Oumar Ballo announced on his Instagram he will be transferring to the Arizona Wildcats next season.
None of this is too surprising. The Zags beat out the likes of Baylor and Arizona for his services in the first place, and considering former assistant coach Tommy Lloyd is now the current head coach at Arizona, the pieces were in place for Ballo to follow.
Ballo arrived as part of an embarrassment of large riches that was the Class of 2019, alongside Drew Timme, Anton Watson, and Pavel Zakharov. With both Timme and Watson establishing themselves as regulars in the rotation, the same could not be said for Ballo.
He was forced to sit his freshman season as the NCAA worked through academic issues on his transfer. Last season, with the expectations of the world on his broad shoulders, Ballo displayed flashes of his potential at times, but more often than not, he showcased the work that still needs to be done. Although Ballo shot 62.9 percent from the floor, he often struggled to corral the passes into the post.
Ballo finished last season averaging 6.3 minutes per game, but more importantly, as the season wore on, he was passed in the depth chart by Ben Gregg, who reclassified and graduated early to jumpstart his Gonzaga career.
Looking forward to next season, the writing was on the wall for Ballo’s minutes. The Zags landed Chet Holmgren and Kaden Perry to bolster the frontcourt, and presumably still have all three of Timme, Watson, and Gregg.
For Arizona and Tommy Lloyd, this is still a large landing. Ballo’s sheer size makes him a force in the paint, it is just a matter of figuring out how to effectively use it. He probably needs another full year of seasoning before being unleashed upon the world, but that still leaves him with another two full years of demolishing college players, if he so chooses. Farewell to Oumar, we hardly knew you, but we wish you all the best in Tuscon.