Arizona beat expectations last year in Tommy Lloyd’s first season as head coach. They won 33 games and were the number two overall seed before getting upset by Houston in the Sweet Sixteen. Three starters, all of whom were drafted, are gone, but the Wildcats retooled and look good once again.
You can take a look at the last team in my rankings here.
Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #14 Arizona Wildcats
Azuolas Tubelis is the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Wildcats. The Lithuania native, whose twin brother Tautvilas Tubelis is also on the team, was an All-PAC-12 selection last season. Point guard Kerr Kriisa is back and healthy. The injury that he suffered late last season really hurt the Wildcats, and he clearly was not at 100% during the NCAA Tournament. Pelle Larsson returns too, and has been looked at as a big potential breakout candidate this season. Oumar Ballo, who was at Gonzaga with Tommy Lloyd, is a huge post presence. With all of the departures, they will all be counted on heavily.
The Wildcats also have a top 30 recruiting class. The class includes three four stars, one of which is just outside the top 30 in point guard Kylan Boswell. There has also been some buzz around Henri Veesaar, a native of Estonia who played for Real Madrid in Spain. He jumped into the top 40 of the recruit rankings on 247 Sports.
Arizona also has two really good-looking transfers out on the wing. The first is Texas transfer Courtney Ramey. He brings needed experience and shooting to the perimeter. He has shot over 36% from three in his college career. The other transfer that they bring is former Campbell guard/forward Cedric Henderson Jr. He averaged 14 points per game last year for the Fighting Camels (Led the team, 13th in the Big South) and will provide a great scoring spark off the bench.
C – Oumar Ballo (6.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.2 SPG, 1.2 BPG)
PF – Azuolas Tubelis (13.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG)
G – Courtney Ramey (9.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG at Texas)
SG – Pelle Larsson (7.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG)
PG – Kerr Kriisa (9.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 4.7 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG)