As the Arizona Wildcats face the grim reality that is the 2018-19 season, eyes are starting to look toward next year when the program will have a much stronger crop of talent.
Arizona currently has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, highlighted by two McDonald’s All-Americans in Nico Mannion and Josh Green along with three four-star prospects in Terry Armstrong, Christian Koloko and Zeke Nnaji.
“We’re not there yet, but I’m excited about that group for sure,” UA coach Sean Miller said Tuesday at his weekly presser. “I also don’t think that group will just end there.”
Miller said Arizona could add at least one more player to the 2019 class in the spring “if not more than one.”
“It could be a transfer that’s not able to play, but able to practice. Kind of what Chase Jeter did a year ago. It could be a grad transfer, who’s eligible right away or a junior college player or international player. Even a high school player,” he said. “But clearly in a year from one to the next at Arizona, we’ve usually had a class of five. I think the number will only increase as more transfers around the nation are happening.”
The Wildcats are currently at the 13-scholarship limit if you do not figure former walk-on Jake DesJardins into the total, so they would need to clear at least one spot in order to add a player. But, as Miller said, transfers are more and more prevalent these days, so creating that space is certainly feasible.
As far as what Arizona’s biggest needs are, the frontcourt could use some help. Nnaji, Ira Lee and Stone Gettings is a formidable trio at the 4, but there could be a pressing need at center if Chase Jeter, a redshirt junior who graduated in December, decides to go pro. Koloko, an athletic but raw prospect, might not be ready to step into a major role as a freshman.
Another need: Shooters. Arizona is only making 33.6 percent of its 3s this season, with zero underclassmen shooting above 35 percent. The team’s best marksman, Justin Coleman, is a senior.
Arizona was linked to Santa Clara grad transfer KJ Feagin, but he already ruled the Wildcats out. Arizona is in the final three for African big man Oumar Ballo, but Gonzaga is considered the favorite in his recruitment.
So it is not totally clear who the Wildcats could add, but several options will likely emerge once the season ends and the transfer market starts to churn.