Good news: The NCAA ruled that freshman guard Kerr Kriisa is eligible to play for the Arizona Wildcats this season. Bad news: He has to wait until Feb. 6 to suit up.
The UA announced the news Monday.
“I am extremely excited that Kerr will get the opportunity to play at some point this season,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said in a statement. “I am happy for both Kerr and his family that they know he has a clear and bright future at the University of Arizona. Our coaching staff, our team and our fans all love having him as a part of our program.”
Kriisa recently told an Estonian news outlet that his eligibility issues were because of a youth contract he signed with Zalgiris, the youth club that he played for in Lithuania.
He should be a big boost to Arizona’s backcourt, adding more ball handling and much-needed shooting.
It’s unclear why Kriisa has to wait until Feb. 6 to play, but it seems as though the NCAA is wanting him to sit a certain number or percentage of games.
Assuming there are no more addition or cancellations to UA’s schedule, Kriisa will be ready to roll for Arizona’s final eight regular season games plus the conference and NCAA Tournaments should the Wildcats receive a bid.
Kriisa is considered one of the best European guards to go the college route. Last season he averaged 14.8 points and 6.0 assists per game with Zalgiris in the Lithuanian NKL while shooting 39 percent from 3 and 84 percent from the free throw line.
At the end of November, Kriisa returned home to Estonia for a weekend to play for the senior national team in FIBA qualifiers. He then returned to Tucson and re-joined the Wildcats after a week-long quarantine in accordance with UA’s COVID-19 protocol.
“He’s a great kid, obviously a very good player, somebody that our team loves to be around and he makes our practices very competitive,” Miller said of Kriisa earlier in the month. “Not only is he a quality player but...he’s a great competitor.”