The Arizona Wildcats are expected to be a top-10 team next season, but three of their five starters will likely be seniors, so it won’t be long before a new generation of players will have to lead the upstart program.
Fortunately, Adia Barnes and company continue to add a steady stream of talent, signing three highly-regarded players in the 2020 recruiting cycle, though each face their own unique obstacles.
For now, here’s a breakdown of the incoming freshmen.
Lauren Ware, post
- Height: 6-foot-5
- Hometown: Bismarck, North Dakota
- Overview: Ware did not play basketball in 2019-20 as she continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered last July during a volleyball match. In 2018-19, she was the North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 17.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 2.1 assists per game while leading Century High School to a state championship and perfect 27-0 record. She is a top-30 prospect and the second-highest ranked recruit Arizona has ever landed behind Cate Reese. Ware is also a top-50 volleyball recruit and plans to play both sports at the UA. Balancing them could be tricky as their schedules overlap for parts of the season.
- Adia’s analysis: ”Lauren is very, very good. Lauren hasn’t even scratched her potential at all because Lauren’s never played a full year of women’s basketball at all. She’s only played like a couple months here, then volleyball. So she’s never even committed to one. She’s got very good hands. She’s got a very nice turnaround jumper. Very fundamental, good footwork, good timing on blocking shots, mobile, all that stuff that I think that makes her successful in volleyball. Quick on her feet. She’ll be a 4 or 5 for us. Smart defensively, in the right position I think because her hands and feet are so good because of all volleyball.
- “And the interesting thing is she’s impactful for basketball and also impactful for volleyball. So I’m curious to see how that’s going to work. Usually if you look at two-sport athletes, they’re usually a lot better in one than the other. But she can be an All-American in volleyball. She can be an All-American in basketball. So I’m curious to see which one kind of dominates because I don’t know, and I don’t think she knows yet. So I want to see how that evolves. And she’s still rehabbing. She’s not cleared yet, but she was invited to USA Basketball, she would have been McDonald’s All-American, (in the) Jordan Brand (Classic) without even ever playing a full year of basketball. So I’m excited about her. ... I’m planning on getting her (from volleyball) at the end of December, early January. She’s gonna be behind, have to catch up, so that’s not easy for a player but I think she can do it.”
Arizona coach Adia Barnes said 5-star post Lauren Ware is “very, very good” but “hasn’t even scratched her potential” because she plays basketball and volleyball.— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) May 1, 2020
Adia thinks Ware can be an All-American in both sports, but said it will be interesting to see how she balances them pic.twitter.com/DPYM0ClKkO
Derin Erdogan, guard
- Height: 5-foot-7
- Hometown: Turkey
- Overview: A 5-foot-8 guard, Erdogan averaged 11.8 points and 5.2 assists per game with Istanbul University this season, while shooting 48 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3, hoisting almost five per game. Erdogan averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 assists for the Turkish National Team in the in 2019 FIBA U19 European Championships, her field goal percentages about the same. She will become the second Turk on the roster, the other being sophomore post Sevval Gül.
- Adia’s analysis: “She’s a fearless guard. She can score, she can play the 1, she can play the 2, she can shoot it. She’s got a strong body, so I think she’ll have a learning curve because it’s just so much more athletic here. But the perfect person to learn under is Shaina (Pellington), possibly Bendu (Yeaney), Sam (Thomas) and Aari (McDonald). So I think she’ll just get better and get more experienced. I think she can be a good player and be successful here because she’s more powerful and stronger than a typical European guard.”
Here’s Arizona coach Adia Barnes on Turkish freshman Derin Erdogan, a “fearless” combo guard pic.twitter.com/oDjvbAtVfY— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) May 1, 2020
Marta Garcia, post
- Hometown: Spain
- Height: 6-foot-3
- Overview: Garcia averaged 7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in 22.4 minutes for Segle XXI Barcelona in Spain’s second-best women’s league. In the 2019 FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship, she averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 15.6 minutes while shooting 46 percent from the field. She has a chance to contribute immediately, possibly as the first big off the bench.
- Adia’s analysis: ”Marta is a really good post player. Good inside, finishes great with her right and left hand. Marta comes from a very elite club and the same one as Helena Pueyo. That’s Segle in Spain. So she gives us a presence inside, someone that can play back to the basket, but she can also shoot the 3. She’s a freshman so she’s going to adjust the style just like Helena did in the beginning. I think she can be a really good player. The risk with international kids is how they adjust to everything. For the Spanish kids, it’s an easier adjustment because in Segle they’re already away from home. They’re living in a dorm, kind of a semi-college life.”