ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Caleb Love returning to Arizona instead of staying in NBA Draft pool: ‘Show goes on’

May 29, 2024, 2:44 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm

Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love, the Pac-12 Player of the Year...

Caleb Love #2 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 06, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Utes 92-73. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Caleb Love will return to Arizona to play his fifth college season and second with the Wildcats after putting himself in the 2024 NBA Draft pool, he announced on social media.

“Wildcat nation, it’s been so amazing the way you’ve welcomed me and showered me with love. No way I could walk away from all that right now,” Love said in a video. “Show goes on.”

Players had until a 9:59 p.m. MST deadline on Wednesday night to return to college and keep their eligibility.

Love’s return likely triggered two other moves. Arizona reportedly on Wednesday parted ways with a 2024 signee, guard Jamari Phillips. The Wildcats also saw hard commit Joson Sanon flip his commitment from Arizona to Arizona State upon Love’s return to Tucson.

The 22-year-old Love was not projected to be selected in the draft. He took part in the G League Elite Camp but did not earn one of the coveted invites to the NBA Draft Combine.

Love averaged 18.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in his first year at Arizona and was an AP Third Team All-American.

He transferred to Arizona for the 2023-24 season after three years at North Carolina, which included the peak of a national championship game appearance in 2022 and the downs of a 20-13 season the following year.

Love won Pac-12 Player of the Year and helped Arizona finish the season 27-9. The Wildcats bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 with a loss to Clemson.

Arizona was at risk of losing all of its starters from the 2023-24 team due to transfers or jumps to the professional ranks: Point guard Kylan Boswell (Illinois), wing Pelle Larsson (NBA Draft), forward Keshad Johnson (NBA Draft) and center Oumar Ballo (Indiana).

Backup guard K.J. Lewis announced he will return to Arizona for his sophomore season after testing the draft waters, while fellow rotation guard Jaden Bradley is back for his third college season and second at Arizona.

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