Arizona Basketball

Reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year Caleb Love returning to Arizona as it enters tough Big 12

Arizona’s third-team All-American guard Caleb Love, who earned the Pac-12 Player of the Year honor, is returning to Arizona for his fifth and final year of college basketball, a much-needed player for Tommy Lloyd as the Wildcats enter a tough Big 12 concerence.

Love tested the NBA draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility after his productive season with the Wildcats and has decided to be with Lloyd’s program once again.

Love, 22, averaged 18.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in his first year at Arizona and playing his prior seasons with the North Carolina.

Love’s announcement of his return to Arizona caused a domino effect of high-profile former commit Joson Sanon flipping to Arizona State.

Jamari Phillips, a Class of 2024 recruit as a shooting guard, is also transferring away from Arizona and likely to USC.

Love transferred from North Carolina to Arizona before season after helping the Tar Heels reach the 2022 national championship.

He earned the Pac-12 Player of the Year award and helped Arizona finish the season 27-9 after losing in the Sweet 16 to Clemson.

Love was not on ESPN’s big board of the top 100 prospects at the time he announced that he was entering the NBA draft while maintaining his eligibility on April 16.

Reported concerns about Love’s skills from scouts include he is a point guard who shoots first, his decision making and shot selection and reading second line of defense and seeing help side.

His shooting percentage of 41.3 from the field last year was his best in four seasons of college hoops. He shot 33.2 percent from 3-point range, which is second-best to 36 percent at North Carolina 2021-22.

Love should play alongside Jaden Bradley in the backcourt.

He will have to emerge as a captain that will help incorporate into the offensive flow transfers Trey Townsend (Horizon League Player of the Year at Oakland last season) and Anthony Dell’Orso (20.2 points a game at Campbell). Tobe Awaka is also defensive post player from Tennessee who joined the Wildcats.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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