The Arizona Wildcats reportedly have a new head coach, and he may be inheriting a program that’s about to lose one of its most promising young players.
Freshman guard Kerr Kriisa is planning to enter the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
“I’m hoping to hear what my options are, but I’m still open to returning to Arizona depending on how things shake out,” Kriisa told Givony.
Kriisa averaged 5.5 points and 2.4 assists in eight games (five starts) for Arizona in 2020-21, with all 14 of his field goals coming from 3-point range. His collegiate debut delayed due to an eligibility issue stemming from his receipt of a stipend while playing for a club team in Europe, and the 6-foot-3 Estonian native also missed a game after his return due to a groin injury.
One of six international players Arizona signed in the 2020 recruiting class, Kriisa—who is named after UA legend Steve Kerr—is now the second from that lot to enter the portal. Forward Daniel Batcho, who did not play this past season after undergoing knee surgery in late October, put his name into the portal on Monday.
Three other Wildcats who entered the transfer portal have since found new schools, with seniors Terrell Brown Jr. and Ira Lee ending up at Washington and George Washington, respectively, while redshirt junior guard Jemarl Baker Jr. committed to Fresno State on Monday.
Additionally, incoming freshman guard KJ Simpson has reportedly asked for his release, while redshirt sophomore guard James Akinjo is testing the NBA Draft waters but is still in town.
Lloyd, who developed a reputation as a stellar international recruiter while at Gonzaga, figures to have a good shot at convincing Kriisa to return. The two have an existing connection since one of the players Lloyd recently brought to Gonzaga, Lithuanian guard Martynas Arlauskas, was a club teammate of Kriisa.