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Arizona’s Josh Green named fourth-most important player in Pac-12

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Even more important than Nico Mannion, apparently

City Of Palms Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Nico Mannion is the highest-ranked freshman the Arizona Wildcats are bringing in this season, but fellow five-star recruit and former AAU teammate Josh Green is the most important.

At least that’s what NCAA.com’s Andy Katz thinks. Katz listed Green as the fourth-most important player in the Pac-12 this season, only behind Colorado guard McKinley Wright IV, Washington freshman Isaiah Stewart, and Arizona State guard Remy Martin.

Here’s why:

The Wildcats have a slew of hype coming into this season. And a lot of it rests with point guard Nico Mannion. But Green needs to be the scorer/slasher on the wing for the Wildcats to ensure they can be in contention for the Pac-12 title. Chase Jeter will be an anchor inside. Green can offer up the balance.

The 6-foot-6 Green, who’s ranked as the No. 13 player in the 2019 class by 247Sports, is expected to start at the 3 next to Mannion, Jeter, Brandon Williams and whoever earns the starting power forward job.

Katz mentioned Green’s scoring and slashing ability, but he will need to be able to knock down some jumpers so that defenses cannot clog the paint against Mannion, Williams and Jeter.

Arizona only shot 33.6 percent from beyond the arc last season, its worst mark in the Sean Miller era, and it lost its two best shooters—Ryan Luther and Justin Coleman—to graduation.

“Josh is somebody that we started recruiting many years ago. Josh can play, really, either wing spot,” Miller said in November. “I think his shot is really developing. That’s probably the thing that’s happened the most for him the last four or five months even though he had shoulder surgery. Just watching him shoot the ball, he’s really on a great track. I say that because everything else is really in place. He has a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He’s physically strong right now. He has a chance to be an excellent defensive player.”

The Australian recently arrived in Tucson and tweeted Saturday that he is “ready to get to work.”