The pieces are slowly coming into place for Arizona’s 2018-19 basketball season.
This much we do know:
— To ease some of the doubts that existed before, Sean Miller apparently is committed to return to Arizona. In the last week, he has continued to recruit diligently, getting players to commit and sign, and hiring an assistant coach (Danny Peters).
— The Wildcats are still in pursuit of another assistant coach, preferably one with a strong recruiting background. Former UCLA and Oregon State assistant coach David Grace matches that description. He was let go by Steve Alford yesterday apparently because Alford wants to hire Murry Bartow as a replacement.
— The newest commit today — 6-foot-7 small forward Omar Thielemans of Belgium — will give Arizona eight scholarship players once he signs. Last week’s commit, 6-4 guard Devonaire Doutrive of Van Nuys (Calif.) Birmingham High School, signed a national letter of intent on Wednesday.
— Miller, Peters and assistant Mark Phelps are in the process of recruiting graduate transfers, including former Pittsburgh forward Ryan Luther, who at 6-9 and 225 pounds averaged 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds before suffering a foot injury and missing the last two months of the season. Luther visited Arizona’s campus this weekend along with Thielemans.
— Arizona is also in the running for graduate transfers Justin Coleman, a 5-10 point guard from Samford, and Zach Johnson, a 6-2 guard from Florida Gulf Coast. Coleman lists Arizona as one of his finalists and Johnson is set to visit Arizona’s campus next week. Coleman averaged 13.5 points and 6.6 assists per game this season while Johnson averaged 16.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
Visiting Texas Southern tomorrow for an official visit, Samford grad-transfer Justin Coleman is down to a group of Arizona, UAB, St Louis, NKU, Auburn, SMU, Marquette & Ohio State, a source tells Rivals
— Graduate transfer guard Joseph Chartouny, a point guard from Fordham, is also on Arizona’s radar as is former Texas A&M Corpus Christi off guard Ehab Amin. Chartouny averaged 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game last season. Amin, an Egyptian, recorded 3.4 steals per game in 2016-17, leading all of Division I. After missing this past season due to injury, he is being courted by many top programs nationally.
— A potential transfer (who must sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules) is former Kennesaw State 6-5 guard James Scott, who as a sophomore last season averaged 17.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
— Another Class of 2018 recruit visiting Arizona this week on Thursday and Friday is former UConn commit Lukas Kisunas, a Lithuanian 6-8 and 235-pound center. Kisunas also has offers from Illinois, Creighton, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, and Purdue.
— Couple more Class of 2018 recruits considering Arizona — former UConn commit wing player Emmitt Matthews Jr. of Tacoma, Wash., and 5-star 6-9 power forward Jordan Brown from Napa, Calif., Prolific Prep.
— With five scholarship spots remaining (after Thielemans signs), here is a look at Arizona’s 2018-19 roster by position:
Alex Barcello, sophomore
Devonaire Doutrive, freshman
Brandon Randolph, sophomore
Dylan Smith, junior
Emmanuel Akot, sophomore
Omar Thielemans, freshman
Ira Lee, sophomore
Chase Jeter, junior
— Looking at this roster, it appears Arizona needs reinforcements most at the post/power forward positions and point guard (Doutrive is a combo guard who can play the point and shooting guard). Landing at least two from this group — Luther, Kisunas or Brown — would make Arizona formidable inside with Jeter and Lee. The addition of Chartouny or Coleman at the point guard position would be critical as well given their experience.
— Arizona has flexibility at the wing spot with Randolph and Akot able to play that position, and Thielemans looking to be a viable contributor.