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Who can Arizona add to fill out the 2020-21 roster?

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Here’s a list of targets

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JULY 19 adidas Gauntlet Finale Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats have a busy offseason ahead of them, still needing to add multiple players and, now, a new assistant head coach after Justin Gainey left for Marquette.

While the NCAA recently extended a recruiting dead period that prohibits in-person contact and on-campus visits through May 31, electronic communication is still allowed, forcing programs to get creative with their recruiting pitches.

Assuming Nico Mannion and Josh Green join Zeke Nnaji in the NBA Draft as expected, the Wildcats have eight players under scholarship for the 2020-21 season: James Akinjo, Brandon Williams, Jemarl Baker Jr., Dalen Terry, Ben Mathurin, Jordan Brown, Ira Lee, and Christian Koloko.

It’s not a highly-regarded group as no major outlets have Arizona in their early preseason rankings. But a lot can change as the Wildcats can still add as many as five players.

Below are some of the prospects they are interested in, according to the major recruiting outlets. We outlined Arizona’s greatest needs in March if you want to check that out.

High-school recruits

5-star forward Ziaire Williams

On the surface, nothing has changed in Williams’ recruitment since our December update. His final 7 is still Arizona, Duke, North Carolina, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and USC, and his last official visit was to the UA in November for an exhibition vs. Chico State.

There have been no new predictions for his decision by the experts at 247Sports and Rivals since the calendar hit 2020. Of the predictions that were made in 2019, five have him choosing USC, three have him picking Arizona and one has him going to Stanford.

Landing Williams would completely change the upside of Arizona’s roster, giving them some starpower they otherwise don’t have.

247Sports scouting report:

Significant physical upside with plenty of room to gain strength. Athletic wing with good size and decent length. Easily should be able to play both big three and small-ball four at college level. Smooth stroke with ability to hit threes off the catch and pull. More of a one- and two-dribble pull-up shooter than slasher, but has quick first step and good touch around basket. Has multi-positional defensive upside. Adding strength and improving ball skills/aggressiveness will take game to the next level. Easy high major talent with significant NBA upside.

5-star guard Jalen Green

Disclaimer: Green doesn’t seem to be interested in Arizona but he has not released any sort of list of finalists, but we’ll throw him in here because he is the highest-ranked uncommitted recruit Arizona has offered.

The 6-foot-5 wing has already used his five official visits to go to Auburn, Oregon, USC, Memphis, and Florida State. The last seven Crystal Ball predictions believe he is Auburn-bound.

247Sports scouting report:

Good length for a shooting guard who can handle. Plays with long strides. Needs to develop strength and put on some weight. Slasher with elusiveness and wiggle. Finishes above the rim and can make tough shots. A threat to score from deep as well. Effective going either direction, and has a nice pull-up jumper going left. Can distribute, but scoring is his forte. Potential to be a good defender and rebounder with his length, athleticism and motor. Projects as an NBA lottery pick.

4-star shooting guard Kerwin Walton

A former high school teammate of Zeke Nnaji at Hopkins High in Minnesota, Walton announced his final six on Tuesday, which consists of Arizona, Creighton, North Carolina, Minnesota, Georgetown and Vanderbilt.

Walton, the No. 97 prospect, will make his decision at some point in April and all three experts at Rivals.com believe he is Arizona bound. His shooting would be an immediate boost for the Wildcats on the wing.

His 247Sports scouting report:

Good size and length for position. Projectable frame with room to gain strength. High level shooter who can hit shots off the catch and pull. Not a specialist but three-point shooting is best attribute. Respectable handle but more of a straight-line driver. Has midrange/floater game. Sees floor well and is a good passer for position. Moves feet well laterally and is plus on ball defender. Improvement throughout high school gives optimism for future. Projects as starter at high major program.

3-star center Dishon Jackson

Update: Jackson committed to Washington State on Saturday night.

There is still not much out there about Jackson’s recruitment other than that he has offers from Arizona, Cal, Washington State, Nevada, Saint Mary’s, and New Mexico.

The 6-foot-10, 235-pound center from Vallejo, California is the No. 188 player in the 2020 class and No. 26 player at his position.

Jackson averaged 13.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game as a senior at St. Patrick-St. Vincent. He shot 52 percent from the field (despite only shooting a handful of 3s) and 62 percent from the free throw line.

Transfers

Those who are known to be considering Arizona

Santa Clara guard Trey Wertz

Wertz is a 6-foot-4 sophomore who averaged 11.9 PPG this season and shot 40 percent from 3. His final 7 consists of Arizona, Ohio State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Butler, and Oklahoma, but UA’s chance of landing him might have diminished when Gainey, his lead recruiter, left for Marquette.

Read more about Wertz here.

Illinois wing Alan Griffin

Update: Griffin committed to Syracuse on Saturday night.

Griffin is a 6-foot-5 sophomore who averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from 3. Along with Arizona, he is considering Miami, Marquette, Dayton, Iowa State, Texas, Syracuse, and Duke.

Read more about him here.

Kentucky wing Johnny Juzang

The 6-foot-6 freshman averaged 2.9 points per game and shot 33 percent from 3-point range in 12.3 minutes at Kentucky. A former four-star recruit, Juzang was the No. 31 player in the 2019 recruiting class. He is considering Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, Texas Tech, Villanova and Notre Dame.

Read more about him here.

Columbia guard Mike Smith

A 5-foot-11 guard, Smith averaged 22.8 points per game this season, leading both Columbia and the Ivy League (by five points!) in scoring. He shot 43 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3, taking more than six treys per game.

So far, Michigan, Gonzaga and Seton Hall are also believed to be in the mix. As a grad transfer, Smith would be eligible to play immediately.

Read more about him here.

Transfers who have been contacted by Arizona and could be considering the UA but their interest is not yet known


Final thoughts

No JuCo players were listed because, as far as I could find, Arizona hasn’t been connected to any, though that branch of recruiting isn’t covered as extensively, so it’s possible they have some on their radar.

In the end, I think Arizona lands one high-school recruit (Kerwin Walton) and then multiple transfers. The number of names in the transfer portal grows everyday and the Wildcats have been super aggressive on that front.

Arizona never uses a 13-man rotation, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it doesn’t use its entire allotment of scholarships. They can be rolled over to the 2021 class.

One unusual thing about this year is that zero Power 5 schools have made coaching changes, meaning there aren’t any prospects hitting the market late in the recruiting cycle.

Arizona has capitalized on situations like that before. Remember when they flipped Derrick Williams, MoMo Jones and Solomon Hill from USC after Tim Floyd was fired? Good times.