Unless the Arizona Wildcats can land the transfer that Adia Barnes has in mind, they are likely done adding to their 2021 recruiting class, which currently consists of Aaronette Vonleh, Anna Gret Asi and Madi Conner, who recently joined the team as an early enrollee.
The possibility of seniors like Sam Thomas and Trinity Baptiste returning next season just creates too much uncertainty to add more recruits comfortably.
“Before that, definitely for sure,” Barnes said of adding another 2021 recruit. “Now, there’s one or two scenarios I’m looking at for a really good transfer that I like. But if I didn’t get her, probably not.”
The attention has turned to the 2022 class, which Barnes says will be “very strong.” The Wildcats landed their first 2022 commitment a couple of weeks ago—a top-20 prospect in Florida shooting guard Kailyn Gilbert—and could add four more to that class.
Who could that be? Well, the Wildcats have been listed as finalists for several elite prospects, including:
- 5-star point guard Kiki Rice (No. 6 overall)
- 5-star forward Maya Nnaji (No. 8 overall)
- 5-star point guard Chance Gray (No. 14 overall)
- 4-star forward Grace VanSlooten (No. 16 overall)
- 4-star shooting guard KK Bransford (No. 27 overall)
- 4-star guard Carleigh Wenzel (No. 37 overall)
“We’re losing a lot that year, so we need to fill some big shoes,” Barnes said. “But I mean getting the player we got fills some really big shoes and she’s going to be a really good player. So now it’s hopefully the avalanche starts and we get to get some of her teammates.”
It could take the Wildcats longer than usual to fill out the class because of the ongoing recruiting restrictions. The NCAA has banned in-person recruiting since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, Barnes and her staff would have been able to watch the 2022 prospects live over the summer and this fall and establish relationships with them and host them on visits.
If they want to do that now, they will have to wait until April or May at the earliest.
“I know a couple of the players in ‘22, they are going to wait some time because they want to take visits,” Barnes said. “That’s the unfortunate part of it. But I guess the fortunate part is we have time for relationships and a lot more Zoom calls to get to know people, which is great. Before the visits start I would say maybe we’ll have one or two more [commitments] and then we’ll probably have to [wait for] commitments [until] after visits, I think.
“A lot of those kids we haven’t seen in a while, so it just makes them more challenging. It means you’re doing a really good job when you can get someone from across the country to come that’s never been to the state of Arizona and not really the West Coast a whole lot. So I think that’s impressive, but I think it’s also hard for players because the players are having to make decisions sight unseen, haven’t met the team, and I think those are very hard and we’re talking about 16 year olds.”
Barnes anticipates a lot of transfers around the country in the next couple of years because of it.
“Like way more than now because of the situation,” she said.
.@ArizonaWBB landed a top-20 player in Kailyn Gilbert to kick off their 2022 recruiting class, and Adia Barnes says they could add 4 more to that group.— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) January 7, 2021
(They are finalists for several elite prospects.)
“It’s going to be a very strong class,” she said. pic.twitter.com/Tlt7UhVNnh