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Tommy Lloyd breaks down Arizona’s latest revamped men’s basketball roster

arizona-wildcats-basketball-tommy-lloyd-roster-lewis-love-keshad-mauruskas-krivas-martinez-bradley Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Since Arizona’s 2022-23 season ended far too soon, Tommy Lloyd has said goodbye to six players who either graduated, transferred or turned pro. He’s also welcomed in seven newcomers, including three transfers and three international prospects.

But that kind of turnover has become the norm in college basketball, and particularly for Lloyd, who heads into his third season coaching the Wildcats not knowing it any different.

“It’s obviously been an eventful offseason, as they all seem to be,” Lloyd said Friday, during his first press conference since the one that immediately followed Arizona’s first-round NCAA Tournament upset to Princeton. “This seems easier than two years ago. Two years ago, everybody was new, including me.”

Arizona has to replace four starters—technically 3.5, since Pelle Larsson started half the season—from a team that disappointed in the NCAA tourney but before that won 28 games and claimed a second consecutive Pac-12 Tournament title. Lloyd’s 61 victories in his first two seasons are the most of any coach to begin their career.

Besides Larsson, the only returning members of the rotation are center Oumar Ballo and point guard Kylan Boswell, both of whom will again play big roles. The hope is sophomores-to-be Dylan Anderson, Filip Borovicanin and Henri Veesaar will all make big leaps after minimal impact a year ago, then after that it’s a lot of unknown. And that led to a lot of uncertainty from the UA fan base, who took to social media early and often to voice their concerns about the lack of public activity on the recruiting and transfer portal fronts.

Not that Lloyd noticed, or so he says.

“I wasn’t aware,” he said. “I just had my head down and was working. I’ve got a trust in myself and in our program and our staff that things are always going to turn out. You just work day to day and kept the faith and and I think we ended up in a great spot.”

The entire 2023-24 team has yet to work out together—“we haven’t had more than five guys, guys that will probably be in the rotation, in the gym at one time,” Lloyd said—and won’t until late July or early August, ahead of Arizona’s overseas exhibition tour to Israel and Abu Dhabi.

“I think we got a lot of pieces and I think they fit well together,” Lloyd said. “I don’t think we got a lot of guys with jagged edges. I think we got guys that complement each other, and I think we have a team that’s going to have the ability to play incredibly hard. As always, we’re gonna strive to play incredibly unselfish and very aggressive. I feel really good when I look at our roster and how certain individuals complement each other.”

Here’s what Lloyd had to say about each newcomer, in order or when they joined the program:

KJ Lewis

A 6-foot-4 guard from El Paso, Lewis signed with Arizona in November. The No. 107 player in the 2023 recruiting class played his senior year of high school in Duncanville, Texas.

“KJ Lewis has been great. I think our fan base has, for whatever reason, there wasn’t a lot of to-do about KJ, but I think there should have been, and I think when we see him play over the course of his career, we’re going to realize what a talent he is.”

Jaden Bradley

A 6-3 guard, Bradley was a 4-star point guard in the 2022 class who picked Alabama over Arizona, among others. He started 22 games for the Crimson Tide last season and scored in double figures 11 times but his playing time decreased late in the year and in the postseason.

“Jaden’s awesome. He is a crazy hard worker. He’s a high character person. We recruited him the first time around really hard and we’re very familiar with them. And fortunately, that worked out this time around, and we’re lucky to have him. We had a great three to four weeks with him here recently. I’m just thankful he chose Arizona and hopefully we can help him get what he wants out of this experience.”

Motiejus Krivas

A 7-2 center from Lithuania, Krivas led the FIBA U18 European Championships in rebounding last summer and this past season for club Zalgiris 2, the same one that Kerr Kriisa played for before joining Arizona.

“He’s a guy with a big body, good hands. I think he’s got an ability to be a creative player, with his passing and ability to read the game. I think he’s got a really bright future.”

Paulius Murauskas

Also from Lithuania, the 6-foot-8 forward was loaned to another team last season and played in his country’s highest division. He’s also trying out for Lithuania’s U20 team for the FIBA European Championships next month in Crete.

“Maurauskus is really aggressive, probably a combo forward. He plays facing the basket out on the perimeter. He’s got good size and strength and he’s very aggressive and he’s very physical. He’s kind of got a knack for scoring and kind of plays with that chip on his shoulder.”

Keshad Johnson

A graduate transfer from San Diego State, the 6-7 wing helped the Aztecs reach the NCAA title game where he scored 14 points in the loss to UConn. The connection between he and Arizona’s staff was so good that Johnson invited them to his graduation party.

“We were kind of going back and forth in his recruitment, and he’d asked us, ‘hey, if we do this, would you guys be able to come to my graduation ceremony up in the Bay Area?’ I said the only way we can do it is if he signed. That’s true. And so he signed and so we headed that way. And it was really cool. I mean, he’s the first person in his family to graduate from college and it was awesome to meet everybody in his family. McKale and Tucson are gonna love them. They’re awesome people, and they come with great energy and positive spirits. He just has a real special ability to to make us better.”

Conrad Martinez

A 6-foot guard from Spain, Martinez is expected to join Arizona after playing for his country in the U18 European Championships.

“I think this fanbase is gonna love him. He’s a winner. He plays with fire. I’m sure he’s gonna have to get over here and figure it out a little bit, but I think it’s gonna be really cool in Tucson to have a native-speaking Spanish player. He plays with some personality and charisma, so I’m excited to see Conrad’s relationship with Tucson.”

Caleb Love

A member of the North Carolina team that reached the NCAA title game in 2022, as well as the Tar Heels squad that missed the tourney a year later, the 6-foot-4 Love is a graduate transfer guard who had previously committed to play next season at Michigan. However, issues with some credits transferring over from UNC ended that relationship, and Arizona was able to make room for him.

“I don’t know how many guys can say that they scored 30 in a (Sweet 16) game, and in a Final Four game 28 points. Obviously, you’ve got to be a good player to do that. So, he’s accomplished, he’s been there, done that. But also he’s been on the other side of where things have gotten tough. And maybe fairly or unfairly he’s been in the crosshairs of criticism in the media. We look forward to integrating him into our program and making him a part of our culture and and helping him have a great experience. That’s all we’re focused on.”