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Arizona center Christian Koloko declares for 2022 NBA Draft

arizona-wildcats-christian-koloko-nba-draft-2022-pac12-defense-blocks-most-improved Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Koloko’s breakout junior year was a huge reason Arizona dominated the Pac-12 and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in five years. It also massively raised Koloko’s draft stock, something he’s now looking to cash in on.

Koloko announced Monday he was declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft, the second Arizona player to do so following wing Bennedict Mathurin.

The 7-foot-1 Koloko averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game for the Wildcats, tying the single-season school blocks record with 102. He was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player after averaging 5.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 2020-21.

Koloko also posted career bests in field goal percentage (63.5) and free throw percentage (73.5), and in the NCAA Tournament averaged 18.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.

The longest-tenured player on UA’s 2021-22 roster, Koloko was the fourth member of the 2019 recruiting class that included future NBA players Josh Green, Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji. He averaged 8.3 minutes per game as a freshman, more than tripling that in his third season.

There is no strong consensus on where Koloko will get drafted. NBADraftRoom ranks Koloko as the No. 5 center in the 2022 draft class, while NBADraft.net has him going undrafted after previously putting him in the second round.

“I’m sure he’ll get drafted,” UA coach Tommy Lloyd said last week. “He had a great year, he’s a great young man.”

Koloko’s departure slides Oumar Ballo into the starting lineup for 2022-23, pending any further roster additions. Arizona’s lone signee is 7-footer Dylan Anderson.