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Arizona basketball: Dusan Ristic returning for his senior season

Dusan will stay in Tucson for another year

Arizona State v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Wildcats center Dusan Ristic will return for his senior season, he announced Friday afternoon on Twitter.

“It is important for me to return to finish my eduction and complete my goals as a player,” he said in a statement. “The support of my coaches, teammates, and the Arizona fans has been amazing throughout my three years in Tucson. I look forward to competing for championships during my final season in McKale Center.”

Ristic played in 36 games this season, and started 34 of them, spending most of the time as the Wildcats’ starting center.

The 7-footer averaged career-highs in points (10.9), rebounds (5.5), and minutes (22.8) per game.

The Serb could have entered the 2017 NBA Draft and/or pursued opportunities overseas instead of returning for a fourth season, but chose to return and he should be a key cog in what is expected to be a high-powered Arizona team in 2017-18.

Lauri Markkanen is heading to the NBA, and potentially Chance Comanche as well, leaving plenty of minutes in the frontcourt for Ristic, who showed improvement defensively as a junior.

He also upped his field goal percentage and total rebounding percentage.

Along with Ristic, Arizona will be returning Allonzo Trier, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Dylan Smith, and Keanu Pinder in 2017-18, and also could return Rawle Alkins and Comanche, who are testing the NBA Draft waters but have not hired an agent.

The Wildcats’ incoming recruiting class ranks No. 3 in the nation, and they are expected to add at least two more players via recruiting or the transfer market, setting Arizona up for success in 2017-18.

Several publications have selected the Wildcats as the No. 1 team in college basketball in their “way-too-early” preseason polls.

At minimum, Ristic will provide the Wildcats with efficient scoring in the low-post, plus a good deal of experience.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire