The Arizona Wildcats are going to have an almost completely new team for 2020-21 with seven incoming freshmen and a graduate transfer being added to the roster. All told there will be 10 players who did see the court last season in the mix.
But when one of those newcomers will be officially able to contribute remains uncertain.
Guard James Akinjo, who transferred from Georgetown in January, remains in limbo as far as his eligibility is concerned, coach Sean Miller confirmed Tuesday.
Akinjo appeared in seven games for Georgetown last fall before leaving the program. Under normal circumstances he’d have to sit out a full season, per NCAA transfer rules, meaning he wouldn’t be eligible to play for Arizona until after the fall semester ends. To play at the start of the 2020-21 season would require him receiving a waiver.
“The decision has not been made,” Miller said. “We have no expectations. I think the summer will put James in a place that he deserves to be in. We’re looking forward to him being a big part of our team. Obviously when that starting point will begin, we don’t have control over it. And that decision has not been made. I don’t think we will completely know maybe until the beginning of the new school year in the fall semester.”
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which shut down college sports in mid-March and prompted the NCAA to grant an extra year of eligibility to all spring sports athletes, may improve Akinjo’s chances to play right away. Waivers have already been approved for other players who transferred after the abbreviated 2019-20 season, including former Kentucky guard Johnny Juzang, who is eligible immediately at UCLA.
“We’re in conversations with the NCAA, as I think a lot of college basketball programs are,” Miller said. “It’s a work in progress.”