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What Henri Veesaar brings to Arizona men’s basketball

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henri-veesaar-scouting-report-arizona-wildcats-basketball-recruiting-estonia-europe-2022 Photo by Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Arizona men’s basketball officially announced the commitment of Estonian big man Henri Veesaar Wednesday, the UA’s third addition to the 2022 recruiting class.

As of a few weeks ago, not much was publicly known about Veesaar, who plays for European powerhouse Real Madrid in Spain. Unless you’re an international basketball junkie or rabid follower of Arizona recruiting, you’d probably never heard of him yourself.

What’s clear is that the 7-foot, 207-pound 18-year old should significantly improve Arizona’s depth inside following the departure of Christian Koloko to the NBA Draft.

Koloko is fully intent on remaining in the NBA Draft, as Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported.

Veesaar has as much upside as any European prospect in the 2022 class playing college basketball next season, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who is founder of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics site. Givony has extensive experience watching Veesaar in action, so his analysis is as good if not better than anyone’s.

“Veesaar has an intriguing skill set for a modern big man, with a 7-2 wingspan, excellent size, mobility and perimeter shooting ability that could allow him to emerge as a legit NBA prospect as his lanky frame fills out in time,” Givony writes. He’s quick off his feet for lobs or putback dunks, but he shows promising ballhandling, passing ability and shooting range, as well as the ability to protect the rim and clean the defensive glass.

“With Veesaar weighing 207 pounds, and being the same age as most rising high school seniors, his ability to add bulk will play a major role in how quickly he’s able to emerge as a significant contributor at Arizona. But he doesn’t shy away from contact and will change the geometry of games by virtue of his ability to stretch the floor — making 28 3-pointers in the 35 games he played this season.”

Veesaar’s ability to stretch the floor is on display in this highlight video Givony tweeted Wednesday. His massive wingspan gives him an imposing, at times comical advantage in the paint.

In seven games with Real Madrid at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament earlier this year, he averaged 9.1 points per game and made five of 13 attempts from 3-point range.

Veesaar played five games at last summer’s FIBA U18 European Challengers for Estonia, averaging 16.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 2.6 assists. He competed against players mostly a year older than him at the Challengers event.

Veesaar will gain more international experience this summer competing with the Estonian senior team at FIBA qualifiers. It’s not clear if Arizona point guard Kerr Kriisa will also compete on the Estonian team.

Veesaar told Givony he will arrive on campus in August.

Givony’s article on Veesaar’s commitment is worth checking out.