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Arizona Wildcats ranked No. 17 in ESPN’s way-too-early CBB rankings

Arizona's Brandon Williams (2) lays up a shot past California's Paris Austin, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

It is safe to say that the 2018-19 season did not exactly go the way the Arizona Wildcats had planned, but the program may be in line for one of the quickest turnarounds in the country.

Immediately following the conclusion of Monday’s NCAA National Championship game, ESPN released its way-too-early 2019-20 men’s basketball rankings. The Wildcats came in at No. 17.

The first team in the rankings that didn’t play in this year’s NCAA tournament, the Wildcats are going to rely heavily on the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. The headliners are top-10 guards Josh Green and Nico Mannion, who played together on the AAU circuit and will start immediately next season in Tucson.

The Wildcats’ two top recruits, Mannion and Green, are ranked No. 10 and 11 in their recruiting class according to 247 Sports.

This year at Pinnacle High School, Mannion averaged 30.4 points, 6.2 assists and 6.2 rebounds a game. The 18-year-old was also named Boys’ Basketball Athlete of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association.

Green, the No. 1 recruit out of the state of Florida, averaged 16.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season at IMG Academy.

Next season, the two future Wildcats will join standout freshman Brandon Williams on the court in Tucson.

Freshman Brandon Williams was one of the bright spots for Sean Miller this season, and he’s the top returnee on the perimeter.

In his first season with the Wildcats, Williams averaged 11.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. Williams also proved to be one of the Wildcats’ best free-throw shooters, shooting 81.9 percent from the charity stripe.

With the additions of Mannion and Green to go alongside Williams, the Wildcats look to be in a pretty good position to bounce back from their disappointing season last year.

The Wildcats finished this past season with a record of 19-13, their worst under head coach Sean Miller.

After being ranked for a majority of the 2017-18 season, the Wildcats did not appear in the AP Top 25 at any point this past season.

This year was also the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Wildcats did not make the NCAA Tournament.


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