Report: Arizona coaches told recruit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley will ‘most likely’ be leaving for NBA
From the moment Arizona’s season ended with an 85-78 loss to Wisconsin in the Elite 8 Saturday, thoughts of next season and how the team will look began to creep in.
We know for sure that T.J. McConnell will not be back, as he is a senior and has exhausted all of his eligibility.
Stanley Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, figured to be a one-and-done player, and is likely heading for the NBA as a lottery pick.
After them, though, there are more questions. It would not come as a surprise to anyone if the rest of the starting lineup, which includes sophomore Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as well as juniors Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski, also left for the pros.
No official announcement has been made, but according to a report by Zagsblog.com, Arizona’s pursuit of elite 2015 recruit Ivan Rabb may offer some clues as to which way some of the players are leaning. Rabb, a five-star power forward from Oakland, is also considering California.
Rabb said the comfort that could come of being close to home at Cal would be a plus, but the bigger goal is making the NBA, and recent history says Arizona will provide a better opportunity for that. Rabb said the Arizona coaches told him that current Arizona players Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley will most likely be leaving school for the NBA. So at both Cal and Arizona, there is a strong chance that Rabb is thrust into a starting role from day one.
Arizona.Scout.com’s Evan Daniels is also reporting that sources told them Hollis-Jefferson, in particular, plans to declare for the draft.
Though, the player himself begs to differ.
When the time is right I'll make my decision . I must first have a sit down with my coach and my mother. No decision has been made.
— R.HollisJefferson (@RondaeHJ23) April 1, 2015
Hollis-Jefferson emerged as a lock-down defender for Arizona, using his length and athleticism to shut down the opponent’s best player. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game for the ‘Cats this seaosn.
Ashley bounced back from the foot injury that cost him much of the 2013-14 campaign to post averages of 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
In the latest NBADraft.net mock, which was updated on March 26, Hollis-Jefferson was predicted to be picked 30th overall while Ashley was slated at No. 36.