Players of the 2021-22 Arizona men's basketball team spoke to the media for the first time since the start of the pre-season camp on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
Arizona basketball is returning from a season without fans, and they have a lot of new faces, with only two returning players in the backcourt.
Arizona is going into a new stage with head coach Tommy Lloyd, and he is looking for the team to play fast and get out and that starts with the guards pushing the ball.
“How I like to play is very up-tempo," Lloyd said. "I give them a ton of freedom, but on the same token, too much is much expected."
With the season right around the corner, here’s a breakdown of the Wildcats' guards.
Freshman | Adama Bal | 6-foot-6
Adama Bal was a starter for the Federal Basketball Center academy team in Paris during the 2020-21 season and averaged 9.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Bal turns 18 in December, meaning he is likely one of the youngest players in college basketball right now.
When asked about what brought him to Arizona, Bal said, “Coach Lloyd is a really good coach, he helps us a lot to improve, the main thing that I love here is the player development.”
Sophomore | Kerr Kriisa | 6-foot-3
Kerr Kriisa is a very talented guard and an elite shooter. He did not become eligible to play for Arizona until Feb. 4 and appeared in eight games, making five starts. In 23.1 minutes per game, he averaged 5.5 points and 2.4 assists per game and shot the ball 36.8% from the 3-point line.
“Fast running pace is good because you get a lot of shots, you get more shots than when you play a slow pace. We are gonna get more shots up, that means also we got to take defense more seriously,” Kerr said.
Sophomore | Dalen Terry | 6-foot-7
Dalen Terry will be a big piece for this team coming off a season where he appeared in all 26 games, making 14 starts. He averaged 4.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 32.6% from the 3-point line. This offseason he was invited to try out for the USA Basketball U19 team but he didn't make the final roster.
Freshman | Shane Nowell | 6-foot-6
Shane Nowell played in his high school basketball team at Eastside Catholic in Seattle. He led them in assists while averaging 12.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 48% from the floor.
“With me, I’m really well-rounded, I feel like I can fit into any system,” Nowell said.
Transfer/6th | Justin Kier | 6-foot-4
Justin Kier will be a seasoned veteran and leader on this team. He transferred to Arizona from the University of Georgia but played his first four years at George Mason University. In his 133 career games, Kier has averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and he is a career 34.9% from the three.
When asked about why he came to Arizona Kier said, “Winning, winning! I want to go to the NCAA tournament, it’s something I have never done. I want to compete for a conference championship, something I’ve never done.”
Sophomore | Pelle Larrson | 6-foot-5
Pelle Larsson is coming off an offseason where he was one of 17 players invited to participate in the Swedish National Team’s training camp leading up to the International Basketball Federation World Cup European Pre-Qualifiers in Portugal. He transferred to Arizona after playing last season at the University of Utah where he appeared in 25 games, making 18 starts and averaging 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He also ranked second in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage at 88.3% and third in three-point field goal percentage at 46.3%.
When asked about his role on this team, Pelle said, “I’m going to probably be doing a little of everything because we only have Kerr right now as the true point guard or whatever. But coming in doing everything, playing hard on defense.”
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