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What to watch for in Arizona athletics in July

Plenty going on in the summer

arizona-wildcats-athletics-july-2023-calendar-preview-football-basketball-baseball-soccer-pac12 Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

Today is the official start of the 2023-24 athletic year in college sports, which means UCLA and USC have begun their final go-around in the Pac-12 Conference. Several other schools are switching leagues to begin July, but for Arizona it’s still the status quo for now.

That isn’t to say there isn’t activity on the horizon for Wildcats teams. Fall sports are right around the corner, with football, soccer and volleyball all starting up before you know it, while significant events related to other UA sports will be happening in the next few weeks.

To get you prepared for what’s coming up, here’s a look at some of the more notable events on tap for July:

NBA Summer League

Fresh off signing a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, Azuolas Tubelis will be part of his franchise’s entries in two of the NBA’s three Summer League events this month.

Tubelis is on the 76ers’ roster for both the Salt Lake City (July 3-6) and Las Vegas (July 7-17) tourneys, giving him the chance to play in as many as eight games. Along the way he may run into several other former Wildcats who are expected to participate in Summer League games.

Cedric Henderson Jr. is playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, while others expected to be in Summer League competition include Dalen Terry (Chicago Bulls), Justin Kier (San Antonio Spurs), Chance Comanche (Sacramento Kings), Brandon Randolph (Dallas Mavericks) and Keanu Pinder (Phoenix Suns). Christian Koloko (Toronto Raptors) and Bennedict Mathurin (Indiana Pacers) could also see action in Vegas.

2023 MLB Draft

Outfielder Chase Davis could become the latest first-round pick from Arizona when the 2023 MLB Draft is held July 9-11 in Seattle.

Davis, who led the Wildcats with a .362 average and 21 home runs this spring, is ranked by MLBPipeline as the No. 22 overall prospect in the draft while Baseball America has him No. 28 overall. If he goes in the first round it would mark consecutive seasons the UA had a first-round pick, following catcher Daniel Susac going 19th to the Oakland Athletics a year ago.

few other players with UA connections are expected to get drafted, most notably prep signee Blake Wolters. A right-handed pitcher from Illinois, Wolters is No. 41 on the MLBPipeline list and No. 50 in Baseball America’s rankings, and is likely to end up turning pro if he gets the kind of seven-figure bonus that being picked in the top 50 would warrant.

FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup

One of Arizona’s top incoming women’s basketball players will be representing her country in international competition, this month, as freshman Breya Cunningham is on Team USA for the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup. The event is set for July 15-23 in Spain, with the U.S. opening group play against Mali and also facing Chinese Taipei and Germany.

Cunningham is one of three UA women’s players who will be part of international tourneys this summer. Helena Pueyo played in 3x3 tournaments with Spain, while Esmery Martinez won a silver medal with the Dominican Republic at Central American and Caribbean Games.

Pac-12 Football Media Day

After being located in California for the past few decades, the Pac-12 has moved its annual football Media Day event to Las Vegas. It will be held at Resorts World on Jan. 21 and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

Arizona has yet to announce which players it will bring along with coach Jedd Fisch.

The biggest topics of Media Day will no doubt be the conference’s media deal—or lack thereof—and the potential to expand beyond the 10 schools that will remain in 2024. San Diego State and SMU have been mentioned most often as possible additions, but like everything with the TV deal it’s all a guess what will happen.

Before then, though, look for Arizona to remain active on the recruiting front and possibly add a few more commitments to its 2024 class. If that were to include 5-star Tucson edge Elijah Rushing, who is announcing his college choice on July 6, it would be a huge get.

Start of soccer practice

The first fall sport to get underway on the field will be soccer, as practice is set to begin the last few days of July ahead of the Aug. 17 season opener at Iowa State. It will be the third season under coach Becca Moros, who is 13-20-3 with the Wildcats but is coming off a 2022 campaign in which they went 8-7-3 overall and 5-5-1 in Pac-12 play.

Arizona will have an exhibition at Pepperdine on Aug. 10 before the Iowa State opener, with the first home game set for Aug. 24 vs. GCU at Mulcahy Stadium.