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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Transfer Portal Tracker: Who’s leaving and who’s joining Arizona MBB?

Tommy+Lloyd%2C+head+coach+of+the+Arizona+mens+basketball+team%2C+celebrates+with+his+team+after+winning+the+Pac-12+championship+game+against+UCLA+on+Saturday%2C+March+11.
Ryan Wohl

Tommy Lloyd, head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team, celebrates with his team after winning the Pac-12 championship game against UCLA on Saturday, March 11.

Tommy Lloyd, the head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team, will be dealing with plenty of roster turnover for the second straight offseason in Tucson. Between the transfer portal and the 2023 NBA Draft that took place on Thursday, June 22, the Wildcats will look very different next season than they did in 2022-23.

Transfer Portal Losses

Arizona saw starting point guard Kerr Kriisa enter the transfer portal following the conclusion of the 2023 March Madness tournament. Kriisa, whose father was a Chicago Bulls fan in the 1990s, named his son after the then-Bulls player and former Arizona Wildcat, Steve Kerr.

Kriisa was a favorite among Wildcat fans, as is shown by him being allowed to wear the same jersey as the Arizona legend and current Golden State Warriors head coach. Kriisa was even granted special permission to wear his first name, Kerr, to pair with his No. 25.

Now, the confident player who has no qualms with chucking up a contested 3-point shot is taking his talents to West Virginia University. Kriisa chose WVU over the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Xavier University. Sean Miller, the previous head coach for Arizona, currently leads the charge for Xavier.

Adama Bal, a reliable rotational player, also entered the transfer portal.

Bal played in 23 of a possible 37 games for 104 minutes as a freshman in 2021-22. He saw his playing time increase in his sophomore season, as he played in 26 of a possible 35 games last year for 214 minutes. The 6-foot-7 guard showed promise on defense, posting 21 defensive rebounds, seven steals and a blocked shot in his limited time last season.

Bal entered his name into the transfer portal on March 22, the same day as Kriisa. Bal announced that he will continue his collegiate career with Santa Clara University.

Guards Ben Ackerley and Jordan Mains have also entered their names into the portal, but their next stops have yet to be determined. Mains graduated earlier in May, while Ackerley will be a junior in the upcoming season.

NBA Draft losses

The Wildcats’ biggest loss is Azuolas Tubelis, who announced his intentions to go pro on April 13.

The two-time first-team All-Pac-12 player and Wooden Award All-American led the conference in points per game with 19.8 and rebounds per game with 9.1. He was the focal point of the Arizona offense and the rest of the team rallied behind him as a leader on the team. He surpassed 1,000 career points during his junior season in 2022-23, and finished the season with 1,510 career points, placing him 15th all-time in Arizona program history.

After declaring for the draft, he was invited to the NBA Draft combine where he was projected as a late-second-round pick. Tubelis went undrafted, but he signed a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. He will use the summer league to fight for a roster spot. This is the third time in five years that no Wildcats were drafted. Only 2020 (Josh Green, Zeke Nnaji and Nico Mannion) and 2022 (Bennedict Mathurin, Dalen Terry and Christian Koloko) saw Arizona players drafted, but three players were taken in each draft.

Guard Pelle Larsson is returning for his senior season after briefly declaring his intentions to enter the 2023 NBA Draft. He received a G-League camp invite, but was not on any team rosters for the weekend.

Transfer Portal Additions

What once seemed like a perilous roster situation has quickly turned into a team with solid depth. The additional losses of seniors Courtney Ramey and Cedric Henderson Jr. to eligibility vacated three of the five starting spots for the Wildcats. The situation was quickly remedied by the additions of guard Jaden Bradley, forward Keshad Johnson and guard Caleb Love.

Love is the most promising portal addition of the offseason. The former five-star prospect from St. Louis joined the Wildcats on Tuesday, May 30, after spending three seasons at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Love played in all 33 games for the Tar Heels in the 2022-23 season and led the team with 35.8 minutes per game and 16.7 points per game.

Bradley, a former four-star prospect from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, played his freshman season at the University of Alabama. He played in all 37 games for the Crimson Tide and finished the season second on the team in assists per game with 3.1.
Johnson, who hails from San Diego, California, will be entering his fifth season after spending his first four years at San Diego State University. He started all 71 games for the Aztecs over the last two seasons and finished the 2022-23 season third in rebounds per game with 5.0 and fifth on the team in points per game with 7.7.


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