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Madi Conner joins Arizona Wildcats as early enrollee and could be the shooter they need

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Photo by Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics

Midseason acquisitions are rare in college sports, but the Arizona women’s basketball team made one Friday by adding Madi Conner as an early enrollee.

The four-star shooting guard is immediately eligible for the Wildcats. She is listed at 5-foot-11 and will wear No. 4.

Conner was originally going to join the team next fall as a member of the 2021 recruiting class but opted to begin her college career a semester early, likely because her high school season was going to be complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Enrolling early at Arizona does not cost Conner any eligibility either since all Division I basketball players were given a free year due to the pandemic.

The Arizona native just graduated from Compass Prep in Chandler. Before that she attended Gilbert’s Perry High School, where she was one of the best shooters in the country. As a junior in 2019-20, she took 215 3s and made 40 percent of them. ESPN ranks her as the No. 71 player in the 2021 class.

“I couldn’t be more excited to officially be a part of the program,” Conner said in a statement. “Not only do I get to be a part of a family-oriented program, but I am also going to be competing with and against some of the best players in the country.”

Conner has to go through COVID-19 protocol before she can begin team activities with the Wildcats, but her shooting could allow her to make an immediate impact assuming she can adjust to the Pac-12 level quick enough.

Arizona is eighth in the conference in 3-point shooting, making just 28 percent of its triples.

“It’s very rare to have an extremely talented player in the state of Arizona,” head coach Adia Barnes said of Conner on signing day. “We have a couple every probably 10 years and they never seem to stay in Arizona. ... And Madison was someone who I was her first offer. When I first got to Arizona five years ago, I knew I wanted her. She’s a great shooter. She’s got a very high basketball IQ. She’s got a very fast release. And I think what I loved more than all of that stuff is she’s feisty. She’s a competitor. She’s not afraid. Most of the time shooters aren’t like that. Most times shooters want to shoot, but they don’t want to get down and play defense.”

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