Arizona Basketball transfer Oumar Ballo lines up five visits

A pair of blue bloods and a future Big 12 foe headline the list.
Clemson v Arizona
Clemson v Arizona / Harry How/GettyImages
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Why Indiana?

Kel'el Ware
Nebraska v Indiana / David Berding/GettyImages

Indiana was left scrambling when Kel'el Ware, the centerpiece of the team, declared for the 2024 NBA Draft following a stellar breakout year in his sophomore season. Now, with their best big man heading to the next level, the Hoosiers are looking to fill the vacated post position to make a March Madness push in the 2024-25 season.

Both Malik Reneau and Mackenzie Mgbako profile as true forwards and don't have the size to slide inside. Mike Woodson will be wanting to make the March Madness field and lead Indiana past the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 for the first time in his coaching career after missing the Tournament entirely last season. Ballo as a one-year-rental positions them well to do that.

Why Louisville?

Skyy Clark, Breon Pass
Louisville v NC State / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

After only giving former head coach Kenny Payne a two-season leash where he went 12-52, Louisville decided to move on. The new man at the helm is Pat Kelsey, who spent three seasons with the College of Charleston and is coming off two straight NCAA Tournament appearances with the Cougars.

Now, Kelsey is being handed the keys to a formerly glorious program, and he could be looking to rebuild from the post outwards with Ballo. Louisville didn't have much talent at the center position, with forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield being the closest thing the Cardinals had to a big-bodied scoring threat. Ballo represents a potentially huge upgrade for Kelsey

Why Kansas State?

Cam Carter, Curtis Jones
Iowa State v Kansas State / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

This is an intriguing landing spot. If Ballo lands at Kansas State, he'll suddenly have to face Arizona at least twice next season, with a chance at a third showdown in the Big 12 Tournament. The Wildcats in purple are losing their only potentially viable post player Will McNair Jr., who is out of eligibility after playing last season as a grad transfer.

However, Ballo would be far more productive in the position than anybody Kansas State currently has on its roster. Arthur Kaluma, K-State's third-leading scorer, does his best damage as a forward with the option to shoot, and the list of scoring threats on Kansas State drops off mightily after than. Ballo would shore up the post in Manhattan while a long-term option develops behind him.

Why North Carolina?

Cormac Ryan
North Carolina v Duke / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

North Carolina is losing big man Armando Bacot, who spent five seasons with the Tar Heels and started all but one of the 169 games he played. Bacot has averaged double-digit points for the last four seasons and double-digit rebounds for the last three. Now that he's out of eligibility and must turn toward the NBA, UNC could look to replicate his production in a larger frame.

Ballo's scoring dipped a bit in 2023-24 compared to the year prior, dropping from a 14.2-point average to 13.1 points per game. However, he improved his 8.6 rebounds to 10.2 per game, leaving him the only member of Arizona to average a double-double. This is the type of production that Hubert Davis will need to get back onto his North Carolina squad if they hope to remain competitive.

Why Florida?

Will Richard
Colorado v Florida / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Florida made the 2023-24 NCAA Tournament, but not really. Most don't consider the play-in games as actually being a part of the field, and getting bounced by Colorado before they could make any noise in the tournament left a sour taste in the Gators' mouths. Last year's best center, Micah Handlogten, only played in 19 minutes per game and saw his statistics drop across the board from his freshman year.

The even more pressing issue, though, is the loss of fifth-year senior forward Tyrese Samuel. He led Florida in rebounds with 7.4 per game and was the third-leading scorer with 13.9 points per game. Samuel, who stands at 6-foot-10, could be swapped out for the much stronger and only slightly less productive Ballo on Florida's pursuits of a real March Madness berth next season.

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