Caleb Love returns to Arizona Basketball, 5-star recruit Joson Sanon flips to ASU

The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year is using his final year of eligibility, but two incoming freshmen won't be hitting campus anymore.
Arizona State v Arizona
Arizona State v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

After testing the NBA Draft waters in the offseason, Caleb Love is making his return for a final season in Tucson.

Love transferred to Arizona ahead of the 2023-24 season after spending his first three years at North Carolina, and he emerged as an offensive weapon right away. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 18 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 41.3 % from the field, which led to him being crowned the AP Pac-12 Player of the Year.

In his encore season in Red and Blue, he'll be switching to the No. 1 on his jersey. Filip Borovicanin wore No. 1 last year, but the digit was freed up after his departure for New Mexico. Numero uno will be much more visible now that it's being donned by Arizona's top shooter instead of a developmental forward.

He projects to start at shooting guard and will make up one component of a dynamic trio: him, point guard Jaden Bradley, and rising sophomore K.J. Lewis. All three of them declared for the draft and tested their stocks, but Love is now the second prospect to withdraw his name from the draft pool after Lewis announced a return nearly two weeks ago.

With the additions of Oakland star power forward Trey Townsend, Tennessee forward/center Tobe Awaka, and Campbell stud Anthony Dell'Orso alongside the return of Motiejus Krivas in the post, Arizona is looking extremely strong for next season with a mix of youth and veteran experience.

Love's return created an interesting chain of events, though. Incoming 5-star recruit Joson Sanon reposted Love's return announcement on Twitter and congratulated him before taking to Instagram and flipping his commitment to Bobby Hurley and ASU basketball less than 30 minutes later.

Sanon is now the second five-star recruit to commit to ASU Basketball and head coach Bobby Hurley this recruiting cycle, joining fellow center prospect Jayden Quaintance who committed exactly a month ago.

That wasn't the only wound suffered by Arizona's incoming freshman class, though. Four-star shooting guard Jamari Phillips — who would have found himself stuck behind Love and K.J. Lewis in the rotation — will also no longer be joining the Wildcats in the fall.

What this means for Arizona

Even with Sanon no longer in the equation for Arizona, the three-man cast of big men set to be on the roster next season will be enough.

Krivas showed a lot of promise in limited play time last season, and he'll get the chance to shine with Oumar Ballo now playing for Indiana. Incoming four-star freshman center prospect Emmanuel Stephen is still planning to play his college ball in Tucson, while Awaka — who spent his two years on Tennessee's roster as a forward — will likely move back toward the position he played in high school.

Arizona is poised to still be in great position next year and continue to compete not only for a Big 12 Championship but look to finally catch fire and go on a bona fide National Championship run. Tommy Lloyd has shown that he can lead teams to phenomenal regular seasons, and now's about the time when coaches start to get over the postseason hump.

Arizona and UCLA Basketball schedule three future matchups. dark. Rivals. UAvUCLA

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