Soon-to-be-junior Jake DesJardins has been awarded a scholarship for the 2018-19 season.
A 6-foot-6 forward from Las Vegas, DesJardins has appeared in 10 games in two seasons with the Arizona Wildcats.
He isn’t expected to play much, if at all, next season, but head coach Sean Miller explained Thursday why he put DesJardins on scholarship anyway.
“Jake embodies all the qualities that we want to have as a culture on and off the court, somebody who cares a lot about his teammates and winning who comes to work everyday, so to speak, whether it be in practice, preparation for the upcoming team in the weight room, off the court, offseason,” Miller said.
“Obviously when you’re a walk on and I say all of those things about you and you’re paying your own way, I think that says even more about the character of Jake. We’ve had so many great walk-ons impact us, but very few times have we utilized all 13 of our scholarships. So being able to watch somebody earn it over a two-year period, being selfless, working hard, and impacting both of the teams that he’s been on, I think that’s the right thing to do.
“And in the classroom, Jake’s one of our strongest students so he gets it done on the court, off the court. We trust him a great deal and he’s never asked for a scholarship. We gave him the scholarship because he earned it.”
The Wildcats now have one scholarship left for the 2018-19 season, but Miller said Thursday that he isn’t sure if they will use it.
If they do, they will likely add a player that won’t be eligible to play immediately (a non-graduate transfer).
“There’s a couple players that we have our eye on that ... they’ve already mentioned that they’re going to transfer and it’s just a matter of whether that will be here or not,” Miller said.
If Arizona hangs on to its final scholarship, it will have an extra one to play with in the 2019 recruiting cycle, where it’s expected to have more success than it did in 2018, given the unusual circumstances surrounding the program.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire