Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller might not have to worry about depth on his front line.
Kansas transfer Zach Peters is cleared to play this season, the NCAA ruled Thursday, granting a request to waive the year that transfers must sit out at their new school. Arizona’s appeal to the NCAA was based on concussion issues that forced Peters to withdraw from Kansas after the 2012 fall semester.
Peters (6-10, 238 pounds) has four years of eligibility at Arizona.
“Today’s news from the NCAA is very exciting for Zach and his family, as well as our basketball program,” Miller said in a statement.
“There was a lot of effort and cooperation that went into this waiver process. We’d like to thank the NCAA, the University of Kansas and many members of the Arizona Athletics family for their tireless efforts to make this a reality.
“To this point, Zach has participated with us and we’re still in the process of him returning to full competition and contact. Zach has made tremendous progress in his time at Arizona, and we’re optimistic that with continued improvement, that time will come in the near future.”
Peters joins a frontcourt that returns its starting post combination — center Kaleb Tarczewski and power forward Brandon Ashley, both sophomores.
Peters, because of his shooting ability, likely will essentially be the new Grant Jerrett, a “stretch” power forward who left after his freshman season for the NBA. Junior college transfer Matt Korcheck potentially becomes the new Angelo Chol (who transferred to San Diego State), giving energy and hustle in short bursts off the bench.
And true freshman Aaron Gordon could be Solomon Hill-like, able to swing between the small and power forward positions.
Peters, who arrived at Arizona in the summer, has been conditioning, working and doing practice drills, although the medical staff has yet to allow him to do full-court contact work. Peters has suffered at least five concussions, dating to high school.
“Physically, I’m in the same shape as everybody else is,” Peters said at Arizona media day Wednesday.
“I have done everything except contact, and we haven’t really even done contact. As far as the weight room, conditioning, I’ve been doing everything and I feel good.”
Miller on Wednesday said Peters “shooting, skill level and size would be a nice shot in the arm.”
Peters never played at Kansas but did practice against senior 7-footer Jeff Withey, whose college career went the other way — from Arizona to Kansas.
“Going against one of the best shot blockers really improved my game, being able to score over guys with that size,” said Peters, from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas. “In high school, I wasn’t really good at that.”
Inevitably, Peters will be asked to compare the programs.
“The only thing different is the weather,” he said. “You’re treated the same. The expectations are the same. They’re five-star programs, both of them.”