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Arizona’s Oumar Ballo makes Kareem Abdul-Jabar Award preseason watchlist

oumar-ballo-kareem-abdul-jabar-award-preseason-watchlist-arizona-wildcats-basketball Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After a breakout 2021-2022 season, Oumar Ballo is receiving some much deserved national attention heading into his second year at Arizona.

Ballo has been named to the preseason watchlist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabar Award, given to the nation’s top center. The 7-footer is one of 20 players named to the watchlist, which includes UCLA’s Adem Bona, Oregon’s Kel’el Ware and Utah’s Branden Carlson.

Ballo, a transfer from Gonzaga, appeared in 37 games off the bench last season and averaged 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Playing alongside Christian Koloko, he ranked seventh in the Pac-12 in blocked shots.

In Pac-12 play, Ballo led the conference in shooting percentage (68.2%) and increased his scoring to 8.0 points per game.

This week Ballo was named a Preseason All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

A redshirt junior, Ballo is expected to take a leap in productivity with Koloko gone to the NBA.

Arizona is one of just seven schools with four players named to preseason watchlists. Kerr Kriisa, Pelle Larsson, and Azuolas Tubelis were named to watchlists for their respective positions.