#35 Arizona Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Arizona Wildcats
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #5 Pac-12
 Arizona Logo
After missing the NCAA Tournament in 2019 for the first time in six seasons, Arizona was on their way back to the big dance in 2020 before it was cancelled. The Wildcats won 21 games behind their loaded freshman class. However, their freshmen phenoms have now gone to the NBA and Arizona will have to reset the roster this season. The good news is the Wildcats bring in multiple impact transfers along with a top-5 recruiting class to help ease the transition.
2019-20 Record: 21-11, 10-8
Coach: Sean Miller
Coach Record: 285-100 at Arizona, 405-147 overall
Key Departed Players:
Zeke Nnaji, Forward, 16.1 ppg
Nico Mannion, Guard, 14.0 ppg
Josh Green, Guard, 12.0 ppg
Dylan Smith, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Stone Gettings, Forward, 6.6 ppg
Chase Jeter, Forward, 6.5 ppg
Devonaire Doutrive, Guard, 6.3 ppg
Max Hazzard, Guard, 5.3 ppg

Key Returning Players:
Jemarl Baker, Junior, Guard, 5.7 ppg
Ira Lee, Senior, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Christian Koloko, Sophomore, Center, 2.3 ppg
Key New Players:
James Akinjo, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Georgetown
Daniel Batcho, Freshman, Forward
Jordan Brown, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Nevada
Terrell Brown, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Seattle
Tibet Gorener, Freshman, Forward
Kerr Kriisa, Freshman, Guard
Bennedict Mathurin, Freshman, Forward
Dalen Terry, Freshman, Guard
Azuolas Tubelis, Freshman, Forward
Tautvilas Tubelis, Freshman, Forward

Arizona enters the 2020-21 season without their top seven scorers from last year. The leading returning scorer is former Kentucky transfer Jemarl Baker who averaged 5.7 points last season. The only other returning rotation players are big men Ira Lee and Christian Koloko. However, with a program like Arizona even the reserves are talented players and their three returning are no exception. Baker was recruited to Kentucky, Lee has been a rotation player for three years and Koloko is a 7-foot center with massive potential. The key to Arizona’s success this season will hinge on the play of their new arrivals, though. The Wildcats bring in three big-time transfers including former Big East Freshman of the Year James Akinjo. Akinjo averaged 13.4 points, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals as a freshman then only played in seven games as a sophomore before transferring to Arizona. Jordan Brown is a transfer from Nevada who was a former five-star recruit. Brown played just 10.1 minutes per game as a freshman and transferred to Arizona when Eric Musselman left Nevada. Lastly, Terrell Brown is a grad transfer who is a two-time All-WAC member. Last season, Brown averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals. All three transfers should make immediate impacts this season. Arizona also brings in a top-five recruiting class in the nation. Sean Miller went international and has six of his seven freshmen coming from other countries. Of the seven freshmen, five are ranked as four-star recruits. It can be dangerous putting so much stock into newcomers in college basketball, but Arizona has the talent across the roster to make it work. With so many new faces, the Wildcats’ range of outcomes is pretty wide, but a trip to the NCAA Tournament appears likely at the very least.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.4 (40th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.3 (66, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (128, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.4 (19, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (171, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.2 (74, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.2 (97, 5)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (71, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (26, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (64, 3)
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#63 Dalen Terry
#89 Azulas Tubelis
#101 Kerr Kriisa