The international pool felt so good to the Arizona Wildcats during the 2020 recruiting class, why not dip another toe in it for 2021?
Arizona is one of several notable programs hoping to find a way to land French forward Armel Traore, who is weighing his options between playing college basketball in the United States or starting his professional career in Europe.
“I think it is a good option for me because I think that I have the capacity to show my potential,” Traore said to Rivals.com’s Corey Evans about playing in America. “I don’t know if I want to go to college or pro in France but it is an option for me and it is important that the colleges know that.”
The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Traore currently holds scholarship offers from Arizona, Memphis, St. Mary’s, Utah, Washington and Washington State. At 17 years old, he would be part of the 2021 recruiting class if he chose to play in college.
Traore is set to play this fall for France’s INSEP—it translates as National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance—where previous Frenchmen Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum and Rudy Gobert cut their teeth before going pro. He’s already got international experience, having been a part of France’s U-16 team at the FIBA European Championships, leading the team in scoring (12.9 points per game) along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Arizona, which currently has one 2021 commit in 4-star California combo guard K.J. Simpson, dove deep into the international market to fill out its 2020 class. Six of the Wildcats’ seven prep signees came from outside of the U.S., including French center Daniel Batcho.