UA HOOPS

Arizona basketball: Cats' revolving door

Players transferring is a way of life at top programs like Arizona
2013-05-03T00:00:00Z Arizona basketball: Cats' revolving doorBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

With sophomore forward Angelo Chol having decided to transfer, the Arizona Wildcats have three scholarships to offer for next season.

Whether they have any playing time to offer is another story.

Judging by the actions of current and prospective players, the Wildcats may have hit a saturation point after coach Sean Miller recruited five high school All-America frontcourt players between the 2012 and 2013 classes.

After the latest five-star prospect committed early last month, forward Aaron Gordon, both of the Wildcats' post reserves last season departed: freshman Grant Jerrett to professional basketball and Chol to another school.

In addition, the high school coach of Tulane graduate transfer Josh Davis said Arizona was not in the picture because of its loaded frontcourt.

"I think Arizona kind of over-recruited big men, but that happens and guys seem to be getting quicker and quicker to transfer," said Jerry Meyer, a former college player and coach who is a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.com.

"Chol leaving doesn't surprise me because I just didn't see him getting a lot of minutes. Grant Jerrett, from what I've been able to pick up, wanted to transfer but with his NBA potential, it doesn't make sense to sit out another year."

Early departures, of course, are hardly unusual in college basketball today. According to a CBSSports compilation, more than 350 players are transferring from Division I schools this spring and, according to USA Today, more than 440 did before last season - more than one for every school and about 10 percent of all available scholarships.

But at Arizona, the effect appears to be more pronounced while coach Sean Miller has continued to upgrade his talent level since arriving in April 2009.

Eight of the 15 freshmen Miller has brought into Arizona departed before their eligibility expired, and only one of those who left, Derrick Williams, did so with the financial certainty of becoming a first-round NBA draft pick. Even if you count Williams as if he stayed, that's still a 50 percent retention rate.

Four of the 15 transferred - Chol, Daniel Bejarano, MoMo Jones and Sidiki Johnson - and three others left for pro ball without being first-round NBA draft locks. Kyryl Natyazhko left to play at home in Ukraine, Josiah Turner went to Canada, and now Jerrett leaves despite being a fringe 2013 NBA draft pick prospect.

Of the eight departing players under Miller, only Jones and Williams were full-time starters. The rest had uncertain futures at Arizona.

"One of the risks if you go to that level of a school is you have to know that's going to happen," said Clark Francis, longtime editor of the HoopScoop recruiting service. "Grant Jerrett's going pro because he doesn't think he can compete with Aaron Gordon? Maybe if you can't compete at that level, don't go there. Maybe that's a testament to how good Arizona is."

Corey Williams, who now broadcasts Pac-12 games for Fox Sports Net, noticed the trend firsthand two decades ago when he played for the Wildcats. Williams was a full-time starter at small forward as a junior in 1994-95 but sometimes found himself bounced out of the lineup as a senior because of sophomore Michael Dickerson, who went on to become a first-round NBA draft pick.

"At a competitive school like Arizona, you always stockpile talent," Williams said. "When Miles Simon and Michael Dickerson came in behind guys (as freshmen in 1994-95), they stuck it out."

Williams said Chol, however, waited long enough by today's standards before he cut bait. Chol's minutes were reduced from 12.2 as a freshman in 2011-12 to 8.5 as a sophomore, and he did not play in seven games at all.

"Unfortunately, the sophomore year is the make-or-break year," Williams said. "That's the year most college coaches decide (your future). If guys don't develop, you start to see the writing on the wall.

"And with a class program like Sean's, you want to be honest. You only get four years to play college ball … and it's horrible to stockpile them on the bench. Angelo does some good things well, but the minutes maybe weren't going to be there. For this day and age, Angelo probably made a well-rounded decision."

Rim shots

• The Pac-12 has hired Ice Miller LLP to handle an investigation of officiating matters that occurred during the Pac-12 tournament, when the conference said officials coordinator Ed Rush improperly tried to motivate officials into monitoring Arizona's Sean Miller. The investigation is expected to be completed before a meeting of Pac-12 presidents next month. Rush resigned on April 4.

• Former UA forward Solomon Hill has signed with agent Chris Emens of Octagon Sports, according to Draft Express.

On StarNet: Keep up with the Wildcats through the offseason with Arizona Daily Star reporter Bruce Pascoe's blog at azstarnet.com/pascoe

Arizona recruits under Sean Miller

Player / Years at UA / status

Class of 2009

F Derrick Williams / 2 / pro (NBA)

G MoMo Jones / 2 / transfer (Iona)

F Kevin Parrom / 4 / completed eligibility

F Solomon Hill / 4 / completed eligibility

C Kyryl Natyazhko / 3 / pro (Ukraine)

Class of 2010

G Daniel Bejarano / 1 / transfer (Colorado State)

G Jordin Mayes / 3 / active

F Jesse Perry / 2 / completed eligibility

Class of 2011

F Angelo Chol / 2 / transfer (TBA)

G Nick Johnson / 2 / active

F Sidiki Johnson / 1/2 / transfer (Providence)

G Josiah Turner / 1 / pro (Canada)

Class of 2012

C Kaleb Tarczewski / 1 / active

F Brandon Ashley / 1 / active

F Grant Jerrett / 1 / pro (TBA)

F Matt Korcheck / 1 / active

G Mark Lyons / 1 / completed eligibility

G T.J. McConnell / 1 / active

G Gabe York / 1 / active

Retention rate (players remaining or those who completed all eligibility at UA)

All recruits: 57.8 percent (11 of 19)

Freshman recruits: 46.7 percent (7 of 15)

Note: Departures include Derrick Williams, who left to become a lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Arizona's current 2013-14 basketball roster

Post players

Kaleb Tarczewski So 7-0

Brandon Ashley So. 6-8

Matt Korcheck Jr. 6-10

Aaron Gordon Fr. 6-8

Point guards

T.J. McConnell Jr. 6-1

Jordin Mayes Sr. 6-3

Wings

Nick Johnson Jr. 6-3

Gabe York So. 6-2

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Fr. 6-7

Elliott Pitts Fr. 6-5

Walk-ons

G Jacob Hazzard So. 5-11

F Drew Mellon Jr. 6-5

(NOTE: NCAA scholarship maximum is 13, leaving three openings)

Contact Bruce Pascoe at 573-4145 or bpascoe@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @brucepascoe

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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