Talking about Zeke Nnaji: Arizona basketball freshman headed to NBA Draft

Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Gimino

Arizona freshman forward Zeke Nnaji, as expected, declared for the NBA Draft on Tuesday.

When reports surfaced Sunday that he was ready to do just that, Steve Rivera and I sat down to talk about the move -- and about the other two freshmen (Nico Mannion, Josh Green) who are expected to turn pro. Watch the video below:

Nnaji had a superb debut season for the Wildcats, but he is considered a fringe first-rounder as he is something of a tweener right now -- not ready to be a stretch four in the NBA. 

But now he'll be getting paid while he develops range on his jump shot and works on his ability to beat his man off the dribble. Nothing horribly wrong with that.

In a tweet from Arizona basketball, Sean Miller was quoted as saying, "Zeke Nnaji will go down as one of the most productive freshmen in Arizona Basketball history. His development is a testament to his strong work ethic, impeccable character and raw talent. Zeke is a winner both on and off the court and his future in the NBA is very bright. All of us here at Arizona wish him all the success in the world!

"Personally, I will miss his good natured personality off the court and his competitive fire on it. Those two characteristics are what makes him a special player to coach and I'm thankful I had that opportunity this season."

Comments (4)
No. 1-2

Trying to stay on topic....which is not easy for a guy with my total lack of discipline and temper... I am not clear on Zeke's future. Is he a 'tweener'? I know he has the size, speed, skill and athleticism to play in the NBA if he has the right coach who knows how to use him. But despite his attributes - what is Zeke's natural position? Where as Ayton was always first, foremost and only a center, I don't think Zeke is. He also is not a 4 in the current NBA - unless he can step outside and make shots (which I think he can learn, but he will have to work on it). Can he guard Ayton? Can he guard an Iguodala type on the wing? Can he handle Durrant or Nowitzki. Not saying he can't...but I also don't know what it will look like.

Steve Buchanan
Steve Buchanan


Probably the best attitude of freshmen we've had in a long time. I hope he makes it. it would have been great if Arizona could have gotten him the ball more in scoring position.