It caught just about everyone off guard when Grant Jerrett - he of 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 17.8 minutes per game - declared for the NBA Draft last month after just one season at the UA.
"Initially, I was surprised," head coach Sean Miller said at a press conference on Friday. "But that's all a part of it when you recruit a very talented young player.
"I think from Grant's perspective he felt he was ready and he was willing to make that climb to become an NBA player. I have no doubt that he has the talent to do it and I think just over the last month I received so many calls about him. My goal is to help him become the highest pick he can possibily become."
The initial reaction for Jerrett was that he was, at best, a second-round pick and would likely spend the first two years of his NBA career either overseas or in the D-League, but an invitation to Chicago's NBA Pre-Draft Combine solidified his status as, at the very least, an intriguing prospect.
"A lot of it will depend on how he performs from this point forward," Miller said. "One of the things Grant has to his advantage is that he has a true position in the NBA. He can play the four, he's very skilled, he's long, he's not a small guy at all. His best basketball is ahead of him for sure."
According to Draft Express, he measured at 6-foot-8 ¾ without shoes, 6-foot-10¼ with them, weighing 232 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and a 9-foot-1 standing reach. His ability to shoot the long ball, at that height, is probably his best attribute.
ESPN's Chad Ford tweeted that Jerrett was one of the top shooters from the Combine, hitting 72 percent of shots, which was comparable to Bucknell's Mike Muscala (76 percent), New Mexico's Tony Snell (74 percent), UNC'sReggie Bullock (72 percent) and Cal's Allen Crabbe (70 percent).
Ford also mentioned in an Insider-only article that Jerrett had one of the largest percentage of body fat.
Ford also told Arizona Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe: "Scouts really liked him in high school as a potential stretch four in the NBA. He just needs to shoot the ball well, show some athletic ability and maybe show teams that he's improved his body. I do think he's got a shot at the first round with great workouts. Lots of potential there."
DraftExpress has Jerrett ranked at No. 68 out of 100 prospects, an undrafted in its latest mock draft (there are 60 total draft picks, 30 in each round).
Former Wildcat Solomon Hill, though, is projected as a second-round pick by DraftExpress and ranked No. 49 overall. Hill, who is also at the combine, measured out at 6-foot-5½ without shoes, 6-foot-7 with, 226 pounds with a 6-foot-9 wingspan and a standing reach of 8-foot-7.
The ‘Chol Toll' moves to San Diego
While Miller admittedly was surprised at Jerrett's NBA decision, it really came as no surprise to him when little-used backup center Angelo Chol decided to transfer to San Diego State.
"I would like to keep all of our players here for four years," Miller said. "Our goal is to keep them here as long as we can. Angelo was in a situation in the first two years here where he didn't play a whole lot."
In fact, his playing time went down in his second year - he played 8.5 minutes per game last season, down from 12.1 his freshman year. Even with Jerrett's departure, the addition of Aaron "he's the second coming of Blake Griffin" Gordon, coupled with the return of Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley, plus 6-foot-10 junior college transfer Matt Korcheck, playing time would have been sparse.
"I think as he looked towards the future, regardless of how hard he worked," Miller said. "He still saw himself in a crowd and what he was looking forward to was going to a program where he had an opportunity to start and play the whole game and I think that's what, at least from my perspective, that's what he has in his next spot."
Chol will have to sit out a season, as per NCAA transfer rules, so he will miss the Wildcats matchup with San Diego State (in San Diego) next season.
Chol, who came to the UA a four-star recruit, averaged 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 63 career games at Arizona.