Arizona Basketball's Pelle Larsson declares for NBA draft and foregoes final year of eligibility

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How did Larsson get to this point?

Larsson hails from Nacka, Sweden, which is a suburb of Stockholm, and he was a four-star recruit during his search for a home in America to play basketball. Only two schools offered him a scholarship: San Francisco and Utah. He opted to play at the power-conference level and committed to Utah.

He had a promising freshman season in Salt Lake City, where he played in 25 games and started 18 of them. He averaged 26.6 minutes per contest while posting 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting over 46% from both the field and from the 3-point line. He transferred to Arizona following his freshman season to join the newly-minted head coach Tommy Lloyd in Tucson.

Pelle Larsson, Jabari Walker
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The former Ute went on to spend three seasons with Arizona and amass over 1,000 points in this time. He played all 36 games but started just two in his sophomore year while logging 20.8 minutes and 7.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. This earned him the Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year Award for the 2021-22 season.

He started 18 out of 25 games in his junior year while his averages rose to 9.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 47.2% from the field. In his senior year in 2023-24, his numbers continued to get better: Starts in all 36 games, 30 minutes per game, 12.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.9 steals. He also shot a career-best 51.9% from the field and an astounding 42.6% from range.

His performance in the 2023-24 season earned him Second Team All-Pac-12 honors, and he was recently named a second-team Academic All-American for his work in the classroom. He scored 1,073 points in his time in the Old Pueblo, which is good for 50th all time between Mike Bibby (1,061 points) and Joseph Blair (1,086 points).

Will Larsson actually get drafted?

Despite not being the most productive on the team, he's widely believed by pro scouts to have the highest NBA upside out of all the draft-eligible players on Arizona. It's clear from watching him play that while he's been a serviceable player in college, his best basketball is still ahead of him.

Pelle Larsson
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Larsson played the role of a forward for Arizona, but he'll be more middle-of-the-pack in terms of his size profile at the NBA level. He won't be asked to play so much of the "big man" role and can hone in more on being a shooter and assist dealer. He shot incredibly efficiently while at Arizona, but he simply didn't shoot enough. to have many eye-catching games.

He did, however, have one game that stands out above the rest: his career day in the triple-overtime win against his former school, Utah. Larsson was on the floor for 48 minutes and scored 27 points while dishing out eight assists — all career-highs. He also notched seven rebounds and two steals while shooting 58.8% from the floor.

He has the tools to be successful at the next level; even more so than Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona's last star to get a shot in the NBA. However, it's all a matter of his landing spot and whether he'll develop quickly enough to lock up his roster spot for the foreseeable future.

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