Many fans expected this to be a week of celebration as the Arizona Wildcats prepared for the Final Four. Instead, its been a week filled with goodbyes as word broke that star forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will enter the NBA Draft following the Wildcats’ loss to Wisconsin.
Although Hollis-Jefferson has not personally confirmed the reports, this is an extremely common scenario involving players deciding on their NBA future, and almost seems to be the inevitable conlusion.
Hollis-Jefferson will more than likely join teammate Stanley Johnson in the draft and both could be long-term contributors to their respective NBA franchises.
Hollis-Jefferson is viewed by many as a first round selection due to his outstanding athleticism and length. However, his inability to consistently knock down jumpers makes him more of a long-term prospect.
It remains to be seen how highly an NBA franchise with value Holli-Jefferson’s skill set, but its not ridiculous to think he could potentially be chosen within the lottery.
Still, any team willing to draft Hollis-Jefferson must understand that he will not be capable of making an instant impact, but could develop into a dominant defensive presence down the line.
The sophomore Wildcat averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest while guiding the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. Hollis-Jefferson had one of his best performances of the season when it mattered most tallying 17 points and 8 boards while being guarded by Naismith Trophy candidate Frank Kaminsky.
Head coach Sean Miller will be left with the difficult task of replacing Hollis-Jefferson. However, another loaded recruiting class could have Arizona right back in the thick of things next March.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports