— Sunrise Basketball (@sunrisehoops) March 8, 2014
Serbian 7-footer Dusan Ristic, a one-time projected NBA first round pick in 2015 by DraftExpress.com, officially committed to the Arizona Wildcats this afternoon.
Ristic, who arrived in the United States in January to play for Sunrise Academy in Wichita, Kan., made his announcement before his game today.
DraftExpress.com had Ristic slotted as the 26th pick overall in the NBA first round in 2015 until earlier this week. His name is no longer listed right before that of Arizona sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski, forecast as the No. 27 pick. He is also not listed in the second round because DraftExpress.com analyst Jonathon Givony believes Ristic will stay in Tucson for at least two years, according to a Tweet to me by Arizona Daily Star beat reporter Bruce Pascoe.
Sean Miller can be assured that he is still attracting a talented player, one who is lauded for his high basketball IQ and fluidity around the basket. He also is a skilled passer. Eurohopes.com compared his passing skills to that of Lakers center Pau Gasol.
The announcement was a foregone conclusion as Ristic reportedly came to America because Arizona’s coaching staff recruited him while he played in Serbia for Red Star Belgrade. Rather than sign a pro contract with that team, Ristic decided to play at least one season of college basketball in the U.S. to hone his skills.
His area of improvement is most necessary on the defensive end. Givony writes about Ristic: “Lacks toughness inside the paint. Doesn’t seem to love contact.”
That will change under Miller’s defense-first mentality and potentially going against Tarczewski daily in practice starting with summer workouts.