'Cats Welcome Top 5 Recruiting Class
TUCSON, Ariz. - With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting sports across the globe and bringing sports essentially to a halt in the Spring, one thing it did not completely stop was the tireless work on the recruiting trail by head coach Sean Miller along with assistant coaches Jack Murphy, Jason Terry and Danny Peters. The staff assembled a recruiting class that ranks in the Top 5 nationally and is once again the rated as the best among Pac-12 programs.
In the 12 recruiting classes that Miller has signed since arriving his Tucson, he has signed six classes that have ranked in the Top 5 nationally and nine have been in the Top 10 nationally. And just as Miller and the Wildcats have become a fixture at or near the top of the Pac-12 on the court during his tenure, his recruiting efforts have also backed that up, signing the top recruiting class in the conference on seven occasions, including the 2020 class.
Part of the recruiting class, but not taken into account as it relates to those ranking is graduate transfer Terrell Brown Jr., who hails from Seattle and graduated from Seattle University. He averaged over 20 points per game to rank in the top 20 nationally in scoring during the 2019-20 season and scored over 1,000 points in two seasons at Seattle.
A few notes about the signing class:
- The class has a total of seven student-athletes that will be true freshmen on campus in the fall, the most in a single recruiting class under Coach Miller
- Dalen Terry is ranked inside the Top 50 nationally in the 2020 class, giving Arizona a To 50 recruit in each of Coach Miller's 12 seasons in Tucson
- The seven freshmen hail from five different countries outside the United States (France, Turkey, Estonia, Canada, Lithuania)
- Two of the signees played in the NBA's Basketball Without Borders event at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago during the 2019-20 season
- Four of the international signees have experience playing with their junior or senior national teams
Below is a brief look at each of the signees, listed in alphabetical order:
Height: 6-10 | Weight: 240 | Hometown: Paris, France
- Was named MVP of the adidas Next Generation Tournament in Belgrade in February 2020, averaging 14.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots while also shooting 69.7 percent inside the arc over the four games
- Helped U18 CFBB Paris to a runner-up finish at the ANGT, finishing with 24 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in the championship game
- Missed the 2018-19 season due to a knee injury
- Batcho is the first student-athlete from France to sign with Arizona since at least 1996-97
- Last name is pronounced "Bah-cho"
Terrell Brown Jr.
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 175 | Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
- Joins Arizona as a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play immediately
- Played the last two seasons at Seattle University, where he was named First Team NABC All-District and First Team All-WAC following the 2019-20 season
- Amassed 1,064 points in two seasons with the Redhawks (17.2 ppg) while also averaging 6.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists
- In 2019-20, he averaged 20.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists. His 20.7 points per contest ranked 20th in Division I during the 2019-20 season
- Started his collegiate career at Shoreline Community College
- The last student-athlete from Seattle to play for Arizona was Allonzo Trier (2015-18)
- He is the godson of current Arizona assistant coach and 19-year NBA player Jason Terry
Height: 6-8 | Weight: 200 | Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
- Played senior year of high school basketball at Orange Lutheran High School in California, the same high school as former Wildcat Gabe York
- Came to the United States prior to his junior year of high school and played at Montverde Academy (Fla.)
- Ranked No. 127 in the 2020 recruiting class
- Gorener is the first student-athlete from Turkey to play for Arizona since at least 1996-97
- Helped Turkey to a third place finish at the FIBA U16A European Championships, leading the team in scoring (14.4) and shooting nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line in the tournament
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 165 | Hometown: Tartu, Estonia
- Spent the 2019-20 season playing for Prienai CBet and Zalgiris II Kaunas in Lithuania
- Averaged nearly 14 point and six assists per game with Zalgiris
- Named MVP at the Kaunas Qualifying Tournament, which was part of the Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament.
- Has experience playing with the Estonian senior and junior national team, and was a driving force behind Estonia's first-ever win over the Lithuanian national team in the Summer of 2020
- His father, Valmo, was a professional basketball player in Estonia
- Kriisa is the first student-athlete from Estonia to sign with Arizona since at least 1996-97
- Last name is pronounced "Kree-sah"
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 195 | Hometown: Montreal, Canada
- Is of Haitian decent but was born and raised in Montreal
- Attended the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City, Mexico
- Is a four-star recruit that is ranked in the top 120 in the 2020 class by recruiting services
- Was named an all-star at the Basketball Without Borders Global event in Chicago during 2020 NBA All-Star weekend, where he competed alongside fellow UA signee Azuolas Tubelis
- The last student-athlete from Canada to sign with Arizona was Emmanuel Akot (2018)
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 190 | Hometown: South Phoenix, Ariz.
- Four star recruit ranked in the Top 50 nationally by recruiting services
- He gives head coach Sean Miller a Top 50 recruit in each of his 12 recruiting classes at Arizona
- Played high school basketball at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix
- As a senior, he averaged 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 3.1 steals and 2.1 blocks per game
- Ranks among the top 10 small forwards in the class nationally
- Was among the national assist leaders as a junior, averaging over 11 per game
Height: 6-10 | Weight: 240 | Hometown: Vilnius, Lithuania
- Has played for Rytas Vilnius, a team that has won two EuroCup championships and five Lithuanian League crows in its storied history and has seen some of the top Lithuanian players on its roster over the years.
- Named MVP of the Next Generation Tournament in Kaunas after posting averages of 20.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals and shooting 67 percent from the floor
- Participated in the NBA Basketball Without Borders Global Camp and was named to the all-star team of the camp along with fellow UA signee Bennedict Mathurin
- Was the leading scorer and rebounder for Lithuania at both the U16 and U18 FIBA European Championships
- Joins his twin brother, Tautvilas, as the first student-athletes from Lithuania to play at Arizona since Robertas Javtokas in 2000
- Name is pronounced "Ah-zjew-liss Too-bellus"
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210 | Hometown: Vilnius, Lithuania
- Played for Lithuania at the FIBA U16 European Championships, playing seven games and helping the team to a seventh place finish
- Has most recently played for the Vilnius Basketball School in Lithuania
- Appeared in two games for U18 Rytas Vilnius at the Next Generation Tournament in Kaunas, including the title game win over Zalgiris Kaunas in February 2020
- Joins his twin brother, Azuolas, as the first student-athletes from Lithuania to play at Arizona since Robertas Javtokas in 2000
- Name is pronounced "Tote-vee-lus Too-bellus"