Arizona guard Pelle Larsson returning after testing draft waters

May 16, 2023, 12:54 PM

Pelle Larson, Arizona Wildcats...

Pelle Larsson #3 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the first half of the championship game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 11, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wildcats defeated the Bruins 61-59. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Arizona guard Pelle Larsson is returning to the program next season after he briefly tested the NBA Draft waters, he announced on Instagram.

Larsson was invited to the NBA G League Elite Camp that took place the weekend prior but the guard was not on a team roster for the event.

Larsson is entering his senior season after spending his last two with the Wildcats. He won the Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year award in 2021-22, but last season, struggled as a starter. Larsson moved back into his role as a reserve, where he began to be more effective again in the back-half of the season.

It is a welcome development for Arizona. Head coach Tommy Lloyd is dealing with a major gutting of talent in back-to-back seasons. His 33-4 squad two seasons ago lost three starters that were all selected in the NBA Draft and last year’s 28-7 bunch is projected to be without four starters.

Point guard Kerr Kriisa transferred to West Virginia, guard Courtney Ramey and wing Cedric Henderson Jr. used their final year of eligibility and forward Azuolas Tubelis also declared for the NBA Draft. While there isn’t a guarantee that Tubelis is going to be selected, he is expected to pursue professional opportunities regardless, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Larsson and senior center Oumar Ballo, the lone returning starter, presumably fill out the other two starting positions. Point guard Kylan Boswell, who just turned 18 in April, was a spark off the bench all year as a true freshman and Tucson has high hopes for him to be the latest big-time floor general out of “Point Guard U.”

The team as of now will primarily be centered around that trio and the other two spots are up for grabs.

Transfer guard Jaden Bradley might be a lock for one already. He comes in from Alabama and was a McDonald’s All-American last year coming out of high school, averaging 6.4 points in 19.8 minutes a night for the Crimson Tide.

Two incoming freshmen, guard K.J. Lewis and center Motiejus Krivas, will be in the mix for minutes and then three more sophomores from last year’s freshmen class in wing Filip Borovicanin, big Henri Veesaar and center Dylan Anderson could be factors as well.

And there are more players coming. The Arizona Daily Star has it down as nine scholarship players for the Wildcats after Larsson’s return.

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