Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller has two available scholarships to give. He could very well just keep those in his pocket.
Arizona officially added Kansas transfer big man Zach Peters to the roster Friday, bringing the team’s scholarship total to 11, although it’s still unclear if he’ll be eligible in the 2013-14 season. Either way, Miller seems content with the roster.
“Just because you have that number 13 sitting there, I don’t know if it’s as important as it once was,” Miller said of the scholarship limit.
“In fact, to me, it’s more intelligent that anyone you add to your program, they have to be a contributor and there has to be a reason you do it. You don’t want to fill in the scholarship void just to add depth because that person you’re talking about will end up leaving.
“For us, there’s a chance we won’t add anyone.”
Of course, you never know.
Arizona wasn’t looking to add someone like Peters, but then freshman big man Grant Jerrett left early for a shot at the NBA and sophomore post Angelo Chol transferred to San Diego State.
Miller said he will continue to monitor the transaction wire this summer, although he said there wasn’t a particular type of player who would draw his interest (a hot-shooting wing perhaps?).
“It won’t surprise me if there’s 50 to 75 more transfers this summer from across the country. I think it’s over 400 right now. If the right one would be there, then certainly we have an available scholarship. But we’re not necessarily out there looking right now. I feel good about who we have returning.”
It used to be that coaches spent more time actually coaching a player than recruiting him. But at this level of college basketball, staffs can spend a few years recruiting a prospect, only to have him on the court for one season.
“For us, to carry 13 scholarship players isn’t as smart now as it once was,” Miller said. “When you have a number of different people that are looking to do things, carrying less is probably more healthy so that you can deliver on those expectations.”
Peters left Kansas during his freshman year last fall after suffering multiple concussions. He didn’t play last season for the Jayhawks, but he averaged 5.0 points and 6.3 rebounds during a summer exhibition tour in Europe.
Peters is about 6-10, 240.
“He’s a very skilled player,” Miller said.
“One of the things that I’m excited about it is he’s not small. He has a physical-ness about him, but he can move around on the perimeter, he can shoot the basketball and he can pass from the high post. He gives us the skill level that maybe we had with Grant moving forward.
“I think he is a really good fit for how we play and vice versa.”
Peters will arrive at school this summer. The NCAA will have to decide on his eligibility for the upcoming season; he and Arizona will make the case that his medical condition was beyond his control and forced his withdraw from Kansas, and therefore he shouldn’t have to establish the typical year-in-residence before transfers are allowed to play.
He might end up with three seasons of eligibility at Arizona, or four.
“I certainly think he has a chance,” Miller said of Peters being ruled eligible for 2013-14.
“Now that he’s healthy, he regained, in his mind, that thirst to be a college basketball player and pursue his dreams. It just so happened that the timing of that coincided with us (looking for a big man). I don’t think we could have added a more quality player for what we need.”
Arizona’s 2013-14 roster