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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New faces: Arizona’s 2023-24 men’s basketball freshman class

KJ+Lewis+twists+for+the+field+goal+early+in+the+second+half+against+Lewis-Clark+State+College+in+McKale+Center+on+Oct.+20.+Arizona+won+convincingly+against+Lewis-Clark+State+110-70.%0A
Mason Kumet
KJ Lewis twists for the field goal early in the second half against Lewis-Clark State College in McKale Center on Oct. 20. Arizona won convincingly against Lewis-Clark State 110-70.

In anticipation of the upcoming 2023-24 season, the Arizona men’s basketball team has added four talented freshmen who are set to make their mark on the court. KJ Lewis, Paulius Murauskas, Conrad Martinez and Motiejus Krivas have all signed with the Wildcats, bringing their unique skills and abilities to the program.

Lewis, ranked No. 81 overall in the 2023 class and considered a top-20 national recruit at his position, brings a sense of familiarity to the team with his ties to the Tucson area. Men’s basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd sees shades of Marcus Smart in Lewis‘ game.

“He’s a great two-way player who really, really impacts the game at both ends,” Lloyd said. 

Despite facing challenges in some games, Lewis consistently demonstrates teamwork, unselfish play and positive body language toward his teammates. His powerful style, athleticism and defensive prowess make him a valuable asset to the team.

Before enrolling at Duncanville High School for his senior year, Lewis displayed his abilities at Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas. There, he had a significant impact, averaging 20.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.0 assists per game. His exceptional performance earned him recognition as a finalist for the Mr. Texas Basketball Player of the Year award

Lewis‘ physicality and prowess in the open court are among his strengths, enabling him to excel as a transition athlete and a formidable defender. While he continues to refine his offensive game in half-court situations, Lewis has the potential to become a potent threat as a pick-and-roll player. With his dedication to improving his guard skills and overall athleticism, Lewis adds depth and potential to the Wildcats’ roster.

Murauskas, a dynamic forward from Lithuania, joins the team with a strong basketball pedigree. Standing at an impressive 6-foot-8, Murauskas showcased his skills at the FIBA U18 European Championship last summer, where he averaged a tournament-high 20.7 points per game

Paulius [Murauskas] has developed in one of the top youth systems in Europe and has had success at all levels,” Lloyd said. “He is a dynamic forward that continues our emphasis on recruiting the best student-athletes we can from around the world.” 

Murauskas‘ ability to score, rebound and distribute the ball makes him a versatile asset on the court. With his potential still untapped, Murauskas is poised to contribute significantly to the team’s success.

Spanish guard Martinez brings a winning mentality to the Wildcats. The 6-foot tall Martinez has proven himself at various levels in Spain, including playing for the Joventut team that secured the Spanish Championship and qualified for the Adidas Next Generation Tournament finals. 

“We are excited to welcome Conrad [Martinez] to the Arizona Basketball family,” Lloyd said. “Plain and simple, Conrad [Martinez] is a winner. He has impacted winning with every team he has been part of.” 

Martinez‘s impressive performance in the seven ANGT games, where he averaged 16.6 points and 5.3 assists per game, demonstrated his ability to lead and impact the game. His scoring ability, defensive skills and 3-point shooting make him an exciting addition to the team’s backcourt.

Adding strength to the Wildcats’ frontcourt is 7-foot-2 Lithuanian center Krivas. Known for his remarkable 7-foot-5 wingspan, Krivas played a significant role in Zalgiris 2‘s championship win in the NKL, the second division of Lithuanian basketball

Motiejus [Krivas] is an outstanding player and person,” Lloyd said. “He is a skilled front-court player with great touch around the basket, strong passing ability and can make an impact at the rim on the defensive end.” 

Krivasshot-blocking ability, rebounding prowess and solid offensive skills make him an impressive force. His desire to join the Wildcats reflects his determination to excel at the college level.

Lloyd expressed his excitement about the incoming freshman class, recognizing their potential to elevate the team’s performance. Lloyd emphasized the impact these players can have and their role in the team’s continued growth and success. The addition of international talents like Murauskas, Martinez and Krivas highlights Arizona’s commitment to recruiting top student-athletes from around the world.

The Wildcat faithful can look forward to witnessing the debut of these talented freshmen on the court. With their diverse skill sets, contributions and commitment to excellence, Lewis, Murauskas, Martinez and Krivas are expected to play crucial roles in shaping the team’s success in the 2023-24 season and beyond. The future looks bright for the Arizona’s men’s basketball program with these additions to the roster.


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