2015-16 Countdown

Arizona Wildcats hoops countdown slideshow: We’re at only two days from tipoff


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As Arizona molds itself with the remaining players in Ray Smith’s absence this year, the freshman will put himself back together again.

The obstacles may be more mental than physical for Allen, who is young and in the prime of his athletic life. Having surgery on both knees is rare but not uncommon. He will miss two season’s worth of basketball in consecutive years, but he will be around the game and view the coaching of Sean Miller up close.

Others have rebounded nicely from serious knee surgeries, including Steve Kerr, whose career was feared to be over when he shredded the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligaments in one knee while playing in the 1986 World Championships in Spain.

Kerr went on to become an Arizona legend and have a storied 15-year career in the NBA with five NBA titles. He has another championship as head coach of the Warriors.

Washington Wizards center DeJuan Blair is in his sixth NBA season despite playing without anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees, the result of surgeries to both while in high school. He has played three full seasons in the NBA, including last season with the Mavericks.

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Derrick Rose has endured surgeries on both knees during his NBA career, both of which have caused him to miss significant playing time. He is playing at a high level currently.

Players like former Washington Huskies standout Brandon Roy and Lakers/76ers center Andrew Bynum have not fared as well after having surgeries on both knees, but every athlete and condition is different.

After undergoing rehab in Las Vegas last season, Smith appeared to be at top form during Arizona’s pre-season workouts a couple of months ago. The school posted Monday that Smith had successful surgery. Working with Arizona’s strength and conditioning team and medical staffs, Smith literally be in good shape for 2016-17.

NBA scouts were reportedly high on Smith’s value entering this season.

He is not listed, however, in mock drafts published by DraftExpress.com over the next two seasons. No Arizona players are forecast to be drafted eight months from now. Allonzo Trier (28th pick overall) and Dusan Ristic (No. 44) are predicted to be selected in the 2017 NBA draft along with Class of 2016 commit Lauri Markkanen of Finland. Markannen is projected as the No. 20 pick in the NBA following his freshman season.




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