The Arizona Wildcats will be relying heavily on newcomers this season, so it’s assuring to know that they have some good ones.
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello ranked the top 80 newcomers in college basketball and Georgetown transfer James Akinjo (24), Nevada transfer Jordan Brown (33), Lithuanian freshman Azuolas Tubelis (47), and Seattle U grad transfer Terrell Brown (61) made the cut.
Arizona’s four players inside the top 80 are the most in the country. That doesn’t even include Kerr Kriisa, who was one of 10 players ranked just outside the top 80.
Here’s Borzello’s brief breakdown of the four that were included:
- Akinjo: “He was the Big East Freshman of the Year before leaving Georgetown after seven games last season. Sean Miller will give him the ball on day one.”
- Jordan Brown: “A former McDonald’s All American who barely played at Nevada as a freshman, Brown impressed during his sit-out year in Tucson.”
- Tubelis: “Considered the top European prospect entering college basketball, Tubelis is already drawing positive early reviews. Put up huge numbers for Lithuania the past three summers.”
- Terrell Brown: “Was a first-team All-WAC selection last season after averaging 20.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists. Will be one of several newcomers pushing to start for Sean Miller.”
These four—along with Kriisa—may very well make up Arizona’s starting lineup come November. It would mark the second straight year Arizona starts five newcomers, though Jordan Brown and Akinjo practiced with the team last season.
In all, 10 of Arizona’s 13 scholarship players are in their first full season with the program, one reason why the Wildcats haven’t been included in any preseason top 25 rankings. They will have to prove they can play before they receive any national recognition.