The No. 2 player in the 2022 class will be playing for a public university in the Pac-12. It just won’t be Arizona. On Thursday, five-star point guard Kiki Rice announced that she would be attending UCLA next season.
Just five short years ago, the idea that the No. 2 prospect in women’s college basketball would even consider the Arizona Wildcats seemed ludicrous. Rice did consider Arizona, but like so many of the elite guards that have put the Wildcats on their list of finalists, she opted to go elsewhere.
In the past, most of those players have chosen to go to programs that have won recent championships. Rice did not take that path, but Arizona was not able to bring her into the fold.
As the daughter of two Yale graduates and a mother who earned her MBA at Stanford, it seemed like the best fit for Rice would be an academically prestigious institution. She had three of those on her list of five finalists. Stanford and Duke held down the fort for private schools while UCLA was the highest-ranked public university she was considering. Basketball powerhouse Connecticut rounded things out.
Arizona will still sign an impressive class headlined by Maya Nnaji, the No. 9 overall player in the class. Nnaji will be the highest-ranked recruit to ever sign with the Wildcats. She will be joined by two guards, No. 31 prospect Kailyn Gilbert and No. 85 Lemyah Hylton.