Some things have changed with the Arizona men's basketball team since they lost in the Sweet 16 about a month ago, including players entering the NBA draft while some former Wildcats shine in the NBA playoffs.
Cats headed to the NBA
So far, three Wildcats have declared for the NBA draft and that isn’t much of a shocker. Arizona star guard Bennedict Mathurin was the first one to declare for the draft on April 13. He has been a projected lottery pick all season long and was definitely going to the NBA after a dominant year where he won Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest on 45.1% from the field and 37.2% from deep.
Five days later, junior center and 2021-22 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Christian Koloko declared for the NBA draft too.
In Koloko's junior season in Tucson, he raised his points per game by more than 7 points a game while taking his offensive game to the next level. He also improved his foul shooting a ton by going from about 63.5% in his second season to shooting about 73.5% from the free-throw line this past season.
He established himself as one of the most dominant big men in the country and made a strong case to be a first-round selection in the upcoming draft.
Both Mathurin and Koloko were the two most likely Wildcats to enter the NBA draft, but multiple other players were up in the air about their decisions.
Arizona's starting power forward throughout the past two seasons Azuolas Tubelis will indeed return to Arizona for his third season to continue to improve his overall game.
That is huge news for head coach Tommy Lloyd and Wildcat fans because Tubelis was the team's second-leading scorer this past season.
Arizona's most versatile player, Dalen Terry, had a very good second year in Tucson playing in Lloyd's new offense where he filled up the stat sheet in many different ways.
He averaged 8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists while adding 1.2 steals per game. He also shot the ball 50.2% from the field, 36.4% from three-point range and 73.6% on foul shots.
Terry declared for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility. He has until June 1 to withdraw from the draft and return to college.
Former Wildcats in the NBA Playoffs
The first week of the 2022 NBA playoffs has been very exciting and some former Wildcats made an impact.
Since leaving Tucson in 2018, Ayton has established himself as a dominant force in the NBA and he has shown that once again in the playoffs.
He is averaging 20.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game on 69.3% shooting from the field. Since star guard Devin Booker was injured in game two, he has continued to take on a bigger role for the Phoenix Suns.
Green has had an up and down first two seasons in the NBA but has made an impact for the Dallas Mavericks in the postseason.
In games three and four, he has combined for 16 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds while going for 4-9 from deep.
After Denver Nuggets starters Micheal Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray were injured and forced to miss most of the season, Gordon has taken on a bigger role next to MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.
Gordon is averaging 13.5 points, 7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1 block in 30 minutes per game in four games during the Nuggets' first-round matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
2022 projected rotation (If Terry doesn't return)
G: Kerr Kriisa
G: Adama Bal
F: Pelle Larrson
F: Azuolas Tubelis
C: Oumar Ballo
G: Shane Nowell
C: Dylan Anderson
F: Filip Borovicanin
This is the current projected rotation for the 2022-23 Arizona men's basketball team if Terry decides to stay in the NBA draft and not return to college next year.
It is still early in the college basketball offseason so a lot can change for next season. But right now, Arizona has four available scholarships for the 2022-23 season.
A week ago, Lloyd added small forward Filip Borovicanin for the 2022 recruiting class. He is a skilled forward that can score the ball at a high level.
We will now have to wait and see who Lloyd adds to this group, but it is likely that this isn't the full rotation that we will see come November.
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