ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Wildcats fall in ESPN’s most recent way-too-early hoops rankings

Jun 1, 2022, 7:27 AM | Updated: 8:00 am
Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats  points during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on Ja...
Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats points during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Wildcats won 95-79 against the Washington Huskies. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

Back in early April, the reigning Pac-12 champion Arizona Wildcats found themselves in the top 10 of many analysts’s way-too-early men’s basketball rankings for the 2022-23 season.

As of early Tuesday morning, the Wildcats found themselves in ESPN analyst Jeff Borzello’s 18th spot with the NBA Draft right around the corner.

Highly touted NBA prospects Bennedict Mathurin, Christian Koloko and Dalen Terry will more than likely hear their names called on draft night as the Wildcats appear set to lose three players from last year’s main core.

While Terry has shot up draft boards in the recent weeks, the Wildcats have fallen from 10th to 18th in Borzello’s rankings as they wait to see if all three of their former players enter the draft.

Terry, who entered the draft process uncertain about his future, announced Tuesday he would remain in the draft and depart Arizona.

Mathurin led the Wildcats in scoring last year, putting up 17.7 points per game, while Koloko put up 12.6 and Terry averaged 8.0.

Koloko was also the team’s leading rebounder and shot-blocker by far.

Wildcats head coach Tommy Lloyd will have his hands full attempting to fill the voids his likely draft picks left in Tucson in their remarkable 33-4 season, which was capped off by a trip to the Sweet 16. Arizona fell to Houston, 72-60, in the NCAA Tournament matchup.

Help is on the way for Lloyd and Co. as the Wildcats have already landed international prospect Henri Veesaar, who according to Borzello was considered by many as the best European player entering college next season. Borzello adds Veesaar has already seen comparisons to former Wildcats first-round pick Lauri Markkanen, who has had a stable NBA career for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.

He could join a rotation that includes returning point guard Kerr Kriisa and power forward Azuolas Tubelis.

While the Wildcats haven’t officially landed a transfer yet, they have been rumored to be in contact with Efe Abogidi (Washington State), Keion Brooks Jr. (Kentucky) and Courtney Ramey (Texas), according to Borzello.

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