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Wildcats notebook: Arizona hoops picks up a big-time commit in Henri Veesaar

Mike Luke Avatar
May 22, 2022

There are multiple commitments, transfer options and recruits either penciled in or actively pursued that figure to have big impacts on the 2022-23 Arizona basketball squad.

Here are the names to know.

Arizona commitments

Henri Veesaar Real Madrid (Spain)

The Friday morning announcement that Estonian big man Henri Veesaar will sign with Arizona and is immediately eligible surprised few in Tucson, as he has been a target for the coaching staff since emerging last summer at the FIBA U18 European Challengers tournament.

Power forward Azuolas Tubelis figures to be the anchor of the Wildcats frontcourt, but Veesaar is more physically gifted and a player capable of doing damage from the high or low post while contributing as a dynamic finisher on the break.

With NBA scouts fully aware of Veesaar, he could be a season-long rental before declaring for the draft, but he’s not a player to turn down.

Incoming-freshman center, Dylan Anderson

Anderson started out his high school career as a consensus top-10 prospect, but by the end of his senior season, he plummeted to top-100 status.

Blessed with long arms, natural agility and fluid basketball skills, there is little doubt Anderson possesses the talent to be a contributor at Arizona, but too much of the last three seasons has witnessed his unnatural transition to a perimeter-inspired player.

The hope, for many, is that receiving daily tutelage from the Lloyd coaching staff will allow Anderson to reclaim much of the vision that many had for him earlier in his high school career.

Sophomore wing, Adama Bal

Unlike the other names, the 6-foot-5 Bal isn’t an anticipated newcomer to the Arizona squad, but it can be argued that Bal is the biggest wildcard going into next year’s season.

For a variety of reasons, it was difficult for Bal to receive minutes last season. But as the year progressed, Lloyd slowly turned to the freshman for spot minutes, and Bal rarely disappointed, showcasing a confident outside shot combined with pull-up possibilities.

It would be a major surprise if Bal doesn’t carve out a spot in the playing rotation, but the possibility of becoming a starter remains. If this were to happen, it could be a major boon for the Wildcats, as there are clearly capable performers in front of Bal, but few, if any, equipped with his potential upside.

Arizona transfer possibilities

Courtney Ramey, combo guard, University of Texas

Last season, Ramey averaged 10 points and 1.9 assists per game on 38 percent shooting for the Longhorns.

It can be argued that Ramey’s junior season averages of 12 points and 3.9 assists per game due to previous-Texas coach Shaka Smart’s more up-tempo system is more indicative of Ramey’s offensive potential in a Tommy Lloyd offense, as opposed to the favored, slower approach of last year’s Chris Beard-style.

But it’s on the defensive end where Ramey’s impact could help Arizona most.

Due to his quickness and anticipation skills, Ramey was viewed as one of the better defensive players in the Big 12 conference last season. Returning guards Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larsson are certainly capable performers, but neither possesses dynamic defensive quickness.

Whether in a starting or reserve role, a player with Ramey’s athletic gifts would be a welcome addition to the Arizona backcourt.

Efe Abogidi, center, Washington State

The big man averaged 8.1 and 5.8 rebounds per game last season, but similar to Ramey, it’s his defensive prowess that is especially intriguing for next season’s Arizona roster.

The current Arizona frontcourt of Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo is long on scoring, rebounding and girth, but severely lacking in athleticism.

The 6-foot-10 Abogidi’s 1.8 blocks per game and active defense would fit in nicely and could earn him a starting spot.

Equipped with three seasons of remaining eligibility, Abogidi could be a stalwart of the Arizona defense for years to come.

Follow Mike Luke on twitter @ironmikeluke

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