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Arizona Wildcats mailbag: On basketball’s report date, recruiting hotspots, Adia Barnes’ contract, and more

U18 FC Bayern Munich v U18 Zalgiris Kaunas - EB Adidas Next Generation Tournament Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

It’s Tuesday, which is a perfect time for another Arizona Wildcats mailbag! Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. If you want to participate in the future, follow me on Twitter at @RKelapire and our site at @AZDesertSwarm.

Let’s get into it!

@JCF628: Any timeline for basketball on-court practice or report date for Euro commits?

Arizona paused its re-entry plan indefinitely in late June, putting the return of every sport except football on hold.

Originally, the men’s and women’s basketball teams were supposed to begin voluntary workouts on July 27, but that won’t be happening now because that date included one week of quarantine (meaning the players would have actually returned to Tucson today, July 20).

At this point, the UA basketball teams may not report until the fall semester begins on Aug. 24, especially since both programs have several international players who have to navigate around a travel ban.

Arizona isn’t alone in this, by the way. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman polled 85 of 87 major-conference coaches and 26 said their teams will not report until Aug. 1 at the earliest.

@lucidnpc: Is the influx of international basketball recruits a new normal? Or just temporary due to the program’s current circumstances? Also how much of this new class you see sticking around 3+ years?

I think it’s a new normal in the sense that recruiting elite high school kids isn’t as appealing as it used to be since it creates perpetual roster turnover and some of them are now getting plucked by the G League, a trend that will likely become more and more prevalent once that trail is blazed.

I also think Arizona’s recruiting efforts in 2020 were weakened by the looming NCAA sanctions and, in turn, it looked to international players to fill the void. So, no, I don’t expect the Wildcats to have six international commits again like they did this year. Maybe one or two.

As far as how long the 2020 class will stay at Arizona...probably not as long as you’d like to think. I thought it was fitting that I got this question on the same day Filip Petrusev signed in Serbia after two seasons at Gonzaga.

It’s important to remember that these international recruits have the same goal as American recruits—to one day get paid to play the game at the highest level possible. College basketball is just a stepping stone for that.

@MDEZ1705: When do you expect a decision will be made by Men’s BB with being over 1 the scholarship limit, with either a player leaving (BWill) or someone going walk on status?

The renewal date for scholarships is July 1, but I’m not totally sure when the deadline is for schools to get under the scholarship limit. (My research was fruitless.) This year is unique too. The NBA Draft was pushed back to October and the withdrawal date for underclassmen is now Aug. 17. So a lot of schools, like ASU which is waiting for Remy Martin to make his NBA decision, are in limbo right now.

Also: earlier in the summer Sean Miller talked about the importance of getting Brandon Williams on campus so UA’s doctors can evaluate his knee, but that hasn’t happened yet because of Covid. That will be a big step in determining his future with the program. If they are not comfortable with where he is medically, he will not play.

@storme_weather: What’s up with Louisiana starting to be a recruiting ground for UA (football)? Seems random.

It actually has been a UA recruiting ground for a while. Guys like Shun Brown, Jarrius Wallace, Antonio Parks, Kendal Franklin, Jonathan McKnight and Orlando Bradford all hail from Louisiana.

Former UA associate head coach Calvin Magee was from Louisiana, as is current wide receivers/tight ends coach Theron Aych. It’s also a state Kevin Sumlin used to recruit pretty heavily at Texas A&M and Houston. Connections matter.

@jrworld: What is (Dave) Heeke doing to keep (Adia) Barnes? It’s only a matter of time before she ends up on every hire short list. The Duke job wasn’t good enough.

Barnes received a 70 percent raise—from $235,000 to $400,000—after winning the WNIT in 2018-19. She also has a retention bonus that will add roughly $25,000 to her salary each year until her contract expires in 2023-24.

That is still low compared to most power-conference coaches, but another salary increase probably isn’t realistic for Arizona at the moment. In fact, Barnes already agreed to a 20 percent pay cut to help the university cope with the financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis, which will get much, much worse if the 2020 college football and basketball seasons are greatly affected (and it looks like they will be).

One thing to note is that Barnes likely isn’t revered around the country the way she is at Arizona. It’s important to remember that she has not coached in the NCAA Tournament yet, meaning she still has a lot to prove before she will be considered an elite coach in national circles.

@Gabe_Encinas: How close are we from Tony Amato being mentioned for job openings across the county?

Women’s college soccer isn’t covered enough to the point that we hear about coaches interviewing for other jobs—or even if they are possible candidates—but I’m sure Amato’s success at Arizona has caught the eye of other schools across the country. That’s what happens when you turn one of the worst programs in the west into one of the best.

And while Arizona soccer is lacking when it comes to facilities, it is a very appealing job because it’s in the Pac-12 and close to a hotbed of Southern Californian talent. (The school isn’t too shabby either!)

Still, every time the soccer season ends I always wonder if Amato has coached his last game at Arizona. So it goes when you cannot pay coaches what other major-conference schools can. For instance, Oklahoma’s coach was making $194,000 before stepping down this offseason and LSU’s new coach makes $160K. Amato’s salary in fiscal year 2019 was roughly $129K.

@drpaulrocco: I’m a big fan of the Kevin and Mike show (on WildcatsRadio 1290), especially on my drive home from work. Will they possibly appear someplace anytime soon?

Mike Luke posted on Facebook the other day that he will be hosting the show with a bunch of different co-hosts over the next few days/weeks until a new permanent co-host is hired. That’s all I know about the situation.