Already rich with wings after Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins decided to return to school next season, Arizona added some more talent Monday.
Emmanuel Akot, one of the most promising small forwards in the 2018 class, announced on Twitter that he will reclassify to the 2017 class and enroll at Arizona this fall.
A versatile 6-foot-7 wing with the size to defend multiple positions, the vision to create for his teammates and the strength and athleticism to attack the rim and finish through contact, Akot can impact a game in multiple ways. He has the upside to one day blossom into a high-level NBA prospect if he can polish his scoring arsenal and improve the mechanics of his jump shot.
There won’t be any pressure on Akot to take on a leading role next season. The five-star wing will be able to bide his time coming off the bench as part of a wing rotation that also includes Trier, a likely preseason All-American, Alkins, a potential 2018 first-round pick, and Brandon Randolph, another high-scoring incoming freshman.
With Akot reclassifying, Arizona almost certainly is no longer a threat to land Pittsburgh transfer Cam Johnson or prized freshman Brian Bowen. The Wildcats had heavily pursued both when they were unsure whether Alkins would withdraw from the draft.
Now Arizona is set at wing and possesses a nice blend of talented freshmen and experienced veterans at the other spots on the floor. Seniors Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic will likely start at point guard and center, while heralded freshman DeAndre Ayton is likely to take over at power forward.
That nucleus gives Sean Miller his best chance yet to reach a Final Four.
Five times in eight years at Arizona, Miller has taken the Wildcats to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament only to fall short in the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight. Next year there will be pressure on Miller to finally shed the label of best coach never to make the Final Four.
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