The Arizona Wildcats appear to be a consensus preseason top-25 team for next year. While the start of practices are still months away, there is plenty to look forward to in Tucson. The departure of point guard Josiah Turner will hurt a bit, but the arrival of one of the nation's best recruiting classes should be huge for the UA. Combine these incoming players with a healthy Kevin Parrom and Jordin Mayes, and you can see why so many see good things for Arizona in 2012.
Following a wild signing day on Wednesday, ESPN updated their preseason rankings. We take a look at them after the jump...
Here is what Andy Katz and a panel of their experts had to say about the Wildcats, who are ranked 17th.
The Wildcats had to deal with a number of issues this season, and that has carried over into the offseason as well. For the second straight year, UA has lost its point guard to transfer, with Josiah Turner announcing his intentions this week. But fans in Tucson shouldn't panic. Arizona can lean heavily on returnees like Solomon Hill, Nick Johnson and a healthy Kevin Parrom, but this will be a team heavy on newcomers. The recruiting class is currently ranked No. 2 nationally by ESPN, with Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Gabe York heading to the desert. This team will be young in November, but should make its mark in March.
A lot of Arizona's success next season will hinge on two things. The first -- and probably the biggest -- is the development of point guards Jordin Mayes and Nick Johnson. Neither is a true point guard, but they both handled the duties at times in 2012. Incoming freshman Gabe York could also potentially see a few minutes running the offense, although his greatest skill is working off the ball and hitting shots.
The second story to watch will be just how ready all three of the five-star freshmen are for the college level. Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski are all capable of being stars with the Wildcats, but freshmen bigs can typically struggle out of the gate as they get accustomed to the physicality at the college level.
It seems like most of these preseason rankings have Arizona somewhere in the 11-20 range, which seems appropriate given the circumstances.