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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona men’s basketball early transfers have seen mixed success

Sydney Richardson
Arizona freshman guard Justin Simon (3) eyes the court during Arizona’s 94-62 win against Stanford on Saturday, March 5 in McKale Center. Simon has decided to transfer from Arizona, hoping to get more playing time.

The news about Arizona guard Justin Simon transferring wasn’t necessarily shocking to folks in Tucson, considering the program has a history of transfers. Rather than honoring the process and maturing over a span of four years, players decide to take the easy route to another program. There’s nothing wrong with a desire to change, because it also works out for the better sometimes. The Wildcats have had a history of transfers so here’s the notable transfers in recent years.

Will Bynum 2001-2003:

Bynum played two seasons for Arizona under Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olson and averaged 13.5 points and three assists per 40 minutes in his first season. Bynum competed for minutes with Salim Stoudamire and Jason Gardner who went down as two of Arizona’s greats, so the hungriness to play kicked in and Bynum didn’t receive the minutes.

In his second season at the helm, Bynum only appeared in eight games and left the program halfway through the 2003 season in January to go play for Georgia Tech. In 2004, Bynum nearly cut down the nets with the Yellow Jackets falling to Emeka Okafor and Connecticut in the national championship. Bynum finished the season averaging 9.6 points per game.

Bynum eventually evolved into a journeyman in the NBA playing eight seasons for three different teams.

Sidiki Johnson 2011-2012:

Rated as the No. 18 power forward in the nation according to ESPN in 2011, Johnson was one of four recruits signed to the infamous recruiting class to elevate the program to another level following the Elite Eight run the season prior.

Johnson was a 6-foot-8 forward from New York expected to take the reins as a bruiser in the post once Derrick Williams decided to become the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

In his lone season with the Wildcats, Johnson averaged 0.3 points per game and only played in three games. Johnson decided to take his talents elsewhere and play for Providence. Johnson only played one season for the Friars and jetted to Wabash Valley College in Illinois before going overseas and since then, Johnson’s whereabouts are unknown.

Josiah Turner 2011-2012:

This is where Arizona fans should hold their breaths until the plethora of five-star recruits hit the floor this season. Turner was the No. 3 point guard according to ESPN and was expected to be the first natural point guard for head coach Sean Miller. Being from a rough area in Sacramento, California, the life from back home never left him as Turner was involved with alcohol and marijuana antics off the court.

Turner wasn’t even a transfer, because Miller asked him to leave the program and following his dismissal from the team, the troubled guard was arrested for DUI with blood alcohol levels of 0.15 and 0.16, which is twice the legal limit.

Turner flirted with Larry Brown and Southern Methodist University, but ended up overseas instead.

Angelo Chol 2011-2013:

The San Diego native was the final piece of the puzzle to arguably Miller’s most disappointing recruiting class. Chol committed to the Wildcats to provide rim protection and become a physical shot blocker. In his first season, Chol racked up a career-high 29 blocks. Chol averaged 2.4 points per game in his career with Arizona before transferring to San Diego State.

Chol picked up right where he left off at Arizona providing the Aztecs 4.2 points and 0.5 blocks per game. In the grand scheme of Chol’s career, his productivity was minimum considering he was once upon a time a four-star recruit.

Craig Victor 2014-2015:

Arizona already contained a deep frontcourt rotation with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Dusan Ristic, so Victor being a natural power forward meant he had to fight for playing time.

He played spotty minutes with just over seven per contest and thought his worth was being undervalued by Miller, so Victor pulled the Bynum card after eight games of play and had a homecoming in New Orleans playing for Louisiana State.

Since transferring to the Bayou Bengals, Victor has averaged 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Of course it’s tough to judge Victor’s efforts when the potential No. 1 pick of the upcoming draft in Ben Simmons is sharing the ball with him.

Only one season is in the books for Victor, but his future playing right in his backyard looks much brighter than the Tucson sun.

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