College Basketball pre-season ranking has Ducks ahead of the Wildcats

Mar 16, 2016; Providence , RI, USA; Arizona
Mar 16, 2016; Providence , RI, USA; Arizona /

SI released in July college basketball preseason rankings putting the PAC-12 favorite Oregon Ducks at No. 4 and the Arizona Wildcats five spots lower at No. 9.

In case you missed it, Sports Illustrated published a ‘way too early’ projection ranking of the top NCAA Basketball teams from around the Nation in April. Arizona came in at No. 9 and Oregon at No. 4 Rounding off their top 5 with Duke No. 1, Kansas No, 2, Villanova No. 3, and Kentucky No.5. The rankings will probably upset some Wildcats fans, but they could be plausible.

Note: this ranking was made prior to Terence Ferguson’s decision to play in Australia.

Oregon was able to retain some keys pieces from last years PAC-12 Conference Winning team. In March the Ducks were able to keep 6′ 10″ Junior College transfer Chris Boucher for another year of eligibility and from the NBA Draft. Jordan Bell is also one of those keys to success for Oregon.

We caught up with Jordan Bell where he was playing in The Drew League this summer, and he agrees Oregon should be ranked higher than Arizona.

Dillon Brooks, SG, who tore up Arizona in the PAC-12 tournament last year, along with Tyler Dorsey at SF, will be back. Meaning the Ducks are bringing back potentially all of their Pac-12 candidates at the 2, 3 and 4. Their fortune helped them become favorites to repeat as Pac-12 Champs. It will be very interesting to see how far they will make it in March. They are definitely not a squad to be taken lightly.

More from Wildcats Basketball

The Arizona Wildcats during the offseason lost talent that some folks felt could not be replaced. That said, the team was able to reload with Rawle Alkins, SG, from Word of God Christian Academy who impressed at the Ball is Life All-Star competition from the three-point shooting competition and finishing 2nd in the high-flying antics of the dunk contest.

Alkins showed in the BIS All-Star game that he is a team player who always looks for the open man and attaching the basketball. I am very excited to see how he fares in the Red and Blue game in October.

Another huge get for Sean Miller was charismatic and very confident Kobi Simmons, a five-star 6’5” 170 lb. Guard out of Alpharetta, GA. Simmons played in the McDonald’s All-American game, same as Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson. Kobi was instrumental in helping Miller recruit Alkins.

Here are some notes on Simmons from ESPN scout reports:

"Simmons is a long and quick combination guard that can score and distribute the ball. Excellent first step as he slashes in between defenders. Rhythm dribble three-point shooter can get in a scoring flow and rhythm and has dominating possessions in transition and the half court as well."

Arizona also recruited a Finnish 7-footer, Lauri Markkanen, who played in FIBA Europe competitions over the past three years from U-16 through U-20.  Lauri will fit nicely into Coach Sean Millers system as he can step outside the paint and hit more than 40% of his three’s from behind the arc in FIBA Competitions. Also able to finish when driving to the basket, which Arizona desperately needs.

NBA Draft Prospects had this analysis of our Wildcat:

“Lauri Markkanen is a 7-0 PF born in Finland in 1997 who currently plays for the Finnish U20 National Team and the University of Arizona. Markkanen’s biggest strength is his outstanding shooting stroke; he can shoot lights out. He is also able to drive to the basket or score in the post. In addition, he has solid court vision and great size for his position which helps him on the defensive end. Markkanen was very impressive in FIBA youth tournaments.

I am convinced Lauri will be on the radar for the NBA Draft, maybe even in the lottery conversation.”

Next: Arizona Basketball: Former Cat Nick Johnson signs with Orlando Magic

Next season should be a very exciting for Arizona basketball especially after seeing 2017 No.1 overall prospect DeAndre Ayton from Phoenix Hillcrest Prep commit to U of A last week. Let’s say that this season will be like a passing of the torch to the next generation of Arizona Wildcat Basketball players and fans. Can’t wait! BearDown Arizona!