'Forgotten man' Chase Jeter eager to re-emerge with Arizona Wildcats

Duke transfer set for big role in 2018-19

Deandre Ayton made his preseason debut with the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. Several hours earlier, the guy who battled him every day at practice last season talked about following in his Arizona Wildcats footsteps.

"The table is set in terms of playing time and opportunity. That's one thing that I have been looking forward to," said Chase Jeter, a 6-foot-10 transfer from Duke.

"In terms of following in his footsteps, I wouldn't say following in his footsteps. I'm secure in who I am as a player. I know I'm not Deandre Ayton. Deandre knows I'm not Deandre. Coach Miller knows I'm not Deandre. I'm Chase Jeter, and I feel that Chase Jeter is a great player as well."

Jeter hasn't played in an actual game since Jan. 14, 2017, shut down because of a back injury for the rest of his sophomore season with the Blue Devils. The former five-star recruit and McDonald's All-American averaged 2.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 48 career games at Duke.

He's not Ayton ... but who is he? What can fans expect to see at McKale Center?

"I run the floor well, I rebound well, block shots, take charges, can score in the low post, hit a mid-range jump shot," Jeter said Monday at Arizona basketball's Media Day. "I do a little bit of everything that needs to be done from a guy like myself."

Chase Jeter was pretty excited during a game against Florida State in January 2017.Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Healthy again and slated to be the starting center in a thin Arizona frontcourt, Jeter is hoping to put his redshirt season to good use, drawing on the experience of competing against Ayton and fellow 7-footer Dusan Ristic every day in practice.

"It was awesome," Jeter said.

"Going up against Dusan and Deandre every day, you can't not get better. Going up against guys like that, being able to guard them, having them guard me. That type of physicality, it did a lot to improve my learning curve."

Jeter and Pitt grad transfer Ryan Luther, who has the 3-point shooting touch to stretch the floor on offense, headline a new-look frontcourt for the Cats. They will be backed by sophomore Ira Lee, with sophomore wing Emmanuel Akot able to shift up to play the 4, as well.

"One of the benefits we have is our mobility," Jeter said.

"We have me, Ryan Luther and Ira, and Emmanuel as well -- guys who can play the 4 and 5 who are athletic and can move. We'll be able to guard guards and guard guys who might be quicker than most big guys."

Arizona returns just 15.4 percent of its scoring -- and no starters from last season -- so coach Sean Miller will be leaning on Jeter's experience and maturity. Jeter and grad transfer point guard Justin Coleman were selected team captains in a vote of teammates and coaching staff.

"Sometimes Chase Jeter is the forgotten man for us because he's not a new player," Miller said.

"He was here a year ago but he didn't play. But remember Chase was a high school All-American and went to Duke and played, and he was in some great practices, had some teammates that are playing in the NBA. Last year, he practiced with us every day.

"Like Ryan, Chase isn't a young player. He's very mature. He's going to graduate at Christmas. Although he's a new face, he brings a maturity that we really need."