Top basketball international prospect Henri Veesaar commits to Arizona Wildcats

Henri Veesaar’s top international basketball prospect is committed to Arizona, he told ESPN on Wednesday.

“I believe in [coach] “Tommy Lloyd’s philosophy and the way he coaches,” said Veesaar. professional sports. “

The 18-year-old 7-footer from Estonia is arguably the most promising European prospect committed to his college career in the 2022 category. helped him sign a contract with the powerful European company Real Madrid, the gold standard of youth programs on the continent.

Veesaar has steadily progressed over the last three years, winning the famous adidas Next Generation tournament in 2021 and winning a call to represent the Estonian national team as a 17-year-old, making him the youngest Estonian player to ever see a FIBA ​​qualifier.

Playing again for a year in the tournament, Veesaar had a great performance in the FIBA ​​U18 European Challengers last summer, averaging 16.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 2.6 assists, while scoring one three points per game.

Veesaar has an exciting set of skills for a modern big man, with a wingspan of 7-2, exceptional size, mobility and perimeter shooting ability that could allow him to emerge as a legitimate candidate for the NBA as his stocky frame fills in on time. He knows quickly about lobs or obstacles, but shows a lot of promising ball handling, passing and shooting ability, as well as the ability to protect the rim and clean the defensive glass.

Weighing in at 207 pounds and being the same age as most up-and-coming high school seniors, Veesaar’s ability to add volume will play a big role in how quickly it will be able to make a significant contribution to Arizona. But he is not afraid of contact and will change the geometry of the games due to his ability to stretch the floor – making 28 three-pointers in the 35 games he has played this season.

Arizona is coming off a promising first season under head coach Lloyd, a longtime Gonzaga assistant who took over at Tucson a year ago and led the Wildcats to No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Pac-12 Championship. . With Arizona likely to lose three stars in the NBA Draft to second-year Benedict Mathurin, Dalen Terry and Christian Koloko, Vesaar will try to reduce playing time behind the current greats Oumar Ballo and Azuolas Tubelis.

Veesaar will be one of eight international players on Arizona’s roster next season, along with Lithuanian duo Azuolas and Tautvilas Tubelis, Estonian Kerr Kriisa, Adama Bal from France, Pelle Larsson from Sweden, Ballo from Mali and Serb Filip Borovicanin. The Wildcats are also recruiting Canadian combo forward Leonard Miller, who is testing NBA waters. Veesaar said Arizona’s success with internationals was a key selling point in his recruitment.

“It helps to fit in with the team that is not the only stranger and the style of play is different because they are used to having different players from different continents,” he said. “The basketball background varies a lot depending on where you grow up, so I think they have a nice mix of different cultures.”

Veesaar said he would arrive on campus in Tucson in August after spending the summer with the Estonian national team as part of the FIBA ​​club’s qualifying campaign.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA Draft expert and founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and International teams.

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