The Arizona Wildcats are expected to bring back a large amount of their team from this past season, but it never hurts to add more weapons.
Kim Aiken Jr., a 6-foot-7 forward who began his career at Eastern Washington, has committed to play for the UA in 2021-22.
Eastern Washington transfer Kim Aiken @k24aiken has committed to the University of Arizona….
— Inland’s Finest (@24_7IEBP) April 6, 2021
The Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Aiken averaged 11.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game this past season, and in three years at Eastern Washington averaged 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds. Known for his versatility, he shot 43.8 percent from the field in 2020-21, making 61.1 percent of his 2-point attempts, 32 percent of his 3s and 81.7 percent from the foul line.
Aiken had one of his worst games of the season in Eastern Washington’s NCAA Tournament loss to Kansas, going 1 for 9 from the field for two points with six rebounds and two assists. He also struggled when the Eagles played Arizona at McKale Center in December, going 1 for 8 while finishing with six points, five rebounds and three steals in the Wildcats’ 70-67 victory.
The addition of Aiken once again puts Arizona above the 13-scholarship limit, but that’s assuming James Akinjo returns after putting his name into the NBA Draft. If Akinjo comes back, the Wildcats will need someone else on the roster to leave (or be converted to a walk-on) prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.
There’s also the issue of coach Sean Miller’s contract situation. He’s entering the final season of the 5-year extension he signed in 2017, and it’s almost unheard of for a college basketball coach to get to this point with either being extended or let go.
Arizona’s last game was March 1, and since then dozens of Division I programs have made coaching changes. Athletic director Dave Heeke and school president Robert C. Robbins have remained mostly silent on Miller’s future, particularly so in the last few weeks wheil the UA women’s team was making its historic run to the national championship game.