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Arizona basketball: The Bright Side of Missing Out on Ivan Rabb

It's okay that Rabb spurned us. Arizona didn't have the scholarships to bring in everyone anyway, and now Arizona can put together next year's roster.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

At least it finally happened. With Ivan Rabb's commitment to Cal, Arizona can move forward and finish putting together its team for next year. Prior to Rabb's decision, Arizona fans dreamt of a team with Damion Lee transferring in, Mark Tollefson providing valuable minutes at the 4, Stanley Johnson staying, and Ivan Rabb becoming the next great one-and-done guy at Arizona. A team that stacked would definitely contend for a national title.

Unfortunately, that was never, ever, ever going to happen -- there were not enough scholarships to go around. That said, Arizona's scholarship situation can provide at least some insight into how Sean Miller will fill out the roster.

Division I teams can have up to 13 scholarship players (unless, of course, that team gets hit with sanctions). Arizona had 13 scholarship players to start the season, but Craig Victor transferred, T.J. McConnell and Matt Korcheck are graduating, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley are leaving early for the NBA. That gives Arizona five available scholarships.

Meanwhile, Arizona currently has four players in its incoming class -- Allonzo Trier, Ray Smith, Justin Simon, and Chance Comanche. So with those four scholarships taken, Arizona has one spot left for a potential graduate transfer or other recruit. Another spot opens up if Stanley Johnson leaves.

Even from the start, then, Arizona couldn't even bring in Rabb and Lee while keeping Stanley and the rest of the team intact. The scholarship math wouldn't work.

With Rabb now off the table, Arizona's scholarship situation makes a little more sense. Arizona can now get two of Stanley, Lee, and Tollefsen. With Stanley apparently talking to Lee about teaming up next year, there are now enough scholarships to make that happen.

It's not that Arizona is better off with Rabb choosing Cal. Arizona would unquestionably be a better team with Rabb, and if Arizona needs help somewhere, it's at the 4, where there's Ryan Anderson and not much else. But it's not the end of the world. In fact, Arizona's situation is now much more simple: pursue Lee no matter what, and if Stanley leaves, go after Tollefsen.

That's the bright side: with Rabb choosing Cal, Arizona now has a clear path to put together its roster for next year.