First-year guard Shane Nowell transferred from the Arizona Wildcats | Arizona Wildcats Basketball

Arizona’s provisional roster for 2022-23 was down to just nine scholarship players on Tuesday, when freshman guard Shane Nowell entered the transfer portal.

The Wildcats now have five potential players in rotation for three perimeter spots, even though second Dalen Terry returns from the NBA draft pool. Nowell hasn’t moved up the Arizona pecking order as a rookie. He played just 67 minutes in total over 19 games, while fellow freshman Adama Bal replaced him in an on-site minute role late in the season.

Nowell also missed three games at the end of the season through an apparent suspension for reasons that UA coach Tommy Lloyd declined to detail.

“Shane, we noticed, just had some things we wanted to get into backstage,” Lloyd said after Nowell dressed in street clothes for UA’s win over Stanford at the McKale Center on March 3.

Until Nowell leaves for the portal, according to verbal commitments, the Wildcats didn’t have a single player who made it through the 2021-22 season to put their name in the transfer portal. Stadium reported earlier this week that only 18 of 358 Division I programs had no players entered into the portal.

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Asked at his post-season press conference on April 14 about the unusual lack of transfers and whether Nowell should be back, Lloyd said he didn’t want to talk about anyone specifically that way.

“Everyone is having conversations about all of this right now,” Lloyd said. “I just said to our guys, ‘Hey, we don’t need to rush into making decisions. Let’s just make sure we’re all making decisions that we’re comfortable with.

Nowell did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday, and his high school coach, Brent Merritt, said by email Tuesday he was just checking what options Nowell might have.

A Seattle-area native, Nowell is the brother of Jaylen Nowell, who won the 2018-19 Pac-12 Player of the Year award while playing for Washington. Shane Nowell was the only one of three players in the Class of 2021 to commit to former UA coach Sean Miller and stay with the Wildcats, while guard KJ Simpson headed to Colorado and Shane Dezonie went to Vanderbilt. Dezonie is transferring this spring to St. Joseph’s.

Nowell, who has also been offered scholarships by Washington, Washington State, Montana, Montana State and Oklahoma from Eastside Catholic High School, told The Star last May that he had taken two weeks to speak with Lloyd and decide to stay with the Wildcats. Lloyd replaced Miller in April 2021.

“It definitely took a while because I wasn’t too sure,” Nowell said. “It was more or less a question of what is the best situation for me and my family, because I didn’t want to go too far from home.

“But once I got to know Coach Lloyd, got to see his coaching style, see how he plans to really fit me in, I really liked what he had to say. So, it felt like it was a best-case scenario.

Nowell finished averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds while playing just a few minutes late in games the Wildcats won decisively. Arizona has opted for a tight rotation of eight players for most of the season, with Bal playing minutes from the spot in several key late-season games, including when Arizona needed help dealing with a point guard Kerr Kriisa’s ankle injury in three postseason games.

Nowell has not been made available for media interviews all season, but told UA’s pre-season media day that he was struck by the competition and the abilities of the players at his guardhouse.

“We have a lot of really good guards,” Nowell said. “Certainly the first day I arrived here, only the physical level, the speed of the game, was definitely high. But it’s just a matter of adapting to it every day and continuing to grow.

With Nowell gone, the Wildcats perimeter competition will include starters Kerr Kriisa and Terry, should he return to test the NBA Draft, as well as rising junior Pelle Larsson, Bal, incoming Serbian rookie Filip Borovicanin and Tautvilas Tubelis. lightly used.

Larsson played a key role in several positions last season and is expected to compete for a starting role in 2022-23 with Bennedict Mathurin in the NBA.

2023 five-star combo guard Kylan Boswell of AZ Compass Prep has considered a reclassification that would allow him to skip his senior season and join the Wildcats in 2022-23.

Meanwhile, 2023 five-star forward Kwame Evans has added Arizona to his list of five finalists, according to On3, while ESPN reported that South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman is on his way. was narrowed down to a list of 10 schools that did not include Arizona.

Contact sportswriter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or [email protected] On Twitter @brucepascoe

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