive magic on one the top 2016 NBA draft picks.

Chance’s performance helped the Cats get close to almost winning the game; it could’ve gone either way. In 11 minutes, he made two block shots, scored twice from the paint, and snatched two rebounds. The whole team got behind him, and it woke them up! And on top of that Ryan Anderson came back into the game with more energy.

Here’s the post game interview with Sean Miller showering praises on Comanche:

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Comanche is currently working out, honing his skills off-season, and preparing for a productive summer. Next season I’d like to see him talk more on the court, especially on defense, he can really rise to the occasion and be a mentor for the incoming class.

We are happy that the media has finally come around and is acknowledging his potential, glad to have them on board, Zona Zealots never wavered. Even though we will miss Zeus’s slam dunks, Chance showed us he is no stranger to exciting slams into the basket. We cannot wait to see him play with his new freshman class and the rest of the team. BearDown Chance!