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With the departure of starters Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko to the NBA Draft, there are multiple open spots on the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball roster. Coach Tommy Lloyd and his staff have already started to fill those openings.
At most programs a coaching staff will scour the transfer portal to see who is available and who might be interested, but this staff is combing all corners of the world for players who can help the team. The first domino to fall was the commitment on Tuesday morning of Serbian guard Filip Borovicanin. Borovicanin is the second member of Lloyd’s 2022 recruiting class, joining power forward and two-time Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year Dylan Anderson.
Due to the club team that Borovicanin plays for, KK Beko in Belgrade, Serbia, he isn’t as well known as some other foreign prospects, but this is a player that Lloyd and assistant Jack Murphy focused on quickly.
At 6-feet-8 with legitimate guard skills, Borovicanin is a high upside prospect who figures to offer immediate depth with the promise of starting potential down the road.
Sporting interest from Xavier, Texas Tech and the G league, Borovicanin probably would have had a lot of options had he waited until the summer. But there is a reason for Lloyd’s reputation as an overseas recruiting guru.
Arizona fans became accustomed to a revolving door of elite domestic one-year players during the Sean Miller era, but you can expect a different approach from Lloyd, who has said repeatedly that he values talent, roster fit and continuity. He will dive into the one-year player pool if the right fit emerges, but fans can expect to see a lot more upperclassmen manning the Arizona roster in the future.
This won’t be the last time you will see the Arizona coaching staff dive into the foreign recruiting waters. In fact, don’t be surprised if by this time next month, Arizona has secured a commitment from an even higher ranking European prospect with NBA potential.
This does not mean that Lloyd will ignore the American scene for talent. Commitments from elite 2023 guards Kylan Boswell and KJ Lewis underscore that point, but Lloyd specialized in foreign recruiting for nearly two decades at Gonzaga and you can expect him to use all those connections to fill out the Arizona roster.
There are also transfer portal candidates to keep an eye on such as Kansas State sophomore point guard Nijel Pack. In Arizona’s Sweet 16 loss to Houston, it was clear that the Wildcats guards struggled defending quick and explosive perimeter players.
Dynamic on both sides of the court, Pack would be an ideal fit in an Arizona backcourt where he could help create for guards Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larrson, while also being able to defend the quicker guards whom Arizona faces.
Over the next few weeks you can expect more transfer portal candidates’ names to appear but this is a new era for Arizona basketball so expect a different recruiting approach from a man who specializes in foreign recruiting.