The Arizona Wildcats landed three international recruits and a grad transfer in April, quickly loading up the roster for the 2020-21 campaign.
Now with 12 players in the fold, the Wildcats have one more scholarship left to offer. Here are some ways they can use it.
Sign a graduate transfer
While Arizona has a nice assortment of talent, it is still unproven at virtually every position, as Brandon Williams, James Akinjo, Terrell Brown and Ira Lee are the only ones who have ever started in a college game. And all of them come with major question marks.
Will Williams be limited by his knee? When will Akinjo be eligible to play? How will Brown translate to the high-major basketball? Is Lee finally ready for a bigger role?
Arizona doesn’t have any five-star freshmen to lean on this time, so it would ease some uncertainty if it can add a veteran to its rotation, preferably on the wing since four-star freshmen Dalen Terry, Bennedict Mathurin and Tibet Gorener are the 3s on the roster and who knows how ready they will be to contribute.
But really, aside from a small guard, the Wildcats can use help everywhere. They have not been connected to any transfers lately, so it is hard to provide any specific names, but new names are always being added to the transfer portal so it could just be a matter of time before you see one of those “Arizona reaches out to [insert grad transfer here]” stories pop up on this site.
Sign a multi-year transfer
Now that Arizona has more than enough bodies to get through the 2020-21 season, it can afford to shift its recruiting focus to the future. This includes adding a transfer that it knows will not be eligible to play in 2020-21. In this case, the Wildcats should be grabbing the best transfers available not just ones who play a particular role.
There is so much turnover in college basketball these days that you’re never truly set at any position for the long term.
Sign a high school or JuCo recruit
This is pretty self-explanatory. Again, the issue here is that it’s unclear who Arizona is targeting. The Wildcats have done much of their work under the radar lately.
We do know that there aren’t many highly-ranked high school recruits left on the market. Only two top-100 2020 prospects remain uncommitted—Makur Maker and Frank Anselem.
Maker, a five-star center from Hillcrest Prep, the same school Deandre Ayton attended, is expected to go pro and does not have an offer from Arizona.
Anselem, a four-star center, recently reclassified from 2021 to 2020 and reopened his recruitment after previously narrowing it down to three finalists. Arizona has offered him and hosted him on an official visit back in October.
The 6-foot-10 big man is another physical specimen who is raw offensively, so his fit at Arizona is questionable. Not sure if this is super notable, but Anselem attends Prolific Prep in Napa, California, the same school UA forward Jordan Brown attended before enrolling at Nevada.
Save it for later
With Arizona not seemingly close to landing another player, it could opt to hang on to its last scholarship and be ready to pounce on midseason transfers.
Arizona did that the past two years when it landed Akinjo and Stone Gettings. It gave them an extra semester to get comfortable in Tucson rather than forcing them to wait until the summer to start the onboarding process.
Pocketing that last scholarship could also come in handy if, say, a 2021 recruit unexpectedly reclassifies to 2020 or the NCAA passes the one-time transfer waiver in May, causing tons of new players (who would be immediately eligible!) to enter the portal.
If nothing like that comes to fruition, Arizona will simply have an extra scholarship to play with in the 2021 recruiting cycle, where it should have more success than it did in 2020, particularly when it comes to wooing American high-school recruits.