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What Jordan Brown’s commitment to Nevada means for Arizona

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The Wildcats’ frontcourt is one big question mark heading into 2018-19

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NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Five-star forward Jordan Brown committed to the Nevada Wolf Pack over the Arizona Wildcats and California Golden Bears on Friday.

He was the No. 17 player in the 2018 class.

Here is what his decision means for Arizona.

UA’s frontcourt has potential, but also a lot of question marks

A McDonald’s All-American, Brown was the highest-rated player left on the market and could have very easily turned out to be UA’s best post player in 2018-19.

But now that he’s no longer an option, it’s more apparent that Arizona will rely on a trio of Chase Jeter, Ira Lee, and Ryan Luther, with Emmanuel Akot occasionally playing the 4 when the Wildcats go small.

While that looks solid on paper and could wind up being a good unit, there isn’t a whole lot you can count on heading into the season.

Jeter averaged 2.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 48 games at Duke and battled a back injury, Lee had similar numbers in his first season at Arizona plus had difficultly avoiding foul trouble, Luther has not played in a conference game since 2015-16 because of injuries, and Akot struggled as a freshman while dealing with knee tendonitis.

So as much potential as there is — Jeter, Lee, and Akot were highly-regarded recruits and Luther averaged a double-double last season when healthy — there’s an equal amount of uncertainty.

Arizona’s frontcourt could be anything from its greatest strength to a glaring weakness.

And, in general, losing out on Brown means Arizona’s ceiling and floor as a team is lower. With him, the Wildcats might have been considered the favorites to win the Pac-12. Without him, that spot still belongs to Oregon.

Another body is needed

Arizona might be able to get away with having three or four post players, but in case of injuries, suspensions, or foul trouble, it would be wise to add at least one more.

However, aside from unranked prospect Parker Braun, UA’s options are limited.

There aren’t many high school recruits available — or least any Arizona should covet — so adding another graduate transfer is the route the Wildcats may go.

Arizona hasn’t been linked to any, but there are still a few out there.

Some interesting options include New Mexico’s Connor MacDougall, South Florida’s Malik Martin, UMass’ Malik Hines, and NJIT’s Abdul Lewis.

(You can find a full list of potential graduate transfers here.)

No McDonald’s All-Americans ..... or one-and-dones?

The 2018 recruiting class will be Arizona’s first since 2011 without a McDonald’s All-American. Take that for whatever you think it’s worth.

It could also be UA’s second class since 2012 without a one-and-done. Right now, Brandon Williams looks like the only UA freshman who may go pro after one season.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire or help support his work via Venmo.