Location: Tucson, Arizona
Conference: Pac 12 - Future Member of the Big 12 in ‘24-’25
Head Coach: Tommy Lloyd
Overall Record: 28-7
Conference Record: 14-6
NCAA Tournament: Yes
Seed: #2 Seed
Lost in: 1st Round to Princeton
‘23-’24 Purdue Game
Indy Classic - Saturday, December 16th, 4:30 PM - Peacock Network
2023 - 2024 Season
Head Coach: Tommy Lloyd
Overall Record: 61-11
Seasons With Arizona: 2
Associate Head Coach: Jack Murphy
Assistant Coach: Steve Robinson
Assistant Coach: Riccardo Fois
Starters Not Returning From ‘22/’23 Season
PG - Kerr Kriisa - Pts: 9.9 - Reb: 2.4 - Ast: 5.1
SG - Courtney Ramey - Pts: 10.5 - Reb: 3.9 - Ast: 3.6
SF- Cedric Henderson - Pts: 8.1 - Reb: 3.5 - Ast: 1.1
PF - Azuolas Tubelis - Pts: 19.8 - Reb: 9.1 - Ast: 2
Starter Returning From ‘22/23 Season
#11 - C - Omar Ballow - Sr - Pts: 14.2 - Reb: 8.6 - Ast: 1.6
Bench Not Returning From ‘22/’23 Season
G - Adama Bal - Pts: 2.5 - Reb: 1 - Ast: 0.5
F - Tautvilas Tubelis - Pts: 0 - Reb: .2 - Ast: 0
G - Ben Ackerley - Pts: 0 - Reb: .3 - Ast: 0
F - Jordan Mains - Pts: 0.8 - Reb: 0.8 - Ast: .1
G - Matthew Lang - Pts: 1.4 - Reb: .5 - Ast: 0
F - Luc Krystkowiak - Pts: 2 - Reb: 0 - Ast: 1
Bench Returning From ‘22/23 Season
#1 - SF/PF - So - Filip Borovicanin - Pts: 1.3 - Reb: .9 - Ast: .375
#3 - SF/PF - Sr - Pelle Larsson - Pts: 9.9 - Reb: 4.3 - Ast: 3.1
#4 - SG - So - Kylan Boswell - Pts: 4.6 - Reb: 1.6 - Ast: 1.6
#13 - F/C - So - Henri Veesaar - Pts: 2.4 - Reb: 1.5 - Ast: .5
#15 - SG - Sr - Grant Weitman - Pts: .3 - Reb: .3 - Ast: 0
#24 - SF/PF - Sr - Luke Champion - No Stats - 2nd Transfer
#33 - PF/C - Jr - Will Menaugh - Pts: 1.3 - Reb: .7 - Ast: 0
#44 - PF/C - So - Dylan Anderson - Pts: 1.4 - Reb: .6 - Ast: 0.1
#2 - PG - Sr - Caleb Love - Pts: 16.7 - Reb: 3.7 - Ast: 2.8 - Previous School: North Carolina
#16 - F - Sr - Keshad Johnson - Pts: 7.7 - Reb: 5 - Ast: .7 - Previous School: San Diego State
#0 - G - So - Jaden Bradley - Pts: 6.4 - Reb: 2.6 - Ast: 3.1 - Previous School: Alabama
*All Recruiting Rankings From 247 Composite
#5 - SG - KJ Lewis - *4(92) - Natl: 85 - Pos: 18 - Duncanville, Texas
#23 - PF - Paulius Murauskas - 4*(90) - Natl: 107 - Pos: 23 - Lithuania
#14 - C - Motiejus Krivas - 4*(90) - Natl: 135 - Pos: 21 - Lithuania
#55 - PG - Conrad Martinez - 3*(86) - Natl: NA - Pos: 43 - Spain
Projected Starting 5
PG - Kylan Boswell
SG - Caleb Love
F - Pelle Larsson
F - Keshad Johnson
C - Oumar Ballo
SG - Jaden Bradley
SG - KJ Lewis
C - Motiejus Krivas
SF/PF- Filip Borvicanin
C - Henri Veesaar
PF - Paulius Murauskas
The 2022-’23 Pac-12 Tournament champs are back, and in the same position as Purdue. They’re trying to recover from a massive NCAA upset. The Boilers lost as a 1 seed in the first round and Arizona lost to a 2 seed in the first round. Unlike the Boilermakers, they’re going to seek their revenge with 4 new starters.
Before I get to the new faces, Arizona’s 7’0”, 260-pound Mali native, Oumar Ballo, is the only returning starter from last season. The big man in the middle averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds , finishing second on the team in scoring and rebounding. He concluded the season 18th in the nation in both effective field goal percentage and 18th in free throw rate. He was First Team All Pac-12, Pac-12 Most Improved Player, Pac-12 All-Defensive Team Honorable Mention, Pac-12 All-Tournament Team, and the Maui Invitational Most Outstanding Player as a junior. Zach Edey vs Ballo is a premier early season big man matchup.
Caleb Love is the transfer portal headliner, and he’s one of the most polarizing players in college basketball. After announcing his departure from North Carolina, he was originally planning on transferring to Michigan but ran into an issue with some of his credits. Instead, he ended up in Tucson. It’s hard to argue with Love’s raw stats. Averaging 17 points a game is impressive. The reason Caleb isn’t in Chapel Hill this season is his brutal inefficiency. He hoisted up 244 threes last season and hit 73. That’s more threes than anyone wants a 30% shooter launching, and many of those threes were straight-up chucks towards the general direction of the rim. He led North Carolina in percentage of shots taken at 28%, and that wasn’t a good thing. No on questions his talent, but Coach Lloyd will need to reign him in, and no one has been able to do that with Love yet.
Their other projected starting transfer is Keshad Johnson. The 6’7”, 225-pound power forward started the National Championship Game for San Diego State in the ‘22-’23 season. He has 113 games and 71 starts under his belt and should give the ‘Cats solid defense and rebounding. He’s more of a glue guy than a scorer, but led the Aztecs in scoring in the National Championship game with 14 (this is part of the reason why UConn blew them out). He’ll form a tough and experienced starting frontcourt with Ballo. It’s going to be tough around the rim when you play Arizona.
Arizona’s other two starters are homegrown. Pelle Larsson, a 6’5”, 215-pound wing from Sweden, was the 6th Man of the Year in 2021. After beginning the season as a starter, he returned to the bench mid-way through the year and reprised his role as a super sub. It’s possible he’s better off the bench, but he’ll begin the season as a starter in 2023. He’s an efficient scorer and was second on the team in assists per game last season. He’s also a capable shooter from deep, hitting 36% last season and averaged 2.5 attempts from deep per game. If he can get his hands on the ball before Caleb Love shoots it, he should dramatically increase his attempts from deep this season.
Last but not least, Kylan Boswell, a 6’2”, 200-pound point guard, rounds out the starting five. Boswell was considered a 5-star recruit and the 25th best overall player in the 2022 recruiting class. He averaged 15 minutes a game as a true freshman off the bench as a shooting guard last season but should transition back to his natural point guard position this season. He’ll be a tough test for Braden Smith because of his size, playmaking, and deadly 3-point shooting (39% as a freshman). He’s also a lockdown defender known for getting into opposing point guards and frustrating them with his length and strength. Braden better tie his shoes extra tight for this matchup.
If not for Caleb Love’s late addition, Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley would have been in the starting lineup this season. He was considered a 4-star point guard and the 27th best overall prospect in the class of 2022. If/When Caleb Love goes full Caleb Love, and starts taking shots from out-of-bounds it’s good to have a player like Bradley enter the game and stabilize things. Standing at 6’3” and weighing 200 pounds, he has the size to play both guard spots and should be a strong contender for 6th Man of the Year in the Pac-12.
KJ Lewis is another player that should find some run. The 4-star, 6’4”, 185-pound freshman wing from Duncanville, Texas is known for his defensive and physical style of play. If someone gets hot on the perimeter, Lewis might be called upon to cool them down.
The front court is a hodgepodge of Euro bigs. They have a considerable amount of size with three reserves who are 7 feet tall or above. It’s challenging to predict how they will perform in college basketball because, apart from Henri Veesaar, most of them are either newcomers to the college game or had limited roles with Arizona last season. Coach Lloyd has a wealth of talent to select from, and I’m confident someone will step-up to secure the reserve center and power forward positions, although I have no idea who that might be at the moment.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Coach Lloyd start the season with a 10- or even an 11-man rotation before narrowing it down for conference play. After replacing four starters, Arizona is a team you’d prefer to face early, before they figure out how to play together. The talent is abundant, but the experience, and particularly the experience of playing together, is limited.