Two of the Arizona basketball’s most productive players, Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon, recently declared for the NBA draft. While many would think that this balances out as a net loss, it may instead make way for a plethora of fresh talent. The following listed are the five stellar Wildcat recruits coming to Tucson next season.
Stanley Johnson: While Johnson views himself as more of a shooting guard, he is currently the country’s top rated prep Small Forward. Johnson will come in directly to the Cats starting lineup, and will fill voids left by both Johnson and Gordon. At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Johnson plays a “bully” style of basketball that encompasses tough defense and a consistent offensive repertoire. He can shoot, drive, and most definitely put a cherry on top with an emphatic jam. He is the perfect fit for Sean Miller’s game strategy and will be relied upon in “do or die” situations throughout the 2014-2015 season.
Craig Victor: The 6-foot-7 forward will add depth to Arizona’s rotation, and ease the exit of Aaron Gordon. Victor is somewhat of a stretch-four. He possesses an abundance of low post moves and a smooth shot that reaches out to 17 feet. He also rebounds well on both ends and can run the floor. Expect Victor to be a wildcat for at least a couple years, as he has room for improvement on both ends of the court. Victor will challenge Gabe York for being the Wildcat’s “go-to-guy” off the bench.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright: Cartwright is prepared to defy all odds. The 5-8 point guard is a major game changer. Despite his small stature, Cartwright can score in a multitude of ways, including dunking. Think of Nate Robinson or Isaiah Thomas with a more economical and prototypical point guard game. Cartwright will be as skilled as any guard in college basketball next year and serve as the perfect backup to T.J. McConnell. Players like Cartwright with physical disadvantages always have to try harder to keep up with the competition, and in turn see more growth and results as a player. The sky is the limit for Cartwright, and he is due to dazzle every time he gets on the court.
Kadeem Allen: Allen may be the biggest sleeper in this recruiting class. As the 2014 Junior College National POY, he is very experienced at succeeding against players beyond the high school level. Allen brings the overall offensive and shooting ability that Arizona urgently needs. Nick Johnson proved to be the Wildcats only “go-to-guy” when it came to hitting shots in the clutch; Allen may turn into someone that provides surges of scoring when Arizona is in need. He could even make his case for a starting spot if he proves that his JUCO game translates to the Pac-12. Allen averaged 26 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 6 apg this past season for Hutchinson Community College.
Dusan Ristic: Ristic has good size and build to be a successful college center. This Euro League baller shows off a silky jumper that will eventually reach out to the arc and the ability to finish down low. I dont see Ristic challenging Tarczewski for his starting spot, but will give the Wildcats yet another solid big coming off the bench.
2014-2015 projected rotation:
PG: T.J. McConnell SG: Stanley Johnson SF: Rondae-Hollis Jefferson PF: Brandon Ashley C: Kaleb Tarczewski
Bench: Gabe York, Elliot Pitts, Craig Victor, Parker Cartwright, Kadeem Allen, Dusan Ristic
The 2014-2015 Wildcats will have much more depth than this past season, and in turn will be able to withstand tough match-ups come next March.