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What Stone Gettings’ commitment means for Arizona

What will the Cornell grad transfer bring to the table?

NCAA Basketball: Cornell at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats filled their final scholarship vacancy Monday when they received a commitment from Cornell graduate transfer Stone Gettings.

The 6-foot-8 forward was second team All-Ivy League last season, averaging 16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.

Unlike most grad transfers, Gettings will not be eligible to play immediately because he doesn’t graduate until December. So he is expected to join the Wildcats at the semester break and suit up in the 2019-20 season.

Here are some takeaways from the addition.

Arizona is Getting a versatile offensive player

Gettings was a solid, well-rounded player at Cornell. He was one of two players to rank in the top 10 in the Ivy League in points (sixth), rebounds (third) and assists (ninth). He proved he can score at all three levels, shooting 46.4 percent from mid-range, 66 percent at the rim, and 36.8 percent from 3.

The most unique part of Gettings’ game is his passing ability. Cornell ran its offense through him, as he posted both the highest usage and assist rate on the team.

While Gettings profiles more as a 4 in the Pac-12, he played center 66 percent of the time last season, per KenPom.

Since he can pass and score both inside and out, he can be paired with just about any big man, whether it be a prototypical center like Chase Jeter or a small-ball 4 like Emmanuel Akot.

“Stone is a versatile four, five with a high skill level,” an Ivy League assistant coach told Evan Daniels of 247Sports. “Cornell ran their entire offense through him from the high post and top of the key with his ability to pass and shoot. He was a matchup nightmare because of his perimeter skill at 6-9 in the Ivy League. He can really stretch the floor out to the three-point line but is athletic enough to go by and finish at the rim. He should be a really good contributor at Arizona either as a starter or first big off the bench”.

Arizona hasn’t had a lot of versatility in its frontcourt in recent seasons. Quite the opposite, actually. Dusan Ristic was strictly a center, which forced Lauri Markkanen and Deandre Ayton to play the 4, even though both were probably better suited at the 5 at the college level.

However, things could get a little dicey defensively if Arizona uses Gettings at the 5 as much as Cornell did. The Big Red had one of the worst defenses in college basketball last season — it ranked 326th among 351 teams — and Gettings provided very little rim-protection, swatting just 0.7 shots per 40 minutes.

That said, he did have the second-best defensive rating on the team (108.9), so his shot-blocking numbers might not necessarily be indicative of his defensive mettle.

Less pressure in the 2019 recruiting cycle

Arizona doesn’t have a commitment in the 2019 recruiting cycle yet, but Gettings essentially is one.

While having him in the fold probably won’t change the Wildcats’ recruiting strategy, he does provide some short-term security if they fail to land an elite frontcourt prospect. He can also buy some time for a rawer prospect to develop and/or redshirt.

At minimum, Gettings will fill Ryan Luther’s place on the roster and represent some proven production for the 2019-20 team.

Will these patchwork rosters work?

Gettings is the third grad transfer Arizona has landed this offseason, joining Luther and Justin Coleman.

In some ways, grad transfers are good because they are known commodities and can be plugged in from day one. But they are no different from one-and-dones in that they create perpetual roster turnover.

As we have seen with championship teams like Villanova and North Carolina recently, there is something to be said for having continuity from year to year. (Obviously having talented players helps immensely, too.)

Plus, Arizona’s grad transfers have virtually zero NCAA Tournament experience. (Luther played four minutes in Pitt’s first-round loss back in 2015-16.)

Are those the type of players you can win with on the big stage? We’re about to find out.