The Arizona Wildcats did not sign any five-star prospects in this recruiting cycle, which some actually view as a welcome change for the program.
The idea is that Arizona will no longer be a pit stop for those elite prospects that have no intention of staying in college for multiple years, that it can now construct a roster that doesn’t have to be rebuilt months later.
Not so fast.
Four-star wing Dalen Terry, the headliner of the 2020 class, is hoping his stay at Arizona is a short (but productive) one.
It might seem unlikely that Terry, the No. 48 recruit in the country, will be a coveted prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft unless he destroys worlds as a freshman (which Arizona fans would obviously be cool with), but as we’ve seen before, that isn’t always what it takes for a player to forgo their college eligibility.
Just in the last few years Arizona has seen guys like Kobi Simmons, Brandon Randolph and Chance Comanche go pro after one or two seasons even though they had no shot of being drafted. They were content with developing (while being paid) in the NBA G League.
The G League has been able to weed out some of those prospects this year by signing them to $500,000 contracts out of high school, but only a select few have been deemed worthy of such an investment.
Others head to college hoping to be there for a good time, not a long time.
“There’s definitely a paradigm shift happening,” The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie told me a couple months ago. “I don’t think a lot of people give a shit about college basketball, to be honest. A lot of people are starting to recognize the racket that is the NCAA. You know, not paying these kids is absurd. It is a disgrace. We’re dealing with a situation now where they’re trying to charge agents $1,500 a year to certify themselves with the NCAA. The whole thing is a blatant money grab by the NCAA and I think it’s gross in regard to freshmen and one-and-dones.”