Azuolas Tubelis expected to enter NBA Draft, depart Arizona

Apr 13, 2023, 11:11 AM

Azuolas Tubelis, NBA Draft, Arizona Wildcats...

Azuolas Tubelis #10 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after a dunk during the first half against the USC Trojans at Galen Center on March 02, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

All-American forward Azuolas Tubelis is expected to leave the Arizona Wildcats and remain in the NBA Draft, he told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Tubelis told Givony on Thursday that he plans to help boost his stock at the NBA Draft Combine from May 15-21.

Tubelis started 89 of 97 games played in his three-year run with the Wildcats, playing under former coach Sean Miller in 2020-21 and then spending the last two years with head coach Tommy Lloyd.

Tubelis averaged 19.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in 2022-23 while shooting 57% overall, earning an AP Second Team All-American nod.

The Wildcats went 28-7 but as a No. 2 seed lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Princeton.

Tubelis’ stock likely won’t budge much if he opted to stay another season at Arizona. He is ranked by ESPN as the No. 68 prospect in the 2023 draft class.

At 6-foot-11, the Lithuanian shined as a hard-running player in transition. He used his athletic pop and creativity to find angles, getting past defenders’ hips and using a soft touch around the baset.

Fifty-eight percent of his shot attempts came at the rim, though 70% of those were assisted.

Tubelis’ lack of a three-point shot — 0.9 attempts per game and 31% accuracy — limits his NBA upside.

So do his defensive abilities, which came into question as recently as Feb. 25, when Lloyd called out his best player for his effort in a buzzer-beating loss against Arizona State.

For the Wildcats, Lloyd’s roster in 2023 takes another hit after losing starting point guard Kerr Kriisa, who is transferring to West Virginia.

Of its rotation players from last season, Arizona expects to return center Oumar Ballo, wing Pelle Larsson and guard Kylan Boswell.

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Azuolas Tubelis expected to enter NBA Draft, depart Arizona