The history and tradition of Arizona Basketball run deep. As the NBA Season training camps get started, we thought we should bring back our popular post by breaking down where our former Cats are playing or coaching today!
And with the list of former Arizona Basketball players currently playing or coaching in the NBA or overseas being quite extensive, listed below is who we have tracked down!
Note: Listed in Alphabetical Order
NBA (12, 2 Free Agents)
Deandre Ayton — Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton, a fifth-year center for the Phoenix Suns, claimed that since being benched after the shocking Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in May, he hasn’t communicated with head coach Monty Williams.
“So much has been made of Game 7 but we addressed that last night as a team,” Williams said. “I put it to bed last night.” Ayton is rumored to think that the Suns owner Robert Sarver was the person who decided not to give Ayton a max contract.
Ayton had a difficult summer with the Suns because he agreed to a four-year, $133 million contract with the Pacers before Phoenix used his restricted free agent rights to match the offer. Why was it difficult? We think he wanted to play for the Pacers, how else can you explain his lack of excitement during the Suns media day?
Let’s hope Deandre finds a happy spot to continue to put up the stats and wins as he did last season. He got a great response from the fans at the 2022 Red and Blue Game.
Aaron Gordon — Denver Nuggets
Aaron Gordon is doing well these days! Now with the Denver Nuggets, Aaron inked a four-year deal worth $86,640,001, with all of it guaranteed and an average annual salary of $21,660,000. Gordon’s base pay for 2022–2023 will be $19,690,909.
He has become a focal point of this solid Nuggets core, and his presence makes this group a title contender!
Josh Green — Dallas Mavericks
Entering his third season playing for Mark Cuban’s franchise, Josh Green has impressed the team enough to continue to develop him and keep him a part of their organization. The Mavs exercised Green’s 2022-23 option on Monday, October 18, 2021.
Solomon Hill — Free Agent – last played for the Atlanta Hawks
Solomon Hill was traded to the New York Knicks on January 13, 2022, along with a 2025 second-round draft pick, Cam Reddish, and cash considerations. Atlanta got Kevin Knox and a protected future first-round pick.
After the Knicks signed guard Ryan Arcidiacono to a 10-day contract on January 19, 2022, the Knicks waived Hill. There is still hope though, just look at Stanley Johnson.
Andre Iguodala — Golden State Warriors
Five-time NBA Champion and MVP of the 2015 NBA Finals, Andre Iguodala announced this week that 2022-23 will be his last NBA season, as he is planning on retiring. What a great career Iggy has had! So it is not surprising, knowing that he has been planning for retirement and that he will be seeking one last Championship. Should he be successful, it would be his 5th ring, at the age of 39.
Stanley Johnson — Utah Jazz
After having a hell of a season in Los Angeles in which the Lakers struggled most of the season with injuries, Johnson became a fan favorite as he brought effort and energy every night. He started in 27 of 48 games in the purple and gold.
Johnson was traded to Utah over the summer along with Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverly. Johnson is about to play his 8th season in the NBA.
Stanley will be playing with former Wildcat Lauri Markkanen. And while the two never played together at Arizona, so it will be fun to watch Stanimal lob the ball to the Finnisher.
Another shocker, or maybe not, guess who is Utah’s assistant coach? Well, you will see if you keep reading, and this may shed light on why Johnson and Markkanen are now playing for the Jazz.
Christian Koloko — Toronto Raptors
At first glance, NBA scouts get a great impression of Christian Koloko due to his 7-foot physique and 7-4 wingspan. We assume the Toronto Raptors immediately began drooling at the possibilities and it is understandable.
For most of last year, Koloko was operating at a high level and scouts were in attendance to take in the season. While the postseason wasn’t as productive for C-Lo, many scouts were taking into account that Koloko had also played soccer and hadn’t started focusing on basketball until the last five years. He truly has huge upside.
Three years ago, Koloko, who was incredibly inexperienced, averaged just 2.3 points per game for the Arizona Wildcats. Last year, he improved, averaging 11.8 points per game with the assistance of new head coach Tommy Lloyd and development in working with Ryan Anderson.
TJ McConnell — Indiana Pacers
TJ McConnell, now termed a veteran by his head coach, will play this season with Lottery Pick Benedict Mathurin, or should we say Bennedict will get to play with TJ? McConnell is coming off an injury where he spent four months of the season helping coach the team while injured. Well, he is back this season healthy and ready to go.
“I kind of just wanted to come out here and forge that identity with the new guys,” McConnell said. “They’ve been talking about coming out here and creating that chemistry, and what better way to get that chemistry started than to come back now?
“You know, I just wanted to feel like a basketball player again. It was hard sitting there.”
Coach Carlisle has a lot of confidence in McConnell, “McConnell is one of the most unique players I’ve ever seen.”
Lauri Markkanen — Utah Jazz (along with Stanley Johnson)
Lauri Markkanen was drafted by the Chicago Bulls who have gone through a lot of good changes lately, it’s too bad the Bulls front office didn’t have their act together as the change of coaches also affected Rawle Alkins who was on a two-way contract in 2018, Lauri’s rookie season.
In August 2021, Lauri was traded to the Cavs, but that was just a 1-year pitstop. Packaged with Colin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, two pick swaps, plus three first-round picks, the Cavs sent Markkanen to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell in September 2022. Lauri and Stanley along with UCLA’s Johnny Juzang will now be teammates in Utah.
Zeke Nnaji — Denver Nuggets
Like his Arizona teammate Josh Green, on Friday, October 8, 2021, Zeke Nnaji also had his team 2022-23 option exercised. He is entering his third season as a Denver Nugget and has been able to play in back-to-back NBA playoff stints.
Benedict Mathurin — Indiana Pacers
So far Benedict has wowed Pacers fans in NBA Summer League play. Stating he is the best NBA Player today, Mathurin is poised to make a big improvement for the Pacers overall. Teaming up with TJ McConnell and Colorado’s Jabari Walker, it should be a heck of a season for him and the Pacers.
Dalen Terry — Chicago Bulls
Dalen Terry was drafted by the Chicago Bulls at No. 18 in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Not only was he thoroughly impressive in Summer League, but he also played in the Drew League for one game.
Watching him up close, we can safely say he has all the intangibles you don’t see on stat sheets, much like his teammate Lonzo Ball, and Lonzo’s brother Lamelo Ball. It was just announced that Lonzo had a second surgery on his left knee and “could” come back sometime in the 2022-23 season. Until then, Dalen should get more minutes than originally thought.
Dalen Terry made his debut just two weeks after LeBron James graced the Adidas King Drew Magnet High School basketball court in the Drew League.
Brandon Williams — Portland Trailblazers
Brandon Williams is on a two-way contract with the Portland Trailblazers, and this will be his second season. Williams saw a lot of action in the NBA last year starting in 16 of 24 games. With the Blazers Williams averaged 12.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.0 steals in roughly 27 minutes. Let’s hope he gets signed to a bigger contract soon, seems like the team/coach love him in the Northwest.
Gabe York — Indiana Pacers (Just released, awaiting pick up from another team or G-League team)
In the final two games of the season, York was signed by the Pacers on a two-way contract in April. Ahead of the 2022–23 season, he was released and will now enter free agency, unless Indiana decides to keep his G League rights.
We were so excited to possibly see the three-point sharp-shooter play with McConnell again, as well as with Mathurin. Unfortunately, we just heard that York was released after a 10-day contract. The Pacers signed York after he helped the G-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, win the NBA Summer League Championship.