This past season was when Adama Bal was expected to take a big leap with Arizona, but a combination of a drop in production during nonconference play and a shortened bench in Pac-12 play kept that from happening.
He and Santa Clara are hoping that jump will happen next season. Bal has committed to play for the Broncos in 2023-24, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
The 6-foot-7 Bal was Tommy Lloyd’s first prep recruit at Arizona, coming to Tucson from France. He appeared in 23 games as a freshman, his most notable contribution coming in the Pac-12 Tournament final against UCLA when he hit two 3-pointers as Kerr Kriisa was out with an ankle injury and Justin Kier dealt with foul trouble.
Bal scored a career-high 14 points in the 2022-23 opener against Nicholls and nine the following game against Southern. But after averaging 16.7 minutes over the first six games Bal would only appear in 20 of the final 29 games, logging only 5.7 minutes per contest. He was the odd man out after Lloyd went to a 7-man rotation, playing just three minutes in the Pac-12 tourney and not appearing in the first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Princeton.
At Santa Clara, Bal will be playing for former ASU coach Herb Sendek, who is 120-94 in seven seasons with the Broncos. They went 23-10 last season, finishing third in the West Coast Conference, but has since seen leading scorer Brandin Podziemski declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Bal is Arizona’s second transfer out to find a new school, with Kriisa headed to West Virginia. The Wildcats also lost forward Azuolas Tubelis to the NBA Draft and graduated guards Cedric Henderson Jr. and Courtney Ramey.
The UA has yet to add any players from the NCAA transfer portal but that could change soon, as former Creighton point guard Ryan Nembhard is in town on an official visit.