Arizona Basketball: How Zeke Nnaji became the best Wildcat freshman

This season Arizona Basketball had a talented group of freshmen, but Zeke Nnaji stood out above the rest and this is how.

Heading into the 2019-20 season, much of the talk was around Arizona Basketball freshman Nico Mannion and Josh Green, deservingly so. There was one player though that many weren’t talking about though, Zeke Nnaji. One of the top players out of the state of Minnesota, who was rated as a four-star recruit for the class of 2019, proved right from the beginning of the season why he was one the best freshman, not just in the Pac-12, but in the country.

From the start till the end, Nnaji was the Wildcat’s most consistent player on both ends of the court. He was someone that head coach Sean Miller could rely on to get the offense going for the team. One of the big downfalls this season was how poor the team shooting was, but Nnaji still found a way to deliver and get buckets.

Of the three freshmen trio, Nnaji was the best in my opinion. Disagree with that statement, that’s fair. But his stats and accolades this season speak for themselves. Nothing to take away from Mannion and Green, what they did considering the immense pressure and expectations they were facing made a difference this season was impactful, but Nnaji just performed at a higher level.

He was the reason the Wildcats why a majority of their game and were also in a position to win games they ended up losing. Like former Wildcat, Deandre Ayton, all you had to do was feed Nnaji the ball inside and he would make it happen. Whether it was a jumper in the paint or the variety of moves down low, Nnaji was also one of the Wildcats’ most versatile players.

Nnaji stats speak for themselves:

  • Lead Arizona in scoring with 16.1 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game
  • Lead the team in field goal percentage, shooting 57%
  • Lead the team in total blocks with 28
  • Scored in double figures in 29 out of 32 games played
  • Had 14 double-doubles
  • Started in all 32 games the Wildcats played this season
  • Was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week three times (including winning it back-to-back to start the season)
  • Was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year

With the season Nnaji had, he will go down as one the top freshman under Miller. So what’s next for the 6 foot 11, 240 lb versatile power forward? More than likely he is headed to the NBA Draft, but with the latest happenings with the coronavirus, that might impact things.

At Zona Zealots, we would like to congratulate Zeke Nnaji on an incredible freshman season for Arizona Basketball. The best is yet to come for the piano man. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!

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